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.
- Nutritional yeast is created by culturing yeast with a mixture of sugarcane and beet molasses.
- It can be described as nutty, cheesy, and creamy in taste.
- 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.
- It is an excellent source of vitamin B12.
- It is low in fat and sodium, despite having a salty taste.
- 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.
- While active brewer’s yeast and baker’s yeast are live, nutritional yeast is deactivated during processing.
- 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?
- 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).
- 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:
Summer Vegetable Stir-fry
Cheese substitute in Mac n’ No Cheese
Egg Salad or Tofu Salad
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!