Nutritional yeast is a vegan must-have pantry staple, not only for its cheese-like flavour but also for its rich nutritional profile. To be honest, before going vegan I had never heard of it, but then I kept seeing it in recipes, so I decided to give it a try.
Unfortunately, I ended up buying baker’s yeast, which, spoiler alert, isn’t the same a nutritional yeast. The difference being, baker’s yeast is still active and therefore can grow inside your stomach, which can deprive you of key nutrients. …. so basically, it was a good thing that I caught myself before dumping a ½ cup of nutritional yeast into my pasta. Now that we know what nutritional yeast isn’t, let’s find out what it is.
Nutritional yeast is made from the organisms that grow on molasses. These organisms are then harvested and dried to deactivates the yeast. Although nutritional yeast is similar to baker’s yeast, it is inactive meaning it won’t be rising your bread any time soon.
It comes in a yellowish-brown colour, in the form of flakes, granules, or a powder. As for where to store nutritional yeast, you can leave it in your pantry or somewhere else cool and dark.
In short, yes. Nutritional yeast is a vegans dream! Thess yellowish-brown flakes are a superfood, jam-packed with B vitamins. I’m talking B1, B2, B3, B6, & B12 like I said, all of the B’s.
These B vitamins matter because they help with energy production in the body. Also, the fact that nutritional yeast has B12 is a bonus and great news for vegans. Naturally, B12 is found predominantly in animals, leaving vegans to have to take a replacement supplement to ensure they don’t develop a B12 deficiency.
Not to mention, this yeast is a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids that humans need from food. Just one serving of nutritional yeast has 2g of protein, which makes it an easy plant-based protein vegan's can add to any meal.
The taste of nutritional yeast is especially useful for vegans or people avoiding dairy. Thanks to its cheesy, nutty-like taste it can be used to mirror the flavour of cheese.
Other uses for this vegan cooking necessity include:
This product is starting to pop up in more and more stores, making it easier to get. Although, when in doubt, Whole Foods and other natural grocery stores usually have it. Online wise, Walmart also sells different variations of it.
I personally use the Bragg one, which comes in a little shaker. It makes it easy to both sprinkle some on various dishes or to dump a whole boatload into a dish.
More cheesy nutrient-packed recipes coming soon. If you have any cheesy meals you'd love to have veganized let us know in the comments below. We are always up for a challenge!!