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.