Abstract: The microstructural, physical, and sensory properties of low-fat sauces made with different starches, soy protein, and inulin as a fat replacer were analyzed. Gluten-free waxy starches—rice and corn—were selected as well as soy protein to obtain sauces suitable for celiac and lactose intolerant consumers. Light microscopy was used to visualize the swollen starch granules dispersed in a protein–amylopectin–inulin phase. Inulin seemed to limit protein network development, which was related with a higher dispersion of starch granules within the sauce matrix. Therefore, the sauces made with inulin had a lower apparent viscosity (ηapp) values (P < 0.05) in comparison with oil sauces. The sauces made with rice starches also exhibited a lower viscosity (P < 0.05) since these granules did not swell as corn granules do. All the sauces had a remarkable physical stability since there were no syneresis phenomena and color did not change significantly (P < 0.05) after 15 d of refrigeration storage (4 °C). Finally, the sensory test suggests that oil could be substituted by inulin in the preparation of low-fat sauces since no significant differences (P < 0.05) in texture and flavor were found. These results encourage further research to optimize the formulations of these types of alternative white sauces.
Practical Application: Nowadays there is a great demand of ready-to-eat products due to new consumptions habits. In this context, it would be interesting to develop low-fat sauces with inulin that could be used in this type of products improving their nutritional profile. The requirement of processed food for specific groups of population, such as celiac and lactose intolerant consumers, makes it necessary to use gluten free starches and soy protein in the formulation of sauces. The characterization of structural, physical and sensory properties is required to understand the product acceptability and its behavior during its shelf life.