what the heck is nutritional yeast? with a recipe for raw pizza bites!

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?

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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:

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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.

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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.

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star ingredients!

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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

Sources

http://www.naturalnews.com/035043_nutritional_yeast_B_vitamins_superfood.html

http://bestnaturalfoods.com/nutritional_yeast.html

Have a great weekend everyone!

I am submitting this post to Allergy Free Wednesdays, Allergy Friendly Friday and Wellness Weekends!

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canada day “almost raw” maple walnut cups

Happy Canada Day to all my Canadian friends!

We Canadians are funny, we are quiet, polite and unassuming except for a few days a year where we suddenly become crazily and almost obnoxiously patriotic and I LOVE IT. A day where it’s perfectly acceptable to tattoo maple leaves to your face and where ridiculous clothing, that as long as it’s red and white, you’re good to go.

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These bites are a celebration of our country’s colours and flavours- red and white with some maple syrup thrown in for good measure. Because what’s more Canadian than maple syrup?

Featuring a maple walnut base with a maple cashew cream filling, there are so much healthy fats going on (you all know how awesome walnuts are) and topped with a few more walnuts and strawberries, well these really show just how amazing simple flavours can be. I tossed the strawberries in a little maple sugar but that’s not necessary if you don’t have any!

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The recipe for the filling makes more than you’ll need, so you could double the crust recipe of why not dip some strawberries in it for another red and white (and delicious treat)?

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Now, do your patriotic duty and go and make these bites eh?

Almost Raw Maple Walnut Cups (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Refined-Sugar Free)

These cups are rich and creamy and oh-so Canadian! A maple walnut base with a cashew maple filling, topped with strawberries and walnut pieces. Best enjoyed right out of the fridge!

Makes 9 bites.

Base

  • 3/4 cup walnuts
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup*
  • pinch salt

Filling

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked for 2 hours
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 a frozen banana
  • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup*

Topping

  • 1 tbsp finely chopped walnuts
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped strawberries
  • 1/2 tsp maple sugar (optional)

*this is what makes it “almost raw”

Process the walnuts, maple syrup and salt in a food processor until walnuts are chopped small and the mixture sticks together. Press into a mini muffin pan (or a larger one to make larger cups) that is lined with muffin cups or plastic wrap for easy removal. Place in the fridge while you make your filling.

Blend all filling ingredients except coconut oil until smooth.  Then quickly add the coconut oil (you don’t want it to re-harden) and blend until incorporated). Spoon into the cups and place in the fridge for at least 15 minutes

Toss strawberries in the maple sugar. Sprinkle the walnuts and strawberries onto the cups. Now you can freeze for about 30 min or until firm and serve, or just just refrigerate overnight. In the morning remove from the muffin tin and either eat them right then or continue to store in the fridge.

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Not going to lie, I had 2 of these for breakfast ;)

I hope you are all celebrating the day like true Canadians- barbequing and drinking in the backyard, maybe even some fireworks are sparklers. And to all my non-Canadian readers, why not pay tribute to our super friendly and polite nation by wearing red and white, order some (vegan) poutine (fries with cheese and gravy), throw “eh?” onto the end of every sentence and drench all your food in maple syrup? All right? Awesome :)

I am submitting this post to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays,  Allergy Free Wednesdays and  Wellness Weekends!

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