One quick fact about me is that I like cheese. A lot. From swiss to edam, mature cheddar to edamski, cheese has always been the icing on the cake for me in terms of my savoury dishes. And so, when I made the decision to introduce more plant-based meals into my diet recently, this became a bit of a problem.
At first, I began to slowly prepare myself for what was to be a bit of a shock to my tastebuds; convincing myself that I’d end up getting so adventurous with new kinds of herbs and spices that my cheese obsession would eventually pale away. However, I’d probably admit that I was just fooling myself, I mean, what the hell could ever replace cheese?
LUCKILY enough, with a bit of procrastination research around plant-based meals during exam time, I did find something… nutritional yeast. Although it’s no cheese, apparently this dried fungus was to be a quality replacement, and a lot of vegans swore by it. And so, after having a chat with the lovely staff of Evergreen Galway, I recently picked up my 125g of Engevita yeast flakes (this one has added vit B12 too, so I’m getting more for my money than just that satisfying cheesy flavour 😉 ).
So far I have made fresh pesto and the below vegan risotto with the yeast. I’m not going to lie and say that I’m completely over giving up cheese because the nutritional yeast is the exact same, but I will admit that it is a very very strong contender for tackling my cheese cravings, and with a bit of adjustment and time, who knows what my relationship with the handy ole yeast may be. 😉 I really wanted to share this quinoa risotto or ‘King Risotto’ recipe with ye after coming up with it this morning. It’s entirely vegan, with quinoa and chia seeds as its protein source, it doesn’t fall short of having a meaty texture through the mushrooms and the combination of lemongrass and mild curry spices really make it, I think! Enjoy. 😀
- Quinoa, 1/2 cup
- Baby button mushrooms, 1/2 punnet
- Red pepper, x1
- Diced butternut squash, 150g
- Greenbeans, x10 approx.
- Stalk of lemongrass, x1
- Sweetcorn, 100g
- Chia seeds, 2 tblspns
- Nutritional yeast flakes, 3 tblspns
- Turmeric, 1 tblspn
- Mild curry powder, 1 tblspn
- Vegan veg stock, x1
- Coconut oil (or oil of choice)
- Wash, chop and dice all of the above veggies. Melt one tblspn of oil on a large pan over medium heat. When it’s melted, reduce the heat below the pan and add the veggies. Sauté, stirring frequently for approx. 7 mins (cover the pan with a lid between stirs).
- Dissolve the veg stock in warm water. Add the raw quinoa grains in with the veggies, followed by the stock solution (I always go by the rule, 1 part quinoa per 2 parts water). Stir everything.
- Add the chia seeds, nutritional yeast, turmeric and mild curry powder to the pan, stir, cover with a lid and allow everything to simmer for approx. 10-15 mins or until the liquid is absorbed by the quinoa. Stir at intervals during this time and at the end of the 10 mins, sample to see if it’s all cooked through.
- Salt and pepper to taste, or stir in a little more nutritional yeast if you like. I didn’t need any salt or pepper with this one, which was a sign of success!