B-Loved Bechamel Pasta
Spring?…are you coming yet? Being a Vancouverite, I know that Spring usually means rain. I spent a week in Texas visiting family, hoping to escape the wet Vancouver weather, only to find rain upon arriving in Austin…at the very least, I felt at home. With Spring, I’m usually in the mindset of detoxing but since it is still cold out, and spring hasn’t sprung, I figured I would mimic the transition and begin to take small steps to consume lighter foods.
I’m finding that I’m craving comfort foods for that hearty feeling, but I don’t want it to sit heavy in my tummy. This combined with a craving for cheese, made me want to whip up a dish using nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast is similar to the mushroom family, being a fungus. It has a cheese-like, nutty flavour that is often used as a cheese substitute in recipes. Don’t be fooled by it’s name as it can’t be used for baking, and is not comparable to brewer’s yeast for you beer lovers out there. It is very popular in the vegan/vegetarian world for its cheese-flavour substitute, but also due the nutrients it has to bring:
- a very rich source of B vitamins (including B12 which is typically only found in animal meats)
- a complete protein contains all 9 essential amino acids. They are called “essential” as our body need these amino acids in order to function, and all 9 must come from food. There are a few rare gems that are naturally complete all by their lonesome, and nutritional yeast is one of them
- rich source of many nutrients, including amino acids, several minerals and is loaded with vitamins
This vitamin, amino acid, and mineral loaded food, has been known to help boost immunity with antiviral and antibacterial properties, improve digestion, and for the win…help promote healthy skin, nails and hair (amen for all those B vitamins!).
I will often sprinkle this on top of salads, soups, mashed potatoes, popcorn and I commonly use it to add a cheesy flavour to my kale chips. Check out my recipe below for how I incorporated it into a warm filled pasta dish.
INGREDIENTS – Serves 2-3 people
1 cup raw cashews
2-3 cups water
1 shallot, diced
2 cloves of garlic
1 Tbsp of olive oil
1 – 1 1/2 cup of vegetable stock (depending on how thick/thin you like your sauce)
1 Tbsp Bob’s Red Mill Large Flake Nutritional Yeast
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups of crimini mushrooms
1 package of pasta (I prefer the GoGo Quinoa Spaghetti that is gluten free)
Fresh parsley or cilantro
1. In a medium bowl, soak the cashews (with a splash of raw apple cider vinegar if you have some) in water for 3 to 4 hours to soften.
2. Strain the cashews, them then a quick rinse, and set aside.
3. Bring a pot of water to a boil, and add sea salt until the water tastes like the sea.
4. Add pasta noodles and cook till al dente. Strain, and set aside.
5. Bring a pan to low to medium heat and add the olive oil.
6. Add the onions and sweat for at least 5 minutes until translucent. (do not brown)
7. Add the garlic and sweat until fragrant (1 minute).
8. Transfer the cooked onions and garlic into the blender.
9. Blend together the cashews, nutritional yeast, the vegetable stock, garlic, shallot, pepper and salt.
10. Taste the sauce, and add more salt/pepper or liquid if you choose to have a thinner consistency.
11. Saute the mushrooms with olive oil.
12. Once done, transfer your cooked noodles, and sauce into the mushroom saute to warm everything up together.
13. Add as much sauce as you choose.
14. Garnish with parsley or cilantro to fresh up the dish.