I remember the first time I ever heard of nutritional yeast. I mean, say it out loud.
If you’ve never seen it before, you probably have no idea what to even picture when you say that. I’ll help you out. It’s like little crumbly yellow-y dried up flakes in a bag. And as if that’s not weird enough, it tastes like cheese.
So yes, I was a little hesitant to give it a try, but I kept hearing soooo many great things that I finally gave in, and THANK GOD I did. All I have to say is aaaaaaaaahhhh-mazing. As someone who has been forced to give up cheese due to a newfound dairy intolerance, I am completely and utterly thankful that nutritional yeast is a thing. It really does taste like cheese!
Some of my favorite uses for nutritional yeast:
- sprinkled on top of pasta like a little Parmesan cheese would be
- mixed in with pizza sauce in lieu of cheese on a pizza
- made into a dairy-free cheese sauce
So in this case, we’re making an easy-peasy (or should I say easy-cheezy, ba dum chhhh) dairy-free healthy cheese sauce to mix in with our spaghetti squash, chicken (or tofu), and broccoli. YUM. This definitely helps fill the mac ‘n’ cheese void in my heart. And, the best part about nutritional yeast isn’t even the cheesy taste, it’s how good it is for you!
Nutritional yeast is absolutely PACKED with B vitamins, is considered to be a complete protein, contains folates, thiamine, riboflavin, zinc, and more! Anddddd, as if that wasn’t enough already, it’s low in sodium and fat AND is gluten free. Yayyy for all our gluten intolerant foodies too!!
So Bailey, what benefits am I going to see from all these nutrients? WELL. Let me tell you:
- Improved immune system
- Improved digestion
- Antiviral and antibacterial properties
- Is a source of complete protein which is a great replacement for protein that vegans and vegetarians normally wouldn’t be getting due to a lack of protein from meat
- Improved metabolism
- Improved hair, skin, and nails
- Helps to have a healthy pregnancy
Sounds pretty good, right? And in case you forgot, IT TASTES LIKE CHEESE PEOPLE!!!! What’s not to love? So next time you’re craving a cheesy pasta cheat meal, trick your taste buds by making them think you’re cheating when really you’re just doing your body a favor with all the goodness you’re putting in it. Enjoy!
Dairy Free Broccoli Cheddar Spaghetti Squash with Chicken
- 1 medium sized spaghetti squash
- ½ Tbsp EVOO
- 1 large head of broccoli, separated into florets
- 1 pound lean ground chicken
- ¼ tsp of each of the following: turmeric, salt, garlic powder, and paprika
- ½ Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp EVOO
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ¼ tsp paprika
- ¼ tsp turmeric
- ¾ cup water
- ½ cup Bob’s Red Mill Nutritional Yeast
- 1 tsp xantham gum
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ¾ cup Silk Unsweetened Cashew Milk
- ½ Tbsp tahini
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Cut your spaghetti squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and rub ½ Tbsp EVOO on the inside.
- Place cut side down on a lined baking sheet (I use a silicon mat, but you could use foil or parchment paper) and bake until tender, about 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium-low heat and add your ground chicken and spices once hot.
- Cook until the chicken is cooked all the way through, drain, and set aside.
- Steam your broccoli florets for about 3 minutes (until they’re tender), drain, and set aside.
- Place all ingredients for the sauce in a high-powered blender and blend for at least 2 minutes to get the sauce nice and warm and thick.
- Once your spaghetti squash is tender, remove it from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes (or until you’re comfortable handling it).
- Use a fork to scrape out the stringy insides to a large bowl. Add the chicken, broccoli, and sauce and mix everything together.
- Serve in a bowl, or if you’re feeling fancy you can scoop everything back in to the spaghetti squash shells and serve in that! But be careful as they can be very flimsy.
* For vegan option, just remove the chicken from the recipe! Or add in tofu if you’d like.