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This nutrition-packed ingredient will add flavour, protein and fiber to a varitey of recipes

Lately I’ve been thinking my shopping list could use a bit of an overhaul and a lot more creativity, so in an effort to eat less meat and indulge in more vegetarian dishes, I’ve stocked my fridge and pantry with nearly all the essentials – except nutritional yeast.  I won’t lie: the name doesn’t exactly make my mouth water, so I’ve been purposely walking past it while moseying down the grocery aisles. What’s hard to ignore though are the many delicious recipes that call for it as a main ingredient, so I set out to find out what the big deal is.

As it turns out, nutritional yeast or ‘nooch’ as it’s sometimes affectionately referred to, lives up to its name: it’s loaded with B-vitamins, folic acid, selenium, zinc, and protein and brings tremendous flavour with it. But don’t confuse it with baker’s yeast, it has no leavening properties. Cameron Diaz, who recently appeared on The Dr. Oz show to talk about her new cookbook, raves about nutritional yeast. She adds the flakes to eggs, salad and even oatmeal, noting it tastes "just like parmesan cheese."

Still not entirely convinced, I invited myself to one of Vancouver’s best vegan secret suppers, hosted by the very funny David Isbister of plantbasefood.com, and dared him to dazzle me with some of his favourite recipes. He informed me nutritional yeast makes an appearance in each dish, particularly in his “mega-tasty, cheesy-bacon-y” salad dressing. Now, any chef that makes the bold claim their dishes ‘guarantee to please even the most carnivorous palates’ has their work cut out for them.

Try it for yourself. And if you’re curious, but can’t be bothered to do all the work, sprinkle it over popcorn drizzled with coconut oil. Easy, healthy and delicious.

 


David’s “mega-tasty, cheesy-bacon-y” salad dressing

1/4 cup sesame tahini
1/2 cup lemon juice (or half lemon, half red wine vinegar)
1/4 cup water
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp tamari
1 tbsp onion powder
1/4- 1/2 tsp white pepper
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 large, finely grated garlic clove
2 tsp dulse flakes (optional)
dill/basil to taste
pinch of cumin
dash of mesquite essence (optional)
salt/pepper to taste

Instructions
Process ingredients in a blender or food processor.
Replace water with vegan cream cheese or mayonnaise to make a creamy or richer dressing or sauce.
Use black salt for an added flavour profile, or caramelize onions and puree in place of onion powder.

*This dressing is really good at disguising the taste of kale and other strong greens, with lots of adaptability.

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