It has come to my attention as of late that the foods I eat are not “normal.” In fact, many of them appear downright weird when you exist outside of the healthy living blogger bubble. I thought it might be nice to introduce a new, weekly feature in which I focus on a particular food that you may not know much about. To kick things off I want to discuss the deliciousness that is Nutritional Yeast since it makes an appearance in about 99% of my meals. That’s right, I said delicious.
What is it?
Nutritional yeast is derived from a strain of yest called Saccharomyces cerevisiae. (look at me getting all nerdy!) Technically the yeast is in the same family as edible mushrooms, but I assure you it does not taste anything like its counterpart. The strain of yeast is turned into nutritional yeast by growing it on a mix of cane and beet molasses. B-vitamins (remember this, it’s important!) are added to help the yeast grow. Then it is dried and takes on its notoriously flaky appearance before being packaged for store shelves.
Is it good for me?
Remember those B-vitamins that were added during the growth stage of creation? Well they contribute a large part of nutritional yeast’s healthy allure. For vegetarians and vegans alike eating the necessary amount of Vitamin B-12 is a serious struggle as it is not found in non-meat protein sources.
Nutritional yeast provides a healthy serving of Vitamin B-12 while also boasting some seriously attractive health buzzwords. It is relatively high protein, low-fat, kosher, low sodium and boasts a recognizable nutrition label that even the cleanest eater can appreciate.
What does nutritional yeast taste like?
Many people liken the taste of nutritional yeast to cheese. If you eat cheese you are probably not one of those people. I think it tastes like a nutty version of of mild cheese, but then again, I’m nuts. (lots of nuts and cheese happening here!)
How do I use it?
As you may have seen if you read this blog with any regularity, nutritional yeast can and will be consumed on just about every savory meal. Some of my favorite ways to enjoy it include:
On roasted vegetables
Salads- mix 1 tbsp nutritional yeast with 1 tbsp hummus, 1/2 tbsp mustard, and a dash of water for instant dressing
Bread- toast bread, add a schmear of butter, a dash of garlic powder, and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast for a healthy garlic bread
Pasta- Nutritional yeast serves as a great substitution for fatty cheeses that go hand in hand with pasta. I use it to top everything from plain bowls of pasta to Vegan Mac n’ Cheese
Popcorn- When a salty craving hits, popcorn covered with nutritional yeast and a bit of butter spray hits the spot!
Where can I buy nutritional yeast?
Nooch, as I like to call it, is sold at most higher end grocery stores. If you are purchasing it at one of these places I highly recommend going the bulk bin route as it is significantly cheaper to buy per pound. For the full blown addicts among us, I recommend heading on over to Amazon (note: I am not an affiliate, this is what I always order) to purchase a big ol’ tub of it so you can get your fix at any time!
I think that covers the basics. Let me know if I left anything out or if you guys have any questions! Now if you’ll excuse me, I think we all know I am about to go dig into a noochy snack.
Questions: Have you ever tried nutritional yeast? What other foods would you like to learn more about?