Cheesy, nutty, and full of umami and protein, nutritional yeast is your pantry flavor friend that’s here to stay.
Everything you ever wanted to know about the cheesy, delicious seasoning and how to enjoy it. If you’ve been hearing about nutritional yeast and are wonder what the heck it is, you’re in the right place.
What is nutritional yeast?
Nutritional yeast is a flaky, golden powder that’s made from a species of yeast that’s the same as baker’s or brewer’s yeast. Baking and brewing yeast is active, which lets bread rise and beer brew. Nutritional yeast on the other hand is inactive. It’s grown specifically for food, then harvested.
When harvested, heat deactivates the yeast, then it’s washed, dried, and crumbled. The result is a cheesy, nutty, savory ingredient that is used to make vegan cheese sauces, vegan dips, in soups, scrambles, stews, and more.
Fortified vs unfortified
Yeast is a natural source of protein and B vitamins. There are two kinds of nutritional yeast, fortified and unfortified.
- Fortified has vitamins added to boost nutritional content. Most of the ones you find commercially come fortified with B12 and folic acid.
- Unfortified doesn’t have added vitamins or minerals. Unfortified yeast on its own has protein and B vitamins.
Flakes, granules, or powder
Based on what you want to use your yeast for, it comes in flakes, granules, or powder. I like large flakes for sprinkling and granules or powder for sauces. You can also just use your food processor to turn flakes into powder.
Is nutritional yeast good for you?
Nutritional yeast is, as its name proclaims, very nutritious. It’s a great source of protein, B vitamins, and minerals. It has all nine essential amino acids and is a great way to add high quality protein to your diet. Fortified yeast is great because it has B12 which helps with maintaining a healthy nervous system, energy, and creation of red blood cells. It also has antioxidants which help protect your cells.
How to enjoy
Think of it as a vegan grated cheese. Anywhere you want a cheesy hit, add a sprinkle!
Sprinkle it onto:
- roasted vegetables
Stir it into:
Add it to:
- cheese sauce
Where to buy nutritional yeast
They sell it at health food stores and in the health aisle at most grocery stores. You can also buy it online. I like Bob’s Red Mill large flake but there are tons of brands out there.
- 1/4 cup olive oil extra virgin preferred
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast large flake preferred
- 1 tbsp lemon juice about 1 medium lemon
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
- lemon zest from the lemon before you juice it
- 1 bunch kale lacinato kale preferred, about 4 cups finely chopped
Serves 2 as a small main or 4 as a side salad.
Vegan Kale Salad with Nutritional Yeast
Amount Per Serving
Calories 244 Calories from Fat 228
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 3.7g23%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.