Monthly Archives: February 2010

The scoop on nutritional yeast and un-cheese cheese sauce

Nutritional yeast has a nice yellow color!

Andy and I spent about 2 years eating a 90% vegan diet (well, 100% at home anyway).  We are now what we like to call flexitarians, but most of our meals are vegetarian or vegan and loaded with fruits and vegetables.  Oh, it has been so much fun learning new ways to cook, enhance flavors, and combine foods for maximal nutrient consumption and enjoyment through our meat limiting diet!
Early on, we discovered Isa Moskowitz and her amazing vegan cookbooks–she made the transition EASY.  Well, with the exception of cutting way back on cheese, that was NOT easy!  My hubby and I really dig cheese–hard, soft, stinky, earthy–doesn’t matter, to this day, we LOVE IT!  Thankfully, through Isa we learned about nutritional yeast and what a great replacement it is for cheese. This crazy mustard-colored flake has a nutty, smoky, flavor that, when sprinkled on food or mixed with a dairy free milk (and a few other ingredients), tastes remarkedly like CHEESE!   Plus, it is low in calories, high in protein, and packed with micro and macro nutrients!
It is especially high in B vitamins which are responsible for lessening the cellular destruction caused by stress, treating anxiety and depression (synthesis of serotonin and norepinephrin), aiding memory and brain repair (synthesis of myelin), and many, many other critical functions in the body.  In summary, 2 TBSP of nutritional yeast provide a whopping 640% RDI Thiamin (B1), 570% RDI Riboflavin (B2), 280% RDI Niacin (B3), 480% RDI B6 (myelin synthesis, 60% RDI folate (B9), 130% RDI B12 (check the label, this is an additive and will vary by product).  Keep in mind that B vitamins are water soluble and not stored in the body (like A, D, E and K-our fat soluble vitamins), so unless your body can make them (like B5 and B7. which are made in the intestines), you NEED to eat them often (every day) to maintain levels that support good health.
More than likely, you can buy nutritional yeast at your local market or Whole Foods in the health foods or bulk foods section.  It is not expensive and adds a ton of great flavor (even if you are still using cheese) to about any dish.  Here at 488, we use nutritional yeast un-cheese sauce at every opportunity to replace cheese. It can be found in our lasagna, enchiladas, and casseroles.  We sprinkle it in flake form over pasta, steamed, or roasted vegetables to add an smoky flavor.  I haven’t tried it, but have read that it makes a nice topping for popcorn as well.  It’s utility is really endless, so why not buy a bag and give it a try!  I have a feeling you are going to love it!

Nutritional yeast flakes sprinkled on broccoli. Ready for some steam!

My Earthquaker! Can you see the uncheese sauce in this casserole? Fantastic!

Nutritional yeast un-cheese sauce:

  • 1 c nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1-1 1/2 c soy or rice milk (adjust the liquid to your desired consistency)
  • 1 t soy sauce
  • 1-2 t dijon mustard

Combine all of the ingredients in a lidded bowl and shake well or in a regular bowl and stir well.

I never measure the ingredients for my sauce, so play around with the ingredient amounts to make the best sauce for your palate!

You can cook in a sauce pan on low for 5-10 minutes to get a nice thick cheese-like sauce.

You do not need to cook the sauce if you are using it in a baked dish–it will thicken in the oven as it cooks.

Sweet potato and jumbo shrimp enchilada

We made this recipe last night and it was absolutely amazing!  We have been making vegetarian/vegan enchiladas for years now and really can’t get enough of them, but we decided to be adventuresome and try something new.  If you love enchiladas, you will ADORE this recipe!  If you leave out the cheese and shrimp and add more veggies and some rice, you will get a fantastic vegan meal!  Serve this with a Saison or a glass of fume blanc.

Bon Appetit!

Sweet potato and jumbo shrimp enchilada

Serves 5-6


1-2 T cumin seeds (more to taste)

2 t chipotle pepper flakes

1/2 red onion (chopped)

1/2 yellow onion (chopped)

1-2 T garlic (minced)

1 red bell pepper (chopped)

6-8 small campari tomatoes (chopped)

1 large sweet potato, sliced thin into coins

1 c corn (no canned–frozen or fresh)

1 packet Old Elpaso Burrito seasoning (or the like)

1 # jumbo shrimp (raw, deveined, shelled)

1 c mexi black beans

1 1/2 c nutritional yeast un-cheese sauce (recipe to follow)

1/2 c tofu sour cream

2 cans old elpaso enchilada sauce (medium temp is nice)

1 avocado

1/2 c cubed habenero cheddar cheese

9 flour tortillas — try the homemade version!

In a large saute pan heat the evoo.  Add the cumin seeds and chipotle pepper and saute for 1-2 minutes.  Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for 5 minutes.  Add the bell pepper and corn, cook for 5 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes.  Add the sweet potato and the burrito mix and stir in (try not to break apart the sweet potato). Cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Move the veggie mix to the edges of the pan, leaving an open circle in the middle.  Add a splash of evoo if you aren’t using a non-stick pan.  Add 10 shrimp (or what will fit in the open circle).  Cook on each side for 1-2 minutes (until turns opaque and pink).   Once the shrimp is cooked set it on a plate to rest and repeat until all of the shrimp are cooked.  Once you are finished with the shrimp stir the veggies around again to sop up all of the shrimp flavor in the pan.  Turn off the heat and start assembly.

While the veggies are cooking prepare to assemble the enchiladas.  You will need a sort of assembly line to put these babies together.

Spray pam cooking spray on the bottom of a lasagne pan.  Cover the bottom of the lasagna pan with enchilda sauce (1/4 of a can is probably enough).  Put in an easy to reach location probably at the far end of the assembly line.

Cover the surface of a dinner plate with the enchilada sauce (another 1/4 of a can?).  Step one in assembly, so put it close to the saute pan with  the veggies.

Set your tortillas (probably 8-10) near your dinner plate

Cube the cheese and have a plateful handy here.

Set your container of sour cream next in line.

Next will be the cooked rice.

Plate of shrimp and the chopped cilantro

Assembly (this is a dirty job, so have paper towels handy):  take a tortilla and rub both sides on the plate with the sauce to coat (add more sauce to the plate as needed).  Leave the coated tortilla on the plate while you add the other ingredients.  Add a scoop or two of the veggie mix.  Add a dollop of sour cream.  Add two spoonfuls of rice.  Add 3-4 cubes of cheese.  Add 3-4 shrimp and a drizzle of cilantro.  Roll up the tortilla and set in the lasange pan.  Repeat until you are out of the filler ingredients.  Drizzle the remaining enchilada sauce on top (or as much as you like).  Drizzle the nutritional yeast sauce on top (as much as you like).  Bake at 375 degrees F for 35-45 minutes.

Garnish with cilantro and/or more sour cream.

Nutritional yeast un-cheese sauce:

1 c nutritional yeast flakes

1 1/2 c soy milk

1 t soy sauce

1-2 t dijon mustard

Mix well.  You can cook this on the stove top for 5-10 minutes to get a nice thick cheese-like sauce.  You do not need to cook the sauce if you are using it to bake–it will thicken as the dish bakes.


This soup will warm your belly and your heart!

I LOVE seafood Stew.  Being a mainland girl, this was a special treat for me  consumed only on a coastal holiday or company trip.  NOT ANYMORE!  After a fantastic hiking vacation to Estes Park, CO (I know, still mainland!) and some of the best Cioppino ever at Mary’s Lake Lodge, I went searching for the PERFECT Cioppino recipe.  After much experimentation and disappointment, I finally found it!  This stew could be served in the finest seafood restaurant and it is SUPER EASY!  I get all of my seafood in the frozen seafood section of SAMS, and it works beautifully in this stew!  Serve with a big chunk of gluten free bread and a glass of Pinot Noir.  Close your eyes and you will be taken away to that tranquil and exotic Mediterranean destination of your dreams!

My very favorite stew!


Serves 4?

1 stick of butter

1 onion, chopped

10 cloves of garlic, diced

1 bunch parsley, chopped

1 14 oz can fire roasted tomatoes (diced)

1 14 oz can stewed tomatoes

1 14 oz can chicken broth

2 bay leaves

1 T dried basil

1/2 t thyme

2 bottles clam juice

1 T whole black peppercorns

1/2 t dried oregano

1 c dry white wine

3/4 # large shrimp–raw, peeled and deveined

3/4 # bay scallops

9-10 mussels

3/4 # crab leg (don’t buy the fake stuff!)

3/4 # cod, cubed

2 fennel seeds

1 t chipotle pepper flakes (or more for added heat!)

In a big stew pot, sweat the onion and garlic in the butter for 5-10 minutes over low/med.  Add the parsley and dried herbs and cook for another 5 minutes.  Drop the temp to low and stir in the tomatoes, clam juice, and chicken broth, cover and cook for 1 hour.  Add the white wine and stir well.  Cook for 10 minutes.  Turn up the heat to medium and add the fish and crab leg.  Cook for 3-4 minutes.  Add the shrimp and bay scallops and cook for 5 minutes.  Add the mussels and cook for another 5 minutes.  Be careful not to overcook the seafood or it will get a rubbery texure.  Serve the stew immediately.

Bon Appetit!

Quick brined grilled jumbo shrimp

I dug up this old recipe for our Valentine’s celebration last night.  Oh, was it a great way to start the evening!  Fantastic with a nice glass of chardonnay or hefeweizen.


Quick brined grilled jumbo shrimp

Servings 4

12-16 jumbo shrimp (uncooked,  deveined)

5 c water

1/4 c kosher salt

1/8 c sugar

Water, salt, sugar in a large bowl.  Add shrimp.  If your shrimp is frozen, just thaw them in this solution.  Brine for up to 4 hours (I do ours for about one hour).  Take the shrimp out of the water.  You can take the shell off or leave it on to grill–just as you like.  We just use our good old george forman to grill these babies!  Grill about 2-3 minutes/side–until the shrimp is lightly pink and grilled to your satisfaction.  Do not overcook or they will be rubbery!

While the shrimp is in the brine, make the dipping sauce.

Spicy citrus dipping sauce

1/8 c sugar

1/4 c fresh lime juice

1-2 T orange juice

4 thai chilies

1-2 garlic cloves, minced

1 t kosher salt

top with chopped cilantro

In a medium bowl add all ingredients.  Let marinade while the shrimp is brining.

To serve:  Divide into small ramekins (so everyone has their own dipping sauce) and place on a small plate with the shrimp.

Roasted beet and arugula salad

My girlfriend Jolynda was in KC a couple of weeks ago and ate at Michael Smith’s Restaurant. He has several restauants in KC, but this is his flagship and most critically acclaimed.  My blackberry was on fire the following day with calls from Jo!  She had to tell me all about her UNBELIEVABLE dinner.  The one dinner item that she couldn’t get over was the salad.  She claims that it is the BEST salad that she has ever eaten…and if you knew my friend Jo, you would know that this is a HUGE statement (she is an AMAZING and creative cook herself).  So of course, I put Michael Smith’s on my dining radar for my next trip up to KC.  In the meantime, I went to his website to learn a little more about this salad.  I was amazed to learn how unpretentious the ingredients were and how simple it seemed to be.   I made my version of this salad for my hubby a few days later.  I still can’t believe how much he loves it.  I have made it many times and yet AGAIN for our valentines celebration dinner last night.  As he was nearly licking the remaining bits from MY salad plate he said “I could eat this salad EVERYDAY and not get tired of it…”!  Almost daily he asks me if I have put this recipe on the blog yet.  This of course makes me giggle…all of my readers and fans are surely wondering the same thing!!  So here it is…BEST salad EVER!

Oh, I have yet to eat dinner at Michael Smith’s flagship, but I have been to his tapas place (Extra Virgin) next door a couple of times.  OH BABY is it a worth the $$!  I can’t say enough about his smoked oyster mushrooms and the yellowtail ceviche.  On top of that, the wine list is Top Notch.  WOWZA!!  If you are in the neighborhood, it is a must!

Two of my favorite colors--red and green!

Roasted beet and arugula salad

Servings 2-3

2-3 big handfuls of argula (or fresh spring mix)

1 roasted beet cubed

2-3 T red onion diced

1/8 c toasted pine nuts or hot candied pecans

1/8 c crumbled blue cheese (optional)

1/8-1/4 c dried cranberries

freshly ground black pepper

chipotle pepper flakes

1/2 T evoo

1-2 T Basalmic Vinegar

Put all ingredients into a big salad bowl with a lid.  Shake it like crazy.  Serve!

Bon Appetit!

Roasted Garlic, lentil, white bean and black pepper soup

Here is the recipe for one of our favorite vegan soups.  The original recipe is from Isa Chandra Moskowitz (love her!!) in Vegan with a Vengeance.  The orginal is pretty good, but we like this version better!  It is rich, creamy and PERFECT on a cold and snowy day-LIKE TODAY!  Serve it with a nice green salad, a big slice of vegan cornbread, toasted french bread or a homemade vegan scone.  Of course a nice cold Saison or glass of Chard is the perfect way to wash it down!

Cheers!  Bon Appetit!

Roasted garlic, lentil, white bean and black pepper soup

Serves 4

1/4 c diced parsnips

2 T minced garlic

1/2 c chopped celery

1 c dry northern white beans

3 fennel seeds

2 bay leaves

2 T dried sage (or more to taste) or 1/4 c chopped fresh

2 T peppercorns

2 t freshly ground pepper

1 T evoo

2 heads of roasted garlic mashed

6 cups veg broth

1 c red lentils

1-2 T lemon juice

In a stock pot sweat the celery, parsnips, garlic in the evoo for 5-10 minutes until tender.  Add bay leaves , sage, beans, peppercorns, and 4 c veg broth.  Simmer partially covered for 1-2 hours, until beans are soft.  Add the lentils and 2 c veg broth.  Simmer 1 hour.  Add lemon juice and cook another 15 min.  Add more broth if needed to achieve desired consistency.  Garnish with ground black pepper and herb sprinkle or cilantro.