Tag Archives: rice pasta

More joys of nutritional yeast

By Pamela

When I was first thinking about becoming vegan, it was long before vegan cheeses were palatable or even available. I used to post on a well-known vegetarian message board, and it was there that a very kind vegan took me under his wing and introduced me to nutritional yeast. He even sent me some by mail all the way from the Southern United States, because I had no idea where to buy it in Ottawa.

Nutritional yeast.

(He actually sent it twice, because the first time he sent it, it was confiscated by customs! I eventually received the first package many months after the second one arrived.)

Nutritional yeast is super healthy (as its name implies), and also very delicious. Not so much on its own, but it is very versatile and can be used to make nice cheezy sauces. Given that I used to be a cheese-a-holic in my pregan days (yes, it IS possible to stop eating it and still enjoy food and life), that’s a good attribute for something to have.

Nutritional yeast is a source of protein and vitamins, especially B vitamins, and is a complete protein. It’s also low in fat and sodium. Some brands, although not all, are fortified with vitamin B12. Nowadays it can be found at virtually any health food store, it’s at Loblaws, and even Bulk Barn.

"Faux poulet"
I’m going to share one of my favorite nutritional yeast recipes, that also incorporates another favorite at our house: faux chicken. I’m not huge on fake meats, but this one, like nutritional yeast, is amazingly versatile and can stand in for any recipe that calls for chicken breast. They’re made by President’s Choice and are widely available at Loblaws and its sister stores for about $12.99 for eight “breasts.” As the five year old at home puts it, “Le faux poulet…c’est très bon.”

Here’s my recipe (original as far as I know, I didn’t source it from anywhere). Please forgive me if it comes out a bit weird, I don’t actually follow a recipe for this and it’s my best guess:

Cheezy pasta with greens
(Serves four)

About 300 grams of rice pasta (rotini or penne)
2 breasts of faux poulet, cut into strips
3 cups of kale/spinach (small pieces)
One tomato, diced
about 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 TB olive or flax oil
salt and pepper to taste
½ tsp. Red pepper flakes (optional, to taste)

Cook the pasta. Drain. Rinse.

While it’s cooking, in the biggest frying pan you’ve got water saute the greens, tomato and the faux poulet until greens are limp and the poulet is warmed through.

Dump the pasta in. Stir everything around. Add the oil, nutritional yeast, seasonings. Stir it all around until well-combined. If you’d like it to be a bit creamier add some more oil or water. Keep on low heat until ready to serve.

Enjoy!

Cheezy pasta with greens.

Vegan Mac & Cheez

By Pamela

Daiya vegan cheese appeared in the Ottawa market in June 2010, opening up many new culinary opportunities for vegans, many of whom had come to accept that may never enjoy the stringy goodness of cheese again.

Daiya’s cheddar variety melts and tastes nearly identical to its cow’s milk counterpart. It’s quite a marvel, really, that a company can take coconut, tapioca, and a few other ingredients, and somehow make it mimic the “real” thing… minus, of course, the saturated fat, cholesterol, and goodness knows what else you might find in cheese made from cow’s milk.

My favorite thing to make using Daiya is vegan mac & cheese. I have made it for many vegetarians, vegans, and omnivores, and many of the omnivores did not even realize that it was vegan. My partner’s children love it, and my non-veg dad does too. In what follows, I will describe roughly how it’s made (I don’t usually measure things).

Rice pasta
Start by boiling water, and getting some pasta going. I personally prefer rice pasta. For this recipe, make about a pound.

Earth Balance
While that’s underway, melt about 1/3 of a cup of vegan margarine in a small saucepan. I like to use either Earth Balance, or Becel Vegan. Both are non-hydrogenated, and vegan. Earth Balance gets the leg up for being a bit more healthy.

Once the margarine is melted, it’s time to add the Belsoy creamer.

Belsoy creamer
Soy milk or any other kind of milk is not a sufficient substitute for this. If you are against soy, you could possibly substitute Mimicreme creamer, that has an almond and cashew base. However, while this works, the end result is not as delicious as it is when the soy creamer is used. Whisk it all together over low heat.

Next, whisk in about 2 teaspoons of soy sauce (this dish can be gluten-free if a wheat free soy sauce is used), and half a cup of nutritional yeast. Spices that are needed included about 1/4 tsp. of black pepper, 1/4 tsp. turmeric, 1 tsp. of garlic powder, and 1/2 tsp. onion powder. Adjust these to suit your taste.

Nutritional yeast
Cashew butter.

Keep whisking frequently. Add water as needed so that the sauce doesn’t get too thick. Then, for added smoothness, add about 1 tablespoon of cashew butter.

By now, your pasta should be pretty much done. Strain and rinse it, and put it into a 13 * 9 baking dish, preferably glass. Pour the sauce over the pasta and mix it together. Sprinkle with Daiya cheddar cheez.

Pop it in the oven, which should be pre-heated on broil. Cook for five to ten minutes, watching carefully to ensure it doesn’t burn. Serve.

The finished product

I’m not going to lie to you; this is not health food. But it’s way more healthy than traditional mac & cheese, and it’s just as delicious. It’s also kinder to animals! At our house we usually serve it with a nice big salad, or a green smoothie.

Try it on your non-vegan friends and family. I promise you, they will love it.