Hello dear readers and happy Friday!
In my last post I asked which recipe you would all rather see first- pizza bites or the curry salad. The pizza bites won by a landslide. I’m glad the salad got a few votes, I was starting to feel bad for it!
I also got a request from a reader a few weeks back to do a post on nutritional yeast- what exactly it is and how to use it. I’ve been a little slow in responding, mainly because I wanted a killer recipe to go with my explanation. Well now I have one so hear goes!
What is nutritional yeast?
Nutritional yeast, or “nooch” as it’s lovingly referred to in the vegan community, is a deactivated yeast. It is not the same as Brewer’s yeast so please don’t go out and buy it to use in my recipes! You will get quite a shock when you taste it ;)
Nutritional yeast is grown on a mixture of can and beet molasses for about 1 week during which B-vitamins are added to help it grow. It then gets pasteurized, washed and dried. It is an excellent source of almost all B vitamins and is a wonderful source of complete protein. Many brands will fortify their flakes with B12 so definitely check for this when purchasing. B12 can be a hard to find nutrient in vegan diets so having your nutritional yeast fortified with it is a bonus!
What does it taste like?
Basically it tastes amazing ;) The flavour is the main reason I use it, the nutrients are a bonus! Nutritional yeast has a slightly nutty and cheesy taste, which makes it a popular ingredient in many vegan dishes to add a cheesy, savoury or eggy flavour.
How do you use it?
I like using it in so many ways! Some of my favourites include:
- sprinkling it on pasta dishes as a parmesan cheese substitute
- adding it to non-dairy sauces for a cheesy taste
- using it in tofu scrambles to give it an eggy flavour
- as a topping on baked potatoes or in mashed potatoes
- anywhere where you want to enhance flavour like salad dressings, in beans, etc.
- sprinkling on popcorn
- add it to smoothies
- basically, sprinkle it on everything ;)
Here are some recipes on the blog that use nutritional yeast:
- avocado “everything” sauce
- classic tofu scramble
- raw almond butter cups (the nooch adds a really special flavour here)
- massaged kale salad
- zucchini quinoa tofu lasagna
- tofu ricotta pizza with a polenta crust
- “easy on the tummy” bowl
- chipotle tempeh burgers
- hemp seed alfredo sauce
- quinoa, kidney bean and walnut burgers
- raw mushroom cream sauce
Now, when I was thinking about what recipe I would create to go along with this post I wanted to keep away from “cheese” sauces. There are so many amazing ones on the internet. I wanted to bring something a little different.
Enter these Raw Pizza Bites.
I created these one day when I wanted to make something up that I could use as snacks during the week that wasn’t sweet. Usually one of my go to snacks are a raw nut/date snack bite, but as these are sweet they weren’t really an option. Or so I thought. I started to try and think of a way I could make a bite out of nuts or seeds that would hold together without dates.
Then it hit me- sundried tomatoes! When blended they act exactly like dates in that they help things stick together. Not to mention they have fantastic flavour. Combine their savoury tomato flavour with nutritional yeast’s cheesy one and you get a snack bite that tastes surprisingly like pizza!
either way they are delicious
Combined with some Italian spices and sunflower seeds these make the perfect portable snack. You can dehydrate them for a snack that is a little crisp on the outside and soft on the outside, or just skip this step completely. They taste awesome either way! They are really tasty eaten at room temperature making them very portable!
Raw Pizza Snack Bites (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-free, Raw)
Makes ~8 bites, but easily doubled.
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds (soaked and dehydrated is possible)
- 2 tbsp hemp seeds (or more sunflower seeds)
- 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp sundried tomatoes (try and use ones without sulphites)
- 1 tbsp water
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
- pinch sea salt
- pinch red pepper flakes
First process the sunflower seeds and hemp seeds in a food processor until finely ground. Add everything else except the water and process until everything is sticking together. Add the water if needed to help it stick.
Roll into little balls and either store immediately in the refrigerator or dehydrate at 105°F for 4 hours. Try one warm from the dehydrator is you have have one!
My mind is just spinning with all the flavour combinations possible! This is probably closest to a cheese pizza, but what about a Hawaiian with some dried pineapple in there? Or maybe a Mediterranean pizza with some black olives? Endless possibilities!
Have a great weekend everyone!
I am submitting this post to Allergy Free Wednesdays, Allergy Friendly Friday and Wellness Weekends!
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YES so happy to see this recipe (my vote was for both the salad and the bites!) they look so incredible – don’t you just love those aha moments when you create something amazing :)
Thank you Heather! Your comments just make my day!
You have no idea how pleased I was! I did a happy dance for sure :)
haha! oh, nutritional yeast… those pizza bites look mouth-watering, i think i’ll make ’em for the fam this saturday.
Ah amazing! I reckon adding some black olives would do them good as well. Yum!
Thanks :) If you try them with olives let me know!
OMG best idea ever Gabby! I’m definitely making these. I can see them on a bed of zucchini noodles and tomato sauce. I looove nutritional yeast!
Thanks Heather :) That’s such a good idea- you’ll have to let me know how it is!
I love nutritional yeast! It has that perfect cheesy & nutty flavor. I love this post. Thanks for the all the great info!
Thanks so much Alaine. It really is an amazing ingredient!
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AHhhhhhhh! YUM! You are gonna turn me into a monster for pizza bites!!
muah hahah you figured out my evil plan ;)
Wow, awesome background info on the nooch! Those pizza bites look crazy good!
Thanks Somer! Once I got my head around the idea that it was a savoury bite, I couldn’t get enough of them!
Nutritional yeast is just so great! I love the idea of making little pizza bites with them! These would make great meatballs to go with zucchini pasta. Man, oh man, I just got hungry!
That’s a brilliant idea Kristy! I need to make more asap :)
This is such a unique recipe! The more I visit your blog, the more I’m impressed by you and your recipes! I can’t wait to give this a try…especially if it tastes like pizza!
Aww thanks Lauren! I assure you, it definitely tastes like pizza! Let me know if you try it!
I love nutritional yeast – so does MIsty he is OBSESSED with broccoli sprinkled with nooch (man oh MAN is he MY son or what?!) I bet he (and I) would LOVE these pizza bites – awesome recipe :)
Thanks Lou! Misty sounds like he has EXCEPTIONAL taste :) wonder where he gets that from ;)
Nutritional yeast is one of my favorite things I have discovered thanks to the blog world. I LOVE it. Especially in salads.
It seems it’s one of those foods everyone loves :)
Well these sound just wonderful! A great salad topping!
These would be awesome on a salad :) Thanks so much!
Dear lord I love nutritional yeast enough that it’s almost unholy. Particularly because I’ve been without it for a month – iHerb was sold out of my favourite and now it’s too soon to when I leave to justify ordering it.
Love the idea of savoury nut bites!
Ahhh I would be really upset to if I was forced to go without nutritional yeast- lesson learned- always have backup! ;)
I remember being completely mystified when I first heard of nutritional yeast. Since then I’ve discovered it improves just about any savoury recipe – and I fear it may not be long until I try it in a non-savoury one too! It’s just so versatile :) These bites look fantastic!
It seems like such a scary ingredient but once you’ve tried it, there’s no going back! I’ve used nutritional yeast in my raw almond butter cups and it’s crazy good! I should try and use it in another sweet recipe- it adds a richness unlike anything else. Glad you like the look of the bites! Thanks for stopping by :)
I’ll be making these babies this weekend! I love nooch too! I love it in my spicy cheesy cauliflower mash! Once in a blue moon I will pop some organic popcorn in coconut oil with sea salt, nooch and Maca – delicious! I will even sprinkle some in my dog and cat’s food bowls – they love it too! This whole family adores it! Thanks for recipe and info.
I hope you like them! I mean if you like nooch don’t see how you couldn’t! I remember seeing your cauliflower mash- it looks so good, I have to make it soon!
That’s awesome you dog and cat like it too!
Um..yum!!! I’m totally making these! This weekend. I’m thinking flatten the dough and turn it into pizza crust??
Genius! You’ll have to let me know how it turns out! I’m picturing… a creamy avocado sauce with spinach and mushrooms :)
Thanks for the idea!
I made your balls into flat crusts last week. Delicious! I saved some dough for regular raw balls, but… the balls tasted better later on – as in they ‘saved’ better. The flat crust may have been affected by the dehydration. Both still yummy!
Awesome, I’m so glad you liked them! Thanks for the tip on the flat crust- I want to try this soon, so good to know!
Mmm… I love nutritional yeast on… everything! Honestly, I can eat it with a spoon! ;-) Those pizza bites look delicious!
Thank you Vicky! Nutritional yeast is my answer to everything- if I have a sub par dinner- just sprinkle some nooch on and it’s instantly sooo much better!
Hi Gabby, I just bought a pack of “nooch” 2 days ago, for the first time, as I have been reading a lot about it lately, Thanks for the info, links, and recipes. I am looking forward to testing out this favourite in lots of different ways.
No problem! I hope you love it! It’s such a versatile ingredient, I’m sure you’ll have a ton of fun testing it out :)
Crazy, amazing recipe, Gabby! Beautifully demonstrates my personal little theory on meat- vs. plant-based recipes and that is: that it’s the FLAVORS that people crave – and flavors come from spices, herbs, etc. rather than (to put it crudely) animal flesh – and it is a fairly simple matter to recreate, cruelty-free, the flavors involved in favorite meat-based foods. Not the most succinctly put, but hoping you get my meaning.
Thanks Annie, you are so sweet! I completely agree with you- it can be frustrating when people suggest vegan versions couldn’t possibly be as good because they are missing a key animal product. But you’re exactly right- when I made vegan sausages once I found that the addition of chili and fennel made them taste exactly like their counterparts and that’s what people taste when they eat a sausage, not the meat itself! We will just have to keep making vegan treat and slowly we will show them the light ;)
I love nooch so much!!!!! Just had some for dinner last night on my cauliflower. : ) This is such a brilliant idea. It might take some getting used to—little raw balls trigger “SWEET! DESSERT!” in my brain, so we’ll see how it goes with a savory twist. : )
Noooch is veggies’ best friend that’s for sure! I often sprinkle a little Bragg’s and nooch on my veggies and I’m good to go!
I know what you mean about your brain automatically thinking sweet- just think of them as raw crackers, but in ball shape ;)
Wow! These look so good…I was wondering what ingredients you could possibly use to make a “pizza” bite but you did it. The use of the sun dried tomatoes is genius!
I love, love, LOVE nooch and can’t get enough! I never in a million years thought I’d like something that had the word yeast in it ;-) I’ve read conflicting things about how to store it. I keep mine in the fridge because I read to preserve the B12 content (if you have a fortified one) you must refrigerate. But I’ve also read that you don’t need to refrigerate…what do you do?
I can’t wait to make these Gabby…oh, and you know you just tugged at my heart when you mentioned the Hawaiian pizza using pineapple! ;-)
Thanks Shelby! I was really proud of my “a-ha!” moment on the sundried tomatoes. These bites really pack a flavour punch with them included!
Haha I remember when I first heard about nutritional yeast I thought it sounded gross. Luckily though that was during a cooking class and she had some for us to try. I went out and bought some the next grocery trip! I don’t refrigerate mine, I’ve actually never heard of needing to. I’ll have to do some of my own research! My best guess would be to check the brand’s website and see what they say. But I mean the fridge won’t hurt it so might as well keep it in there just in case?
Hehe I was TOTALLY thinking about you when I suggested the Hawaiian pizza ;) I just knew it would appeal to you! I so wish I still had some of that dried pineapple you sent me so I could try it. If you do, let me know how it goes!
Fabulous! Genius! They look amazing! Yeast is a basic every vegan kitchen should have for sure :)
Thanks so much Shira! I completely agree- I am so glad I had someone recommend it very early on in my vegetarian/vegan journey :)
what a great post! i love nooch too — i love to sprinkle it on all my salads! I have GOT to try those pizza bites! they look fabulous:) I hope you have a great weekend!
Thanks Caralyn! They would have been so good for you one your BED diet. I mean I know you are moving back towards fruit but I still hope you try these :)
Great idea with a savoury ball! A little bit of nooch goes a long way in my books. Looks delicious! :)
Thanks Janet! I agree, even a sprinkling of nooch just elevates a meal.
What an amazing idea- you’re so talented! And thanks for the round-up… I’m a huge fan of nooch, but just don’t use it often enough!
Thanks Barb! I was pretty proud of the idea ;)
I looooooooooove me some nooch! ;) Especially on tofu scrambles. It is such a versatile ingredient! You are right, it is also awesome on popcorn! Yum! I’m curious about the nooch in the raw almond butter cups too. That sounds so interesting!
This recipe looks DELICIOUS! These would be a perfect snack to bring when I’m working weddings. The sound so savory and delicious and the B-6 vitamins will certainly help too :) I have such a long list of your recipes to try! I’ll have to start chipping away at it ;)
Hope you are doing well! So close to the weekend, hope you are able to relax and recharge a bit!
Isn’t nooch amazing! I sprinkle it on/in sooo many things I make! It’s really good in the raw almond butter cups- it gives it that token “Reeses” taste!
It’s definitely savoury in the most satisfying way and they travel really well! I recommend dehydrating them too- you’ll love them a little warm :)
Yes hopefully you get a chance to do that too! Sorry you have to work tomorrow, but Sunday will feel SOOO good!
That recipe looks so creative! I love the flavor of it (especially in vegan broccoli cheese soup) but I haven’t stocked up in a while. I should get on that!
Thanks Faith! Yes, no pantry is complete without the stuff!
You’re so clever! Great idea. I have a similar cracker recipe, but never thought of rolling anything savoury into a ball. Oh, thank heavens for nooch!
Haha thanks Sarina! What would we do without nooch? It’s just so amazing :)
Thanks for teaching everyone all about nutritional yeast + giving a gorgeous pizza in a bite recipe :D
Choc Chip Uru
You’re so welcome Uru! Glad you enjoyed it :)
great information on nutritional yeast! i bought some months back and couldn’t find too many good resources on it online. so this is great for newcomers to the product. i honestly haven’t used it too much – but whenever i do i really enjoy it! need to start experimenting with it more.
Thanks Sara! I hope this inspires you to use it a bit more, it’s so versatile!
milo, you have the right idea about albumsi think album lists should come out around june or so, cus by that time, you2;8&17#ve discovered some pure gems and heard a lot more. i mean, i am still updating my best albums of 2006 list…