What is Nutritional Yeast?
When asking what is nutritional yeast, some may wonder if it is a baking yeast or a terrible tasting brewer yeast concoction. But wait until you hear why vegans and non-vegans alike have this food in their pantry as a staple.
Nutritional yeast is not bakers or brewers yeast. Nutritional yeast is produced by culturing a yeast in a nutrient medium from either beet molasses or glucose, for several days. It is often a strain of the bacteria Saccharomyces cerevisiae. When the yeast is ready, it is deactivated with heat. It is then harvested, washed, dried and sold as a food product. You can find it in natural health food stores and larger grocery chains may have the Bob’s Red Mill Brand.
So why is it so popular? It is loaded with nutrition and nutritional yeast has a strong flavor that is described as nutty, cheesy, or creamy, which makes it popular as an ingredient in cheese substitutes and recipes.
Nutritional Yeast Nutrition
What is nutritional yeast nutrition?
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.
All nutritional yeast is not the same and nutritional values for nutritional yeast vary from one manufacturer to another. On average, two tablespoons provides 60 calories, 9 g of protein and is a complete protein, providing all nine amino acids the human body cannot produce. It is also a source of selenium, potassium, folic acid, selenium, zinc, iron, 35 to 100 percent of all of the B vitamins, except for B12.
There has been some confusion about nutritional yeast and B12. Vegans, especially need to supplement their diets with B12. Yeast cannot produce this vitamin. There are some brands, but not all, that are fortified with B12.
Let’s clear up some of the confusion: There are some species of bacteria that produce B12 and could grow along with cerevisia in the wild, however, commercial nutritional yeast is grown in controlled conditions that would not allow those bacteria to grow. Therefore, if you are wanting the additional B12 in your diet, you must purchase fortified nutritional yeast.
Red Star Nutritional Yeast
The brand that most vegans use is Red Star Vegetarian Support Formula because it is a good source of vitamin B12 and contains no whey, an animal product that is used in some other brands.
Favorite Ways to Add
Nutritional Yeast to Your Diet
- Add to soups for additional flavor
- A favorite…sprinkle it on popcorn with a spritz of Braggs Soy sauce
- Stir it into mashed or fried potatoes
- I love it sprinkled on salad instead of or in addition to salad dressing
- Add some to the cooking water for “cheesy grits” or polenta
- Put into scrambled tofu as a substitute for scrambled eggs
- Sprinkle on any pasta dish
- Make almond “parmesan” by blending nutritional yeast with almonds in a food processor
- Add a tablespoon or two to bean dishes
- Sprinkle on any casserole type dish
What is nutritional yeast versions?
I use the nutritional yeast flakes, but it’s also available in a powder. If you’re using the powder, you will need only about half as much as the flakes.
What are you waiting for? Go out and find this inexpensive, nutritional product to enhance your foods!