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I have been very excited lately with a bunch of vegan recipes using store-bought vegan meat products. Despite success with them, I have been intimidated by anything requiring homemade seitan or “nutritional yeast flakes.” Well, mommy grew a pair this weekend & went to the fucking health food store & bought the Goddamned nutritional yeast & some of this stuff:
Here is what Bob’s Red Mill has to say about nutritional yeast (which isn’t YEAST):
“Nutritional yeast is grown on enriched purified cane and beet molasses under carefully controlled conditions. T6635, with the addition of vitamin B12, is an ideal vegetarian support formula and has an appealing cheese flavor. It can be sprinkled over popcorn or salads, added to juice, cereal, smoothies, gravies, soups or casseroles, or used to make sandwich spreads.”
Here is what Wellness Today has to say about nutritional yeast:
Why is it so good for you?
Nutritional yeast is jam-packed with essential vitamins and minerals. In fact, it’s one of the best non-animal sources of folic acid and vitamin B-12. The yellow color of the flakes is a result of their large amount of vitamin B – ½ tbsp. fulfills your entire daily vitamin B needs. In addition to B-12, nutritional yeast is high in 15 different minerals and 18 amino acids. Talk about a super food!
The yeast itself is grown on beets and dehydrated, so don’t let the word “yeast” scare you away. Since it is plant derived and dried out, it’s free of the harmful candida that can wreck havoc on your digestive system. Think of it as the kind of yeast your body will love!
Who can benefit from it?
The easy answer is vegans since nutritional yeast is such a good source of the vitamins and minerals usually found in animal meat and dairy products like cheese and milk. If you are as carnivorous as they come, I encourage you to still give nutritional yeast a try. It’s a great way to reap the benefits of meat without having to eat it everyday. Chances are your body and your wallet will thank you!
What can I use it for?
My good friend Shannon, who happens to be my healthy living guru, is notorious for her love of nutritional yeast. So her answer to this question would be – anything and everything! Nutritional yeast actually doesn’t have a really strong flavor, but it is slightly salty and reminiscent of Parmesan cheese. It packs a great punch of umami, meaning it brings all other flavors in the dish together in delicious harmony. My favorite way to use nutritional yeast is sprinkling it on popcorn for a guilt-free snack:
See those ribs above? NOT MEAT! They were made from vital wheat gluten (sans nutritional yeast)! The recipe is HERE.
Wowed by my own success with those (and with how easy they were), I decided to try a Greek gyro sandwich – typically made with lamb. The gyro was just as easy if not a total show-stopper. I mean, those ribs set the bar pretty high – so do not think the gyro was a failure – because it wasn’t. It was awesome! And I have lots of leftover “spiced lamb” to experiment with over the next few days.
So – once you have the vital wheat gluten & nutritional yeast (and the tahini) in hand – the rest of the ingredients are pretty run of the mill. This will make a little loaf in a loaf pan (4×8?) – that is about an inch thick. Enough for 5-6 gyros – or for several recipes. Stay tuned!
Pita or naan
Tzatziki sauce (optional)
Garlic paste (optional)
Garnish options: lemon or lime wedge, sliced onion, sliced tomato, shredded lettuce and maybe a quinoa tabbouleh salad – as seen above!
for the seitan
1 1/4 cups vital wheat gluten
4 TBS nutritional yeast
1/4 onion – minced
1 clove garlic – minced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dry basil
1 tsp dry oregano
1 tsp black pepper
2 DROPS (like tears drops – because this shit gets overpowering FAST) liquid smoke (optional)
1 TBS tahini
2 TBS ketchup
3/4 cup water (or more if necessary)
for the seitan
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a food processor, I pulsed the onion, garlic, tahini, ketchup, nutritional yeast flakes, liquid smoke, water & dry spices together but you could do this in a large bowl.
Or – mix all the wet ingredients (onion, garlic, liquid smoke, water, ketchup, tahini) in one bowl & the dry (wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, basil, oregano & pepper) in another & combine them. It comes together fast & looks like raw hamburger – if hamburger was doughy.
Grease a loaf pan & press this shit in there, COVER IT WITH FOIL & bake it for about an hour. Or just kinda shape it on some foil, wrap it up & bake it.
for the gyro
When you are ready to make the sandwich, slice off some seitan & fry it up until warmed through.
Grab your wrapping device (Pita or naan, silly! I didn’t say RAPPING device you crazy-eyed MC’s out there!) – and layer the things on it you choose – like garlic paste, seitan, onion, lettuce, tomato & tzatziki. Squeeze a lemon on there if you are feeling all summer fresh! Then get your grub on – all vegan-style & shit!