31 Jan

What the heck is nutritional yeast?

Several months ago, Jen and I were volunteering with our local running club at the Redman Triathlon.  One of our friends, Adi, mentioned a food truck, The Loaded Bowl, was nearby.  The Loaded Bowl is our only (I think!) vegetarian/vegan food truck.  

They have an incredible vegan mac & cheese that was absolute crack!

Adi told me it was easy to make with nutritional yeast.  After asking, “WTF is nutritional yeast,” I decided to look up some recipes.   What I found was a plethora of salad dressings, cheese substitutes, and other great recipes where creaminess is needed.

After my last post, I decided to do a little more digging into what exactly this stuff is…and is it good or bad for me?!

What exactly is it?

The first thing I did was Google it.  Here’s what I got from wikipedia:

Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast, often a strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which is sold commercially as a food product. It is sold in the form of flakes or as a yellow powder and can be found in the bulk aisle of most natural food stores. It is popular with vegans and vegetarians and may be used as an ingredient in recipes or as a condiment.

It is a source of protein and vitamins, especially the B-complex vitamins, and is a complete protein. It is also naturally low in fat and sodium and is free of sugar, dairy, and gluten. Sometimes nutritional yeast is fortified with vitamin B12.

Nutritional yeast has a strong flavor that is described as nutty, cheesy, or creamy, which makes it popular as an ingredient in cheese substitutes. It is often used by vegans in place of cheese. It can be used in many recipes in place of cheese, such as in mashed and fried potatoes, and atop scrambled tofu.

Another popular use is as a topping for popcorn.

Obviously, wikipedia isn’t a perfect source, but this seems close enough to the truth.  And maybe some of my dietitian friends can tell me if this is on or off.

What do I use it on?

We haven’t made a lot with nutritional yeast, but after reading the vitamin B benefits, I’m going to start dumping on a lot more recipes!

Basically, we’ve made Hemp Seed Salad Dressing, Pepita-Cashew Cheese, and Non-dairy Cashew Cheese.  The yeast adds a creaminess you just can’t get otherwise.

Is it good for me?

So, there’s a whole lot of good going on inside nutritional yeast.  Basically, you get a boatload of thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B6, and B12, and a substantial amount of folic acid.  

However, I’ve read that taking a vitamin B supplement with shitloads of nutritional yeast probably isn’t a good thing.  You should consult your local witch doctor though!

For more recipe ideas, try this: Click Here!

2 thoughts on “What the heck is nutritional yeast?

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