Lemon Cheesy Pasta

One of the hardest things for me to give up when I changed to a plant strong way of eating was cheese. How could I give up grilled cheese sandwiches, pizza with ooey gooey cheese, creamy macaroni and cheese, cheesy nacho sauce, sweet creamy cheesecake and sharp feta cheese in a Greek Salad?!?!?! Was I really going to be able to survive without all my favorites??? Luckily I have discovered some pretty amazing substitutes that can be pretty healthy too! Daiya makes a mozzarella that is so creamy and good on pizza that even my youngest daughter loves it. They also make  a cheddar that is fantastic for quesadillas and grilled cheese sandwiches. My oldest daughter makes a fabulous nacho cheese sauce that uses cashews and nutritional yeast, that I could eat by the spoonfuls!! I also discovered a wonderful “Faux” Parmesan Cheese” made from walnuts and nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast is a wonderful discovery when wanting to add a cheesy, salty taste to foods as well as being quite healthy!!

3 tbsp. of nutritional yeast contains 80 calories and 5 grams of fiber as well as being loaded with B vitamins…..

B1 (Thiamine) 820%
B2 (Riboflavin) 720%
B3 (Niacin) 370%
B5 (Pantothenic acid) 15%
B6 (Pyridoxine) 560%
B7 (Biotin) 10%
B9 (Folic Acid) 310%
B12 (Cobalamin) 150%

One of my favorite ways to use nutritional yeast is in pasta dishes. Tonight I experimented a bit and used just some odds and ends I had left in the refrigerator and came up with a fabulous pasta dish. Love when my “experiments” produce a dish that is a keeper and both of my daughters really like too! 🙂

Lemon Cheesy Pasta

1 tbsp. olive oil

4 garlic cloves, crushed

1 small white onion , chopped

1 large bell pepper, sliced

2 large tomatoes, diced

2 cups fresh spinach

1/3 cup green olives

2 tbsp. green olive brine

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. dry basil

1/2 tsp. oregano

dash of pepper

1/3 cup nutritional yeast

1/2 cup pasta water

8 oz. angel hair pasta, cooked

juice of small lemon

Vegan Walnut Parmesan Cheese

Heat olive oil, medium heat, in pan, add garlic and onions and saute’ until onions become translucent. Add bell peppers and tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes. Add spinach, olives, olive brine, salt, pepper, basil and oregano; cook for another 5 minutes. Stir in nutritional yeast and pasta water and cook on low for about 10 minutes.  Mix pasta into sauce just to heat through. Just before serving, squeeze lemon over pasta and sprinkle with cheese.

Makes 2 large or 4 small servings.

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