Ten Things I Learned About Nutritional Yeast

It seems like it has been awhile since I’ve shared a new ingredient, doesn’t it? I guess that’s because I’ve been saving up some good ones to test their versatility. One such ingredient is nutritional yeast. I have read about it on a few different blogs, but this is one that I haven’t seen on restaurant menus or salad bars yet, so it was kind of a mystery to me. I first tried it in Mama Pea’s potato and white bean burger recipe on 4th of July weekend.

And then I had an almost full container of nutritional yeast sitting in my refrigerator so I decided to do a little research to figure out how any why I should use it. Here are some things I learned.

  1. Nutritional yeast is created by culturing yeast with a mixture of sugarcane and beet molasses.
  2. It can be described as nutty, cheesy, and creamy in taste.
  3. It is a complete protein like quinoa, meaning it contains an adequate proportion of all nine essential amino acids that are necessary in our diets.
  4. It is an excellent source of vitamin B12.
  5. It is low  in fat and sodium, despite having a salty taste.
  6. It comes from the same species of fungus as brewer’s yeast and baker’s yeast but the culturing method is different, which results in a more flavorful product.
  7. While active brewer’s yeast and baker’s yeast are live, nutritional yeast is deactivated during processing.
  8. Some movie theaters provide nutritional yeast along with cayenne pepper to sprinkle on popcorn. I ran into this fact over and over again during research, which begs another question: where do I find these movie theaters?
  9. It is often used as a homeopathic treatment for the prevention of fleas in cats and dogs, so it’s allegedly okay to share with your furry friends (although I won’t be trying that anytime soon).
  10. There are many different ways to enjoy nutritional yeast. Here are some of the suggestions I have come across for adding nutritional yeast to everyday foods:

Mashed Potatoes

Frittatas

Baked Pasta

Summer Vegetable Stir-fry

Cheese substitute in Mac n’ No Cheese

Vegetable Soup

Garlic Breadsticks

Egg Salad or Tofu Salad

Veggie Burgers

I chose to use it again in an adaptation of Mama Pea’s burgers with the following changes:

  • Substitute sweet potato for Yukon Gold potato
  • Substitute black beans for white beans
  • Substitute cilantro for basil
  • Add cumin into the burger mix

They were a big hit!

I am sure that I will soon try this out in a lot of my favorite foods. At first I was skeptical of what looked like a container of fish food, but now I’m convinced that I’ve stumbled upon a super food!

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