This article will tell you how nutritional yeast is made, it’s nutritional benefits, what it tastes like, and how to use it in your cooking. Satisfy your cheese cravings while packing in immense amounts of vital nutrients into your food. Nutritional yeast is an ingredient I had never heard of before eating a plant-based diet. As soon as I started cooking vegan I saw nutritional yeast popping up in a lot of recipes. I purchased some and have been adding it to everything since.
How it’s made
Nutritional yeast is made by culturing yeast on molasses, or sugar cane. The yeast feeds on glucose, although the finished product is very low in sugar. The yeast is then deactivated with heat. After it is harvested, it is washed, dried, and packaged. Nutritional yeast is a fungus, so it is vegan (although watch out for some varieties with added whey).
Think of nutritional yeast flakes like sprinkles of vitamins for your food. Vitamins that taste like cheese. It doesn’t get much better than that. Nutritional yeast is a good source of many vital nutrients as the name might suggest. It is high in vitamin B6 and some brands are even fortified with vitamin B12, a necessary nutrient often missing from the vegan diet. Nutritional yeast is also high in fiber, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, and zinc. Just 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast flakes provide 8 grams of protein. It is also a complete protein meaning it contains all 9 amino acids necessary for humans to consume through diet.
Here are a few short videos from NutritionFacts.org where Dr. Michael Greger talks about nutritional yeast flakes and their health benefits.
You will often see nutritional yeast flakes used to impart a cheesy flavor. These lovely yellow flakes have a nutty, umami, cheese-like flavor that is hard to come by for vegans. Nutritional yeast can be added to anything that you want to taste cheesy.
There are so many great plant-based recipes that use nutritional yeast. Below is a list of some of my favorite nutritional yeast recipes from around the web. You don’t need a recipe to start incorporating it, though. You can start sprinkling it on popcorn, pasta, pizza, salads, and more. Be creative or use it like parmesan cheese.
- Cheesy Vegan Kale Chips
- Easy Garlic & Herb Vegan Cheese
- Tofu Benny with Vegan Hollandaise
- Oil-Free Vegan Cream Cheese
- Vegan Mozzarella
Now you are ready to start using nutritional yeast flakes and reap the benefits of this nutrient-dense food. You will need to be ready when other people ask you what that yellow fish food you are shaking on everything is. If you liked this article let me know in the comments below. Subscribe to receive new posts to your inbox every week.