Tag Archives: sauce

Uncheese cheese sauce

Nutritional yeast flakes

Nutritional yeast flakes

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!

Look at that pretty uncheese sauce.  It is super nutty and a great replacement for regular cheese in most baked dishes.

Look at that pretty uncheese sauce. It is super nutty and a great replacement for regular cheese in most baked dishes.

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!

Zucchini bites crusted with nutritional yeast flakes

Zucchini bites crusted with nutritional yeast flakes

Nutritional yeast un-cheese sauce:

  • 1 c nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1-1 1/2 c soy, almond 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.

Pesto quinoa

If you are a fan of quinoa, you have to give my pesto quinoa a try!

I love this dish on its own or as the base for about anything that you would normally put over a flavored rice or potato.  I love my stuffed portobello mushrooms served over this super hearty and flavorful quinoa.

Adding some toasted pine nuts or cashews is a fantastic way to add some healthful monounsaturated fats and protein to make it even more of a meal!  I would love to hear what you do with my pesto quinoa and (I hope anyway) how much you love it!

To your belly, with love

Jill

Pesto quinoa

Servings 3-4 (depending upon what you do with it)

  • 1 1/2 c quinoa, lightly toasted (toasting is totally optional)
  • 2 1/2 c coconut milk, plain (use whatever non-dairy milk you like)
  • 1/4 c (or slightly more, to your taste) your favorite pesto (try my cheeseless or my cheesy Bestest Pesto recipes)
  • dash of freshly ground pepper
  • dash of chipotle pepper flakes or cayenne, optional

Put the quinoa in a medium saucepan and turn the heat to medium-high.  Add the coconut milk, black, and hot peppers (optional).  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the quinoa is al dente.  

Remove from the heat and serve while it is nice and hot!

ENJOY!