This is another staple recipe that I couldn’t live without. I sprinkle this vegan parmesan on everything as it turns a good recipe into a great one in a matter of seconds. Try it on top of my Roasted Garlic Cauliflower 'Alfredo'. Nutritional yeast is (usually) fortified with vitamin B12, one of the only vitamins which are difficult to obtain completely in a varied plant-based diet. B12 is an essential vitamin allowing a number of vital functions to take place in the body, including the production of red blood cells. Red blood cells supply oxygen to tissues and cells around the entire body. Deficiency in vitamin B12 can therefore lead to tiredness, anaemia and tingling hands and feet due to lack of oxygen being transported around the body.
Vitamin B12 is one of the only two vitamins that cannot be manufactured by plants (Vitamin D is the other). While our bodies can produce Vitamin D through sun exposure, Vitamin B12 is only made by microbes. In a modern hyper-hygienic environment, most of the microbes containing vitamin B12 are killed off (for example in treated water) however they do reside in the guts of animals. Those of us who consume these animas generally have nothing to worry about in terms of maintaining sufficient vitamin B12 levels. For those on a plant-based diet however, vitamin B12 is one of the most commonly recorded deficiencies. Maintaining optimal levels can be achieved by consuming vitamin B12 fortified products (such as nutritional yeast and some cereals) and/or through supplementation. The most recent research tells us that we require 250 mcg or more of B12 per day. This can easily be achieved by taking a supplement or by adding up how much you are getting through each of your fortified foods (the amount per serve or % of daily value will be written on the Nutrition Facts label). If you have any doubts about your ability to obtain enough B12 per day through fortified foods, consult your health care professional for advice about an appropriate supplement as the effects of B12 deficiency can be devastating and life threatening. (For more information on B12 see here). On that cheery note - on to one of my favourite staple recipes!
VEGAN PARMESAN CHEESE SPRINKLE
You will need:
- 1 cup sunflower seeds
- 1 cup nutritional yeast flakes
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- Toast the sunflower seeds in a pan over low heat until lightly golden. Allow to cool slightly
- Add all ingredients to a high strength blender or food processor and pulse a few seconds at a time until the sunflower seeds are roughly broken up, but not entirely ground
- Sprinkle on top of pastas, salads, use as a deliciously cheesy coating for vegetables or tofu, or eat it straight from the blender! I love it on top of my Roasted Garlic Cauliflower 'Alfredo'. Store leftovers in an airtight jar for up to two weeks. I always keep some on hand for whenever a cheese craving strikes!