For a while now, I’ve been hearing about nutritional yeast. Since going “mostly paleo” my husband and I have basically eliminated dairy. While I no longer miss the cream in my coffee, or having yogurt and fruit for breakfast, I do miss cheese – because cheese is awesome. While I hate the way it makes me feel, cheese is decadent and delicious – and I have definitely started to miss it. I’ve read on a few blogs that nutritional yeast is not only a great source of vitamin B, but also a pretty good cheese flavored substitute – so I decided to give it a try and order some from Amazon. When it arrived, I was flummoxed. It was a yellowy powder, that smelled vaguely like Parmesan. I had no idea what to do with it. Some blogs suggested sprinkling it on veggies for flavor, but I didn’t think that would really satisfy my gooey-cheese cravings. After some intense Google-ing, and tasting, I figured out that I might be able to use the nutritional yeast to make a cheese sauce of sorts. Potato Au Gratin seemed like an obvious choice.
I used the nutritional yeast to make a roux of sorts, and layered that with thin medallions of sweet potato, sauteed leeks, onions and pancetta. What came out was… delicious. It didn’t have the gooey texture of a typical gratin, but it was wonderful. I served it to my husband and my mother-in-law for dinner, and they both had seconds. While I’m still not a nutritional yeast ninja, this is certainly making me excited to try some more recipes out!
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled, and thinly sliced.
- 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1 leek, bottom portion thinly sliced (do not include the dark green portion of the leek)
- 1 package of cubed pancetta (about 4 oz)
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon finely sifted Sunflower & Pumpkin Seed Flour
- 2 teaspoons ghee or palm shortening (plus some for cooking the onions)
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a skillet, sautée the onion until translucent with a bit of the Ghee on medium heat (about 3-5 minutes). Add in the salt, pepper, leeks and pancetta, and continue to sautée for another 3 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- In a small pot over low heat, melt the ghee (or shortening). Once it starts to melt, whisk in the flour. It will get really goopey. Start to slowly whisk in the chicken stock. Add in the nutritional yeast, and continue to whisk until it is smooth. Remove from heat. In a small bowl, whisk the two eggs and slowly whisk into the pot with the chicken broth mixture. Note: Make sure your broth is not simmering or very hot, or your egg will cook. It is important to keep whisking and to add the egg slowly to avoid getting a clumpy sauce.
- Layer the bottom of a pie dish with a layer of the sweet potato. Spread the onion, pancetta and leek mixture on top. Repeat until you have a final layer of sweet potato on top. Pour the sauce over the layered potatoes. Cover the pie dish with tin foil, and bake for 45-50 minutes.
- Remove the foil, and check to see if the potato's are fork tender. Throw the oven on broil for the last 5-10 minutes. Serve.
- This is great served hot, but can also be re-heated for leftover's the next day... if you have any left over 🙂