Bean-chamel: The 6th Mother Sauce

In celebration of Earth Day, Wellness Team Chef Shaun Holtgreve created four delicious and sustainable recipes using a unique twist on a classic béchamel sauce – a “bean-chamel” sauce. Using beans as a base instead of traditional dairy, these recipes not only taste amazing but also promote environmentally conscious cooking. Get ready to indulge in these innovative and planet-friendly dishes! 

Bean-chamel Base Sauce 

Make 6 servings (¼ cup per serving, 1½ cups total) 

  • 6 ounces navy beans*, dry 
  • 2/3 cup water  
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt  
  • 1/3 cup canola or olive oil  

Soak dry navy beans in cold water for a few hours. Drain the beans and discard the soaking water.

Add soaked beans to a pot and add enough fresh cold water to cover the beans. 

Bring them to a simmer over medium high heat. Cover with lid and cook until they are tender and smash easily with a fork, about 45 minutes to an hour. Add additional water if needed to keep beans submerged during cooking. 

Drain cooked beans but reserve the hot cooking liquid. Allow the beans to cool slightly.

While beans are still warm, add them to a blender with 2/3 cup of the cooking liquid and the salt. Purée until very smooth. Stop and scrape the sides down with a rubber spatula to ensure all the beans are pureed evenly with no lumps. Use additional cooking liquid, a little at a time as needed to keep the sauce thin. It should be pourable not a thick paste.  

While the blender is running, remove the lid and slowly add a thin stream of oil. Continue until all the oil has been incorporated. The sauce should be creamy and rich. Add additional ingredients to flavor the sauce.  

*Use small navy beans or other small white beans as their seed skins are very thin and puree very smooth. Alternatively, you can use canned beans, but warm them up before pureeing. 


Parmesan Alfredo Sauce 

Makes 8 servings (1/4 cup per serving, 2 cups total) 

  • 1 1/2 cups Bean-Chamel Base Sauce 
  • 1 1/2 ounces garlic cloves, peeled 
  • 3/4 fluid ounces olive oil 
  • 2 1/2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated 
  • 1 teaspoon flat-leaf parsley, chopped 
  • fresh cracked pepper, to taste 

In a small oven proof pan, add the peeled garlic and 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Roast in 325F oven for 20 minutes or until garlic is tender and a golden color. Carefully remove the pan from the oven and allow it to cool before handling.  

Add Bean-Chamel Base Sauce to a blender and add the roasted garlic with the remaining olive oil and grated Parmesan cheese into the blender. Pulse to puree the garlic and combine the cheese with the sauce.  

Transfer from the blender into a serving bowl and hold warm until ready to use.  

Garnish with chopped flat-leaf parsley and fresh cracked pepper.  


Creamy Avocado Toast 

Makes 8 servings 

  • 1 1/2 cups Bean-Chamel Base Sauce 
  • 1 each ripe avocado 
  • 2 each fresh lime wedges 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 teaspoon cumin 
  • 1 teaspoon smoky chili powder 
  • 1 dash hot sauce (optional) 
  • 1 teaspoon cilantro 
  • 1 ounce tomato, diced 
  • 1 each baguette or sourdough, sliced and toasted 

Cut the avocado in half. Remove the seed and skin. Dice the avocado into bite-sized pieces. Take half of the diced avocado and mash with a fork with a squeeze of a lime wedge and the salt.  

Add the mashed avocado to the Bean-Chamel Base Sauce, season with the cumin, chili powder and hot sauce. Stir to combine.  

Toast the slices of bread. While still warm, spread the avocado-bean sauce over the toast.  

Top the sauce with the remaining diced avocado, tomato, and chopped cilantro. Serve with the lime wedge for squeezing just before eating. 


Lemon-Herb Buttermilk Dressing 

Makes 8 servings (1/4 cup per serving, 2 cups total) 

  • 1 1/2 cups Bean-Chamel Base Sauce, chilled 
  • 1 fluid ounce buttermilk (or unsweetened, plant-based milk of choice) 
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice 
  • 3 tablespoons fresh chopped herbs, (dill, parsley, chives, etc.) 
  • 1 tablespoon granulated onion 
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic 
  • 1 teaspoon salt and pepper 

To the chilled Bean-Chamel Sauce, add the buttermilk, lemon juice, fresh chopped herbs, onions, garlic, salt, and pepper.  

Stir well to mix. Return to refrigerator and allow to sit for at least an hour before using as a salad dressing or a vegetable dip.