Raise your hand if you miss mac and cheese! How about creamy fettuccine sauce? Enchiladas with cream sauce? Is your hand raised? Mine is! I'm also getting really hungry...
Not that I don't love you all, but I might have to cut this post short so I can go make dinner. I'm thinking shrimp, smothered in basil cream sauce, and served over a bed of garlic sautéed greens. Who wants to join me for dinner?
It's pretty simple. All you have to do is dice a sweet potato, a rutabaga (yes seriously, a rutabaga), and a leek, throw 'em all in a casserole dish, and pour full-fat canned coconut milk over it all. Bake for an hour at 350 degrees F and you're practically there. You can spend that hour making the rest of your meal, enjoying a glass of wine, or dancing with your sweetheart. Or perhaps watching an episode of Downton Abbey, this newfangled British show I hear is all the rage? (I watched the first episode this week and I have to admit it is thoroughly entertaining. I fear I'm hooked.)
Once your hour is up, throw (or gently place) everything in the blender, puree until smooth, and you're golden. A thick, creamy sauce that literally melts on your tongue. Eat it as is or dress it up and turn it something worthy of a fancy title. Pesto cream sauce. Cilantro avocado cream sauce. Roasted red pepper cream sauce. I could go on... But I won't. Because I have shrimp to cook, and you have cream sauce to make. Seriously. This is amazing! Even if you can eat cheese, you'll still want to make this!
Basic Cream Sauce (Gluten/Dairy/Egg/Soy/Nut-Free) (Print-Friendly Option)
Enjoy this rich sauce over your pasta, drizzle it on your enchiladas, or use it as a cheese substitute for lasagna. Alternatively, you can serve it chilled as a dip and enjoy it with veggies or chips. Or if you're like me and you just need a quick pick-me-up, grab a spoon and have a couple of bites on their own. It's seriously that good.
1 large rutabaga, peeled and diced (about 2 cups diced)
1 large sweet potato, diced (about 3 cups diced) - I use the lighter sweet potatoes; the darker ones will taste just as good, but give you a deeper color to your sauce
1 leek, the white part sliced thin (save the dark green part for another day)
1 13.5 ounce can full-fat canned coconut milk
(Optional) Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
(Optional) Fresh basil or parsley, minced
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place diced rutabaga, sweet potato, and leek in a casserole dish (this fits perfectly in my 8 x 11 inch dish). Pour coconut milk over the top and stir to coat evenly.
- Bake for an hour, taking the dish out briefly after 30 minutes just to stir the ingredients for even baking.
- Take dish out of the oven and puree the ingredients in a blender until creamy. I prefer my sauce thick, but you can add extra coconut milk or other milk to thin the sauce out if preferred. Taste and add salt and pepper if desired (I found it was just as good without salt as with). Garnish with minced fresh basil or parsley. Serve hot, use as a base for casserole dishes, or serve chilled with chips and vegetables.
Mushroom cream sauce: Sauté mushrooms and add them to the sauce after pureeing.
Roasted red pepper cream sauce: Puree roasted red peppers along with everything else.
Pesto cream sauce: Stir in some pesto after pureeing.
Italian cream sauce: Add in sundried tomatoes when pureeing, then stir in diced artichoke hearts.
Cilantro avocado cream sauce: Puree 1/4 avocado and a handful of fresh cilantro with everything else.
Enchilada cream sauce: Add in chopped green chiles, green onions, and fresh cilantro.
Yield: Approximately 3 cups
This recipe is linked to Go Ahead Honey, It's Gluten-Free. The theme this month is Foods that Heal, hosted by Maggie of She Let Them Eat Cake.
A little about the health benefits of this cream sauce:
- High in potassium
- Good source of medium chain triglycerides, which are burned rapidly in the body, making it a good fat option for those watching their weight
- BUT, when buying canned coconut milk, there are some disadvantages to take into account, and this article outlines them well. I personally like to buy Native Forest coconut milk, which is an organic brand that I trust.
- High in vitamin C
- Good source of fiber
- Good source of beta-carotene, which is absorbed well by the body when combined with fats (coconut milk) in your meal
- High antioxidant status may reduce the risk of damage due to heavy metals and other toxins in the body (this is great for those of us with digestive problems!)
- High in vitamin C, manganese, vitamin B6, and fiber
- High in vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese, vitamin C, and folate
- High concentration of antioxidant polyphenols helps blood vessels from oxidative damage