There are many conscious ways to keep from harming Mother Earth. Our food choices rank high on the list.
Cooking with nutritional yeast is a tasty way to move away from a meat-heavy diet. This wondrous ingredient is an inactive form of yeast. Available in bulk at organic groceries, nutritional yeast is yellow in color with a nutty, cheesy flavor. It works as a coating for tofu, for making gravy, for flavoring veggie stir frys, and even for sprinkling on popcorn. I discovered nutritional yeast about 15 years ago through a vegetarian housemate.
One night, Mary created a delicious supper consisting of buckwheat groats, gravy, steamed summer squash and salad.
Shirley Rhodes Patterson, a longtime friend now living in Fox, Arkansas, clued me in to using nutritional yeast as a breading for tofu. Shirley has been cooking vegetarian for many years, since her marriage.
Here is her recipe, including two additional ones also using nutritional yeast. As often happens when the cook serves both meat and vegetarian fare to satisfy the whole family – there’s a lot of sampling. “I would serve fried chicken to my kids. They love fried chicken, but at the same time I would fry tofu for their vegetarian dad. They would actually reach over and take fried tofu instead of the chicken.”
One lb of firm tofu, sliced about one-half inch thick
Three tablespoons of cornmeal mixed with three tablespoons of nutritional yeast.
Dredge the tofu slices in the cornmeal mix and fry or sauté in safflower oil for five minutes on each side. Enjoy with catsup
Vegetarian Gravy with Fresh Herbs
Two cups vegetable broth
One tbsp soy sauce (I use liquid aminos instead)
One-half teaspoon fresh parsley, minced
One half teaspoon fresh sage, minced
One-quarter teaspoon thyme
One quarter teaspoon pepper
Two tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in two tablespoons water
Two teaspoons nutritional yeast
Bring the vegetable broth to a simmer in a medium pot or large skillet. Add the soy sauce or liquid aminos and herbs. Reduce heat to a simmer, then slowly blend in the cornstarch and water mixture, stirring constantly to thicken. Add nutritional yeast.
This is great over mashed potatoes, rice or noodles.
Summer Squash Stir-Fry
Two yellow or sunburst squash, sliced
Two zucchinis, sliced
One chopped onion
Two cloves chopped garlic
Two tablespoons oil
Two tablespoons water
One half teaspoon curry powder
One quarter teaspoon salt
Dash of hot pepper sauce
One teaspoon nutritional yeast.
In wok or skillet, saute onions and garlic in oil until onions are soft, about three to five minutes.
Add rest of ingredients except hot sauce and nutritional yeast. Stir fry until squash is soft, about eight to ten minutes. Turn off heat, add nutritional yeast and hot sauce. Stir until well mixed.
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