What is nutritional yeast?
Nutritional yeast in the vegan community is the number one vegan cheese alternative. More specifically however, nutritional yeast is a microorganism that grows on sugar cane and beet molasses. Once it is harvested, it is deactivated and crumbled into large flakes.
The uses of nutritional yeast are nearly endless.
Health Benefits of Nutritional Yeast
Nutritional yeast is an excellent source of B vitamins including thiamine, folate, B-6, and niacin. These important vitamins are critical in converting energy from the food you eat and in producing red blood cells. Most sources of nutritional yeast are also fortified with vitamin B-12 which is only found in animal protein. Vegans who regularly enjoy nutritional yeast need not worry about being deficient in B-12.
Nutritional yeast is also gluten free, soy free, dairy free, and low in sodium. These delicious and creamy flakes will also not aggravate gut fungal infections, otherwise known as candidiasis.
Additionally, nutritional yeast is a complete protein meaning it contains 9 of the 18 amino acids that your body can not produce on its own. Compounds in nutritional yeast have also been associated with cancer prevention, enhanced immunity and reduced cholesterol levels.
Lastly, nutritional yeast contains a significant amount of iron, selenium, zinc, and fiber.
So what are you waiting for, go grab some nutritional yeast today!
16 Ways to Utilize Nutritional Yeast
1. Popcorn There is a reason I have this use for nutritional yeast first, I absolutely love it on my stove top organic coconut oil popped popcorn. Popcorn with a creamy nutty topping is the perfect guilt free evening snack whether you are a vegan or not.
2. Beans I always have 2-3 different types of beans cooked and ready for quick easy meals. Preparing food ahead of time is a huge time and sanity saver for any busy family. My family all love a hot and fresh bowl of beans, regardless of the variety. To add some additional flavor and nutritional value I sprinkle a little nutritional yeast on top of their beans and happily watch them gobble it all up.
3. Vegan cheese sauce In our home vegan cheese sauce is known as cashew cream. We always have a huge bowl of it prepared and ready to enjoy in our refrigerator. When we want an svn creamier cheese flavor to our cashew cream I add some nutritional yeast, it is simply amazing!
4. Steamed veggies Forget the butter, oil, or any other topping you add to steamed vegetables. Add a sprinkle of nutritional yeast and you have not only saved yourself a ton of fat and calories but you have also added a ton of flavor and nutritional value.
5. Bread crumbs Bread crumbs can be costly when you purchase them in the store, especially if you are gluten free. Save yourself time and money, substitute nutritional yeast in place of your bread crumbs.
6. Kale Chips When you make kale chips sprinkle a little nutritional yeast in the bowl and you will end up with an amazing flavor on your delicious chips.
7. Veggie burgers If you’ve read my blog for any length of time you already know how much my family and I love veggie and bean burgers. Although I don’t always list it as an optional ingredient in my burger recipes, nutritional yeast can always be added to the mix to add flavor and nutritional value. Nutritional yeast creates a vegan cheese burger of sorts, it is amazing!
8. Pasta No matter how you like you pasta you can always make it tastier with some nutritional yeast. It adds a creaminess just like if you had added traditional dairy cheese.
Are you catching on to the theme yet? Not only can you add nutritional yeast to everything, but adding nutritional yeast makes everything taste better.
9. Mashed potatoes If you enjoy the creamy butter taste in your mashed potatoes, fear not, nutritional yeast has come to your rescue. Add as much or as littles as you please, you will end up with a delicious creamy taste in your creamy fluffy potato goodness.
10. Thicken sauces Just like the traditional sauce thickeners you are used to, nutritional yeast will do the same thing but with more nutrition and flavor. Just add a sprinkle at a time, stir as the flakes dissolve and add more until you reach the desired thickness.
11.Soups My family adds nutritional yeast to all of their soups, even our favorite ginger and turmeric carrot soup. I will also occasionally sneak it in some of our broth based soups to add nutritional value, they love it.
12. Vegan pizza Yes, vegans can still enjoy pizza. Regardless of whether you add vegan cheese crumbles or not to your pizza, you can always add nutritional yeast on top of pizza for flavor and nutrition.
13. French fries Who doesn’t love cheese fries? You can still enjoy the cheese fry taste without the animal protein, heart disease, and cancer causing properties. Just bake your fries as usual but sprinkle some flakes on top before or after baking for a fun cheesy taste.
14. Sandwiches Be it vegetable sandwiches or wraps, I always add a sprinkle or two of nutritional yeast. I love the taste that it adds to my veggies and the nutritional benefits are to boot.
15. Salads Whether you add nutritional yeast to your favorite salad dressing or as a topping on your greens, you can’t go wrong with these delicious flakes. It is just like adding cheese to your salad but without all the nasty properties in dairy.
16. Smoothies Yes, you can even add nutritional yeast to your favorite smoothie. Of all of the options I have listed here, you will taste the nutritional yeast the least in your smoothie. In my experience, the fruits and other veggies in my smoothie mask the creamy cheese taste of the yeast more so than any other way. However, I know I am still getting all of the nutritional benefit of the yeast despite the lack of taste.
Do you have any additional uses for nutritional yeast that you would add to this list?