Nutty "Cheesy" Chicken

I confess...there is no cheese in this recipe. The nutty, cheesy flavor comes from nutritional yeast; a vitamin packed complete protein. It is deactivated yeast (think teeny-tiny mushrooms) that is grown on sugar cane and beet molasses. It uses the sugar to grow, but there is no sugar in the final product. If you have never had it before, then you are truly missing out. It is really enticing and a little addictive. Check it out.

In this recipe you will be making a type of beurre manié (which means kneaded butter). Traditionally a beurre manié would be made of equal parts butter and flour kneaded together to create a paste and then added to simmering liquid to thicken it into a velvety sauce. In this case we are going to forgo the flour and mix the butter with nutritional yeast.

Makes: 2 servings

Preparation time: 10m
Cooking time: 10m
Total time: 30m


  • 1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut into bite-sized pieces)
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 shallot (diced)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil (finely chopped or cut into ribbons)
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (Paleo: substitute with vinegar)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon softened butter (Paleo: use room-temp clarified butter)

Equipment: whisk (preferably a sauce whisk)


  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºF /95ºC.
  2. Spray a sauté pan with non-stick spray and heat over medium-high. Season the chicken with a little salt and pepper on each side. Once the pan is hot add the chicken and cook until browned (2-3 minutes on each side). Remove the chicken and place in the warm oven until you are finished making the sauce (about 10 min).
  3. You should be left with some little bits of chicken stuck to the sauté pan, called fond. You are going to use the fond to make the sauce. Turn the heat down to medium and quickly add the garlic and shallot. Cook for about 30 seconds, stirring constantly to keep from burning.
  4. Add the basil, cook for 30 seconds while continuing to stir.
  5. Pour in the white wine (or vinegar), let it sizzle for a few seconds then stir in the coconut milk. Turn the heat up to medium-high and reduce the sauce for about 5 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile make a beurre manié with the nutritional yeast and butter; just combine them in a small bowl until all of the butter is mixed in.
  7. Turn the heat down so the sauce is simmering and whisk in the beurre manié until it is completely mixed in. The sauce should thicken as it simmers. Continue to simmer until the desired consistency is reached. This should take less than 5 minutes. If the sauce is still too thin, simply turn up the heat until it thickens.
  8. Taste the sauce to see if it needs a little more salt. It should have some left over from the cooking the chicken. If it needs a little more add a pinch at a time and taste.
  9. Remove the chicken from the oven, spoon it onto two plates and pour the sauce over it. Garnish with basil and serve hot with a big salad and some steamed veggies.