I have seen nutritional yeast in lots of savory vegan recipes, namely vegan macaroni and cheese recipes.
Nutritional yeast is not brewer’s yeast, nor is it baker’s yeast. It is a yeast (S. cerevisae) that is grown on enriched molasses and then deactivated (killed) and used as a supplement. It is chock-full of nutrients such as all 18 amino acids (a complete protein), B-complex vitamins, and a great source of vitamin B12 for vegans and others who don’t eat animal products.
Flaky and golden yellow in form (also found as a powder), nutritional yeast lends a cheesy, nutty flavor and texture to foods. Besides being made into a “cheese” sauce, apparently nutritional yeast can be sprinkled on hot popcorn, kale chips, cereal (sorry, this one just grosses me out… cereal should not taste cheesy?!), eggs, tofu, mashed potatoes… It’s a good substitute for parmesan cheese, although the only use I can vouch for is a “cheese” sauce, as this is what I have tried thus far.
(It was freakin’ delicious.)
(And supah easy.)
(And my notoriously picky brother ate it without complaint… of course he had no idea what was actually in it. Let’s keep that between us.)
Vegan Mac & Chee
(The name comes from what we used to call macaroni and cheese, for short, except we said “mackeechee”; but I didn’t think that would spur instant recognition
from my enormous fan base from my small pool of readers)
1 pound whole wheat pasta (rigatoni, penne, shells… something cheese-sauce friendly, of course)
half a bag of frozen peas
1 orange bell pepper, chopped into bite-sized pieces (or broccoli… or spinach… any veggie will do)
1 1/4 cups water
1 cup unsweetened silk soymilk
3/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon garlic puree
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard or regular mustard (I used honey mustard)
1/2 teaspoon paprika (did not have; added a bit of chili powder)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric (curry powder)
1 tablespoons creamy peanut butter (if you have tahini, use that)
black pepper to taste
Cook pasta in a somewhat large pot; during last 5 minutes cooking, add peas and orange pepper. Drain.
While pasta cooks, process everything else (1 + 1/4 cup water to black pepper to taste) in a food processor. I’m sure you could just whisk it all together if you don’t have a food processor.
Return the pasta to the saucepan and add the cheese sauce mixture. Heat on low/medium heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently–the sauce will thicken magically before your eyes. Taste and season as needed.
Don’t you love when things just WORK OUT? I had no idea how this would go — Oh She Glows‘ pictures were promising, but too often than not I don’t get the same result in my own experiment. And experiment this was — I felt like a mad scientist combining the strangest, un-foodlike ingredients (when I opened the bag of nutritional yeast, or “nooch,” I thought it looked and smelled like fish food… but I was not deterred! Please don’t let that gross you out… uh…) into something that could be edible.
BUT! This was so good! A delicious yet exceedingly healthy comfort food that while obviously not cheese, had a great taste and texture. Especially paired with the veggies and later, some applesauce (favorite side dish to macaroni and cheese).
This is creamy out of your mind. Creamier than any other (non vegan) macaroni and cheese I have ever made. And easier than any other macaroni and cheese! No roux-making, no waiting for sauce thickening that never really gets thick enough… Plus, it is so, so full of nutrients barely any fat, tons of protein, and most of the flavoring from spices.
Even though this January has been feeling more like spring, a steaming pot of this macaroni and cheese will hit the spot.