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Kid-Friendly Bechamel Sauce Recipe

I have a toddler who just started asserting his independence. This meant wanting to do things on his own (brushing his teeth, self-feeding and getting into the car seat). Right now, vegetables aren't high on his list of foods he enjoys and though we offer him many choices, the floor gets a fair share of rejects. Thankfully, I have come up with sauce that allows us to give him a few servings of vegetables to go along with his favorite food: pasta.

Serves: 8-10 
Ready in: 20-30 minutes

8 tbsp butter
2 tbsp dried onion powder
4 tbsp all-purpose flour
3-1/2 cups whole milk (or 2%)
1/2 cup cold water
2 tsp Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base or vegetable base*
5 cups of broccoli and/or cauliflower, roughly chopped**
2 large tomatos, diced**
1 large zucchini, diced**
Salt and pepper to taste
450 g pasta (such as rigatoni or penne)

* You can also replace 1/2 cup water with chicken or vegetable broth; omit chicken or vegetable base
** Time saving tip: use frozen vegetables.

1. In a large sauce pan on medium-high heat, melt butter.

2. Add dried onion powder and all-purpose flour. Using a whisk, stir until there are no lumps remaining.

3. Stir in milk, water and bouillon chicken base.

4. Add vegetables, salt and pepper. (Time saving tip: steam the vegetables in a separate pot and add to the sauce)

5. Stirring occasionally, bring to a gentle boil until the sauce is thickened and vegetables are softened (approximately 10 minutes).

6. Once the sauce coats the back of a spoon, remove from heat.

7. Using an immersion blender, blend the vegetable until smooth. If you don't have an immersion blender, you can carefully ladle the sauce into a blender. Process the sauce in batches so that the blender is never over half full. Make sure to put the lid on and cover the lid with a kitchen towel to prevent scalding sauce flying everywhere.

8. Serve over the pasta of your choice. (We used spaghetti)

  • Leave the vegetables chunky (see above picture)
  • Use frozen vegetable mix (broccoli, cauliflower, carrot) if short on time
  • Add cooked chicken breast, shrimp or imitation crab.  
  • Serve a side salad or add frozen peas (a favorite of the toddler) to increase the vegetable servings.  
  • Serve with homemade No-Knead Bread (above picture).
Source: Adapted from Allrecipes.

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