(There's no photo yet because I am incapable of photographing a meal before I eat it. Partly because I have a hungry toddler at my feet but mainly because I forget in my desire to cram food down my throat. But, it's not particularly photogenic anyway)
The idea of standing over the stove cooking off a roux to make an authentic bechamel sauce is laughable these days. I still want a white sauce and all it's versatility but I want it in a fraction of the time. Somewhere at sometime I read about how a white sauce can be made by just putting the fat, flour and milk straight into a pan and heating it up from cold to make a sauce. It still involved some standing and whisking to ensure no lumps so I just took this idea a step forward.
(I use cup measurements for the recipe as volumes work better than weights for me here and it's quicker).
Into a saucepan put 1/4 cup plain flour, 1/4 cup olive oil (or margarine if you want) and 2 cups of soya milk (or any other type…won't make any difference). THEN get a stick blender and blend it all up still smooth, put it on a low to medium heat and whisk occasionally until thick and creamy. Season.
I have found this sauce to be fairly forgiving. It doesn't need constant stirring and, so far, neglect has not caused great lumps to form and even if it did I'd just put that stick blender right back in it. I don't care at all that it isn't authentic because I can get it made with a baby on the hip and in the time it takes for the pasta to cook. Throw in some veg and some other flavourings and there's dinner right there. Perfect for tired grisly days. I usually add some Dijon mustard, lemon juice and nutritional yeast to my sauce; sometimes some smoked paprika. The other way I like it is as a leek and mustard sauce over cauliflower. Cook off the leeks in the pan before adding the sauce ingredients (and if you like bits of leek in your sauce just blend the sauce up in a jug or bowl before adding) and then spoon in a few big dollops of whole grain mustard at the end.
Wheat free version
For a quick wheat free version, or if I fancy an extra protein hit, I always turn to Vegan Yum Yums Hurry Up Alfredo sauce. You do need a robust blender/processor for this one though otherwise you'll get chunks of cashews in your sauce.