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    Archive for the ‘nutritional yeast’ Category

    Numbers Game: Answer

    891318One cup of cooked Swiss chard contains as much potassium as two medium bananas.

    FYI: The United States Department of Agriculture classifies medium bananas as those measuring anywhere from 7 to 8 inches.

    Score another point for dark, leafy green vegetables.

    Remember — they already get kudos for being good sources of calcium and vitamin K — two crucial nutrients for bone health.

    While most people equate potassium with bananas (and that’s not too off-the-mark; bananas are a good source of that mineral), other foods provide higher amounts.

    A medium banana contains approximately 420 milligrams of potassium (roughly ten percent of the daily requirement).  One cup of cooked Swiss chard, meanwhile, contributes 961 milligrams (slightly over a quarter of a day’s worth!).

    Take a look at these other potassium-rich foods that are often forgotten:

    • Spinach (1 cup, cooked): 835 milligrams
    • Lentils (1 cup, cooked): 731 milligrams
    • Edamame (1 cup): 676 milligrams
    • Nutritional yeast (3 Tablespoons): 640 milligrams
    • Baked potato (medium, with skin): 610 milligrams
    • Halibut (3 ounces, cooked): 490 milligrams

    A good list to keep in mind, particularly since the majority of adults in the United States do not meet daily potassium requirements.


    Quick & Healthy Recipe: “Spicerack Special” Salad Dressing

    olive_oil_pour_spoutI came up with this recipe when I wanted more than just olive oil and vinegar but didn’t feel like chopping, slicing, or even getting the food processor dirty.

    This unique combination of ingredients hits the spot!

    The recipe calls for nutritional yeast, which can be purchased at local health food stores (or Whole Foods’ baking aisle).  I am partial to the Red-Star brand, which retails for $4.49 for a 5-ounce jar.  I use quite a bit of nutritional yeast in my cooking, and a jar lasts me approximately three or four months.

    In case the name turns you off, nutritional yeast has a unique and very tasty cheesy/nutty flavor profile.

    YIELDS: 4 servings


    4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon paprika
    3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
    1 Tablespoon lemon juice
    Ground black pepper, to taste


    Mix all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until evenly mixed.

    NUTRITION INFORMATION (per serving):

    140 calories
    2 grams saturated fat
    150 milligrams sodium

    Excellent Source of: Folic acid, monounsaturated fat, riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12

    Good Source of: Selenium, vitamin E, zinc


    You Ask, I Answer/Quick & Easy Recipes: Vegan Alfredo Sauce

    I became vegan about two months ago.

    I don’t really miss many things since I find perfectly tasty substitutes, but yesterday night I found myself craving alfredo sauce (maybe it’s the cold weather).

    Since I have seen some vegan recipes on the blog, I wondered if you had any ideas as to how I can have alfredo sauce without dairy?

    — Shannon Gibson
    St. Paul, MN

    You’ve come to the right place, Shannon!

    Although I am not vegan, I love vegan cooking — it is creative, healthy, and always offers a new experience for the tastebuds.

    After several experiments, I crafted this delicious dairy-free alfredo sauce:

    YIELDS: 6 servings (1 serving = 1/2 cup)


    3/4 cup raw cashews
    1 cup water
    3 garlic cloves
    2 Tablespoons lemon juice (freshly squeezed preferred)
    1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    1/4 cup nutritional yeast
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon pepper (optional)
    2 or 3 large basil leaves (optional)


    Place cashews in food processor. Pulse for 20 – 30 seconds.

    Add water and pulse until cashews and water are evenly mixed.

    Combine rest of ingredients in food processor until blended.


    150 calories
    1.5 grams saturated fat
    380 milligrams sodium
    4 grams fiber
    8.5 grams protein

    Good source of: B vitamins (including B12!), magnesium, copper, phosphorus, manganese, potassium, iron


    A Sprinkle of Health

    As regular Small Bites readers know, I’m a huge fan of what I like to call “nutritional sprinkling”.

    A tablespoon of ground flaxseeds in a smoothie, a tablespoon of wheat germ with yogurt, and a few teaspoons of oat bran in your cereal are wonderful ways of gradually integrating substantial nutrition to your day.

    Now I introduce you to another all-star on my sprinkling team — nutritional yeast.

    Many vegans are familiar with it — for the right reason!

    Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast naturally loaded with B vitamins and usually fortified with vitamin B12 (the one vegans have the hardest time getting in their food.)

    Even better — two tablespoons of it provide a whopping 5 grams of fiber, 8 grams of protein, a practically non-existent 30 milligrams of sodium, and 375 milligrams of potassium (as much as a small banana)!

    As if that weren’t enough, it’s also a great source of zinc and selenium.

    If you have never tried nutritional yeast, I can best describe it as a delectable nutty/parmesan cheese-like flavor.

    As far as initial experiences go, I recommend sprinkling it over popcorn, in soups and stir-fries, or over your favorite pasta dish.

    Although most conventional supermarkets don’t carry nutritional yeast, you can find it at Whole Foods, or your local health store.

    It is by no means a wallet buster — a 5 ounce (that’s plenty!) container of Red Star Nutritional Yeast, for instance, retails for $5.19.


    Mac and Cheese Grows (And Shapes!) Up

    After years of being labeled an unhealthy kids’ food, mac and cheese is receiving a glamorous, adult-friendly makeover from two fairly new companies — Road’s End Organics and Fiber Gourmet.

    Road’s End Organics offers a delectable vegan and organic whole wheat elbow macaroni “Mac and Chreese” (yes, that is ‘cheese’ with an extra ‘r’) that is also free of soy and nuts.

    The sauce gets most of its flavor from nutritional yeast, a popular vegan alternative to cheese.

    The best part? Each serving (half the box) adds up to:

    340 calories
    0 grams of saturated fat
    400 milligrams of sodium
    8 grams of fiber

    14 grams of protein

    25% of the Vitamin B12 Daily Value (I mention this since we are referring to a vegan product)

    This passed not only my taste test with flying colors, but also those of traditional Mac ‘n Cheese eaters (some of which asked me, “Are you SURE this isn’t real cheese?”)

    That is quite a feat, considering I used unsweetened soymilk as a base for the “cheese” sauce. If you are not of the vegan persuasion, you can certainly use cow’s milk if you so choose — preferably skim or 2%.

    Fiber Gourmet meanwhile, is keeping the dairy in mac and cheese but adding fiber in plentiful amounts.

    One serving (1 cup) of their new kosher-friendly, free-of-artificial-colors Mac and Cheese product contains a whooping 18 grams of fiber!

    A few things worth noting:

    First of all, the fiber comes from — yay! — actual food (modified wheat starch and wheat gluten, to be exact) rather than synthetic dust.

    Secondly, the folks at Fiber Gourmet have done an amazing job of creating a high-fiber pasta with top-notch taste and texture.

    There isn’t the slightest hint of graininess, nor does the pasta quickly congeal into a great big ball of mush like those awful low-carb soy pastas that were the rage for all of eight seconds in 2003. Are we SURE that wasn’t really fussilli shaped cardboard?

    Because the fiber content is so high, I would recommend having half a cup in one sitting (as a tasty side dish that delivers a reasonable 330 milligrams of sodium, more than respectable 9 grams of fiber, and only 90 calories!), especially if your current diet is not very high in fiber (in which case, too much too soon causes an intestinal revolt).

    Also, keep in mind that children’s fiber needs are different from adults. For children ages 3 to 16, fiber needs are determined by taking the child’s age and adding 5 to it.

    Hence, the 18 grams of fiber in each serving is too much for a 9 year old.

    With pre-teens, for instance, I would suggest mixing half a cup of Fiber Gourmet’s mac and cheese with another half cup of a “regular” variety.

    In any case, this is a wonderful way to boost fiber intake in a tasty, low-calorie way.

    Mac and cheese. It’s not just for kids anymore.


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