Monday, November 12, 2012

Broccoli and Pea Soup with Bob's Red Mill Nutritional Yeast {Gluten Free + Vegan + Low-Carb}

Broccoli and Pea Soup with Bob's Red Mill Nutritional Yeast {Gluten Free + Vegan + Low Carb}

It's starting to get cold out there.  Not so much in Texas, but today it's a cool 63 degrees and not threatening to get too much warmer before the day is out.  It's a welcome downturn in temperatures in the midst of the record highs--in the 80's--that have been plaguing the state this year.  Apparently Texas didn't get the memo that Winter is just around the corner and Fall is already well settled-in.

Broccoli and Pea Soup with Bob's Red Mill Nutritional Yeast
It's hard to legitimate cooking up a pot of hot soup when it's 80-degrees outside, but in the (relatively) cool 60's I felt it was an activity well worth the effort and not likely to overheat me!  So, I made myself some broccoli and pea soup using a product I've been wanting to use--but hadn't had the chance to use--for a while: Bob's Red Mill Nutritional Yeast!  

What is Nutritional Yeast?

Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast.  It has a yellowish, flaky appearance slightly resembling corn meal.  I have to admit, it's not the most appetizing looking product at a first glance, but don't let the yellow coloring or flaky, dry texture fool you.  This is a tasty and nutritional product.

Nutritional Yeast is used frequently by vegetarian and vegan cooks to impart a nutty and cheesy taste while also lending whatever it's used in an added level of creaminess.  Nutritional Yeast is a complete protein (a sexy characteristic in the eyes of vegetarians and vegans!) and is high in vitamins, including the B-complex vitamins.  It is naturally Gluten Free and does not contain sugar or dairy.  
Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Labeling

Nutritional yeast can be purchased at most specialty food stores, such as Whole Foods, or purchase directly from manufacturers online.  I like Bob's Red Mill Nutritional Yeast because of it's certified Gluten Free.

What Can I Use Nutritional Yeast In?  Or, Why Would I Bother?

In Vegetarian and Vegan Gravies for the Holidays!:

With the holidays right around the corner, Nutritional Yeast is a good product to know about.  It's an ingredient called for in many vegan, vegetarian, and  GF gravies that you can find recipes for online (for example this one: Vegetarian/Vegan Nutritional Yeast Gravy which could be easily adapted to be Gluten Free by substituting GF soy sauce and your favorite GF flour alternative).  

Nutritional Yeast is not just a seasonal ingredient for vegetarians and vegans who want to be able to eat their mashed potatoes and gravy like everyone else, though.

To Produce a Thicker, Creamier Texture:

Nutritional Yeast can be used to flavor and thicken everything from sauces (a post on vegetable pot pies using Nutritional Yeast coming soon!) to soups.  It can be used in place of traditional wheat flour in Gluten Free gravies as a thickening component, as well as in other sauces that require flour as a thickener.  It would also serve as a good substitute for flour in a roux, used in traditional New Orleans cooking, including Gumbo!

In Place of Bread-Crumbs for Gluten Free and Low-Carb Eaters:

For those who are Gluten Free eaters or Low-Carb eaters, it can be used in place of bread crumbs as a binder in things like lentil or meat patties or as a bread-crumb replacement to use on top of casseroles.  Although I haven't tried it--YET--I think Nutritional Yeast combined with hemp hearts would make a truly fantastic, crunchy casserole topper! 

As a Cheese Alternative for Vegan and Lactose-Intolerant Eaters:

The vegan and lactose-intolerant folks out there should take note of the fact that Nutritional Yeast is an effective cheese alternative.  It can replace cheese in dishes ranging from cheesy-mashed potatoes to macaroni and cheese (no joke!  Nutritional Yeast Macaroni and Cheese).  

The uses above are only some of the many ways Nutritonal Yeast can be used in cooking.  A quick online search for recipes incorporating it will yield plenty more results.  It's versatile in addition to being awfully tasty--as I found out when I made myself some Gluten-Free, Vegan, and Low-Carb Broccoli and Cheese Soup.

Recipe: Broccoli and Pea Soup with Nutritional Yeast


1-1.5 head broccoli (steamed until cooked but still slightly firm)
2 bags organic frozen peas (thawed)
1 large onion (finely chopped)
4-6 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
1.5-2 containers Vegetable Stock (depending on desired thickness)
1 Can Canellini Beans
Smoked Sea Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
3-4 Tablespoons Bob's Red Mill Nutritional Yeast, or to taste
1 tablespoon Olive Oil (or butter)


  1. Cut broccoli head into florets and steam in large pot with steam basket until tender but still firm.  Remove from heat.  Meanwhile, thaw frozen peas.
  2. Place chopped onion and garlic in large pot and cook in olive oil until onions are translucent.  
  3. In a blender process broccoli and peas in batches adding vegetable stock to help liquefy the ingredients.  Add each liquefied batch to pot with onion and garlic.
  4. When all of the broccoli and peas have been liquefied, add any remaining vegetable stock to the pot.  Add canellini beans.  
  5. Season with smoked sea salt (or regular sea salt), pepper, and nutritional yeast.  Add as much seasoning as necessary and additional vegetable stock depending on the thickness you desire for your soup.
  6. Bring to a simmer for 5-7 minutes.  Serve!

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