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What is Nutritional Yeast and why is it so 'nutritional'?

What is Nutritional Yeast and why is it so 'nutritional'?

Neither the word ‘nutritional’ nor ‘yeast’ conjure up mouthwatering images but Nutritional Yeast can be the difference between a tasty meal and a delicious one! Nutritional yeast may be an alien ingredient to you but we think it should be a cupboard staple, a household name like salt and pepper. Understandably,  you may have your reservations but we want to explain this obscure ingredient and pretty soon you’ll catch yourself sprinkling it on everything...risotto, mac and cheese...even, popcorn?


What is nutritional yeast?

Nutritional yeast is a single-celled organism grown on molasses. It’s basically an inactive, dried version of standard yeast meaning it doesn’t froth and bubble up when used in cooking. Nutritional yeast is technically vegan because it’s part of the fungi family, so really it just like using dried mushrooms! If you like mushrooms you might be tempted to try it now, if you don't like mushrooms don’t worry it tastes nothing like them, at all.

What does it taste like?

Nutritional yeast is, not surprisingly, full of nutritional value, however ask any enthusiast why they like it so much and they’ll most likely say the flavor. The best description of the taste is something similar to Parmesan. Cheesy, nutty and salty. Everything you might miss if you’ve gone vegan or dairy free. Sprinkle it on freshly popped corn and you’ll never crave Butter crisp again.

Why is it so ‘Nutritional’?

Nutritional Yeast is a great source of Vitamin B12, the only nutrient which it can be difficult to obtain when you’re vegan. A lack of B12 can cause anemia so it’s a great idea to add nutritional yeast to your meals regularly. Simple (and super tasty) ways to get it into your diet include sprinkling on garlic bread for an extra bit of flavor or adding to soup, it also works amazingly as a replacement for Parmesan in any recipe! Nutritional Yeast also contains lots of protein and fiber- great for everyone to get more of in their diet.

We’ve linked in our favorite nutritional yeast mac and cheese recipe by Minimalist Baker (an amazing vegan food blog) below for some healthy comfort food inspiration.


Please share your favorite Nutritional Yeast recipes with us below!