What You Need to Know About Nutritional Yeast

May 24, 2016 | By | Comments (5)

Credit: OlgaMiltsova/Getty

Nutritional yeast has long been a favorite of vegans, who use it as a cheese substitute. But now nutritional yeast is everywhere—maybe you’ve seen it in the market, or on a food blog. Here’s what you need to know about the popular seasoning.

It’s simply deactivated yeast—similar to the kind in your bread or beer. To make the seasoning, manufacturers feed the yeast sugar, to make them grow and flourish. Then they kill (or deactivate) the yeast by heating them. Finally, they dry the deactivated yeast and fortify it with vitamins and minerals. That’s it.

It tastes cheesy and savory because of naturally occurring glutamate. Nutritional yeast does not contain added MSG, but it as the yeast break down, they leave behind amino acids, glutamic acid among them, which has a naturally savory, umami-like flavor.

It’s fairly nutritious. Nutritional yeast contains B vitamins and protein, and it has only about 20 calories per spoonful.

You can use it the same way you’d use Parmesan. Nutritional yeast is a super useful seasoning for vegan or dairy-free diets: It’s fantastic sprinkled on popcorn or nachos, or over roasted vegetables or salads. You can use it to make vegan pastas taste cheesy. But it’s good in non-vegan dishes too—as a flavoring in breadcrumbs for crispy chicken or fish, for instance.

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  1. Dan

    Thks for your article about nutritional yeast !

    October 10, 2016 at 8:41 am
  2. Vegan Copycat: Homemade Doritos | Cooking Light

    […] 1 1/2 tablespoons nutritional yeast 3/4 teaspoon chili powder 3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika 1/4 teaspoon onion powder 1/4 teaspoon garlic […]

    June 6, 2016 at 4:00 pm
  3. Lynn

    I like it on salads, but if it tastes “weird” to you, try adding it to stew and chili and other casseroles ((lasagna or spaghetti!). It will add richness and thicken the mix. And adds the nutrition you need! I’ve even been known to put some in my veggie curry. Adding it to more flavorful recipes would cover the “weird” taste you get. Try it in a bowlful of soup (heating separately for a while to incorporate the yeast) – that way, if it makes it taste bad to you, you won’t have wasted the entire recipe of soup. Hope it works for you. I personally LOVE the yeast sprinkled on stuff. Never tried it on popcorn, though. Maybe that weirdness is isolated to just popcorn!

    June 4, 2016 at 2:48 pm
  4. fithotbod

    Just tried nutritional yeast on popcorn. Thought it was awful. Didn’t taste cheesy or nutty, plus it had a weird aftertaste. I just bought this bottle, so now I’m not sure what to do. I like that a tablespoon has 40% B12. I’ve been making homemade vegan soups. Beans, veggies, pumpkin, diced tomatoes, spices… I was hoping to add a tablespoon of nutritional yeast to a big bowl of soup, but now I’m concerned that it will ruin the flavor. Any ideas?

    May 31, 2016 at 8:05 pm
  5. What You Need to Know About Nutritional Yeast – Health News and Views – Health.com

    […] article originally appeared on […]

    May 24, 2016 at 3:08 pm

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