Superfood: Nutritional Yeast

Yes, the idea of using and eating yeast for it’s health benefits certainly sounds a bit bizarre.  However, nutritional yeast is quite different than other yeasts. It is grown on beet sugar or molasses, then left to dry and ferment till they reach their flaky consistency. It does not create yeast in the body, therefore, no need to worry that it will lead to yeast infections, and cause Candida. It has no relation to detrimental yeast growth. Nutritional yeast is an excellent source of B-vitamins, particularly B12, which is a vitamin that is missing in many vegan and vegetarian diets. B12 is difficult – but not impossible – to receive on vegetarian diets as long as certain supplements like nutritional yeast are incorporated. It is a great source of all 18 amino acids, protein, folic acid, biotin and other vitamins.  It is also rich in 15 minerals including iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, chromium and selenium.

Anyone can benefit from simply adding nutritional yeast to their diet. It’s so delicious that it can be sprinkled over soups, salads or even main entrees for flavor. It can be added to any dish where you may traditionally top with cheese – while the yeast doesn’t necessarily taste like a particular cheese it does take on a similar cheesy creaminess when incorporated.

Cheesy Cheeseless Kale Chips345-kookiekarma-cheesy-kale-chips

3/4 cup cashews
1 bunch kale, washed and dried
1/2 red bell pepper, stem and seeds removed, chopped into large pieces
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 lemon, peeled, cut into wedges, and de-seeded

Cover the cashews with water in a small bowl and let the soak for at least one hour before proceeding.

Preheat oven to the lowest heat setting, about 180 degress. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Drain cashews and set aside. Trim stems the from each kale leaf and cut each leaf into chip-size pieces.

Add the cashews, red pepper, garlic, soy sauce, oil, and nutritional yeast to a food processor. Scoop the flesh from the lemon and add this to the food processor as well. Blend until smooth.

In a large bowl, combine kale and cashew paste, making sure kale is evenly coated. Place kale pieces on baking sheets allowing space between each piece so they do not touch or overlap. This will take more than one batch, so reserve any remaining kale and refrigerate, covered, until first batch has finished baking.

Bake kale until crisp and completely dry, between 2 and 4 hours. Check after the first hour and turn leaves over. Check kale periodically. Chips will be ready when crunchy and stiff and topping doesn’t feel chewy or moist.

Source: The Chalkboard

Recipe: The Kitchn

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