what the heck is nutritional yeast? with a recipe for raw pizza bites!
Posted Jul 20 2012 6:00am
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:
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!