What Is Nutritional Yeast?
If you have been vegan for any length of time, or if you’ve looked through a vegan cookbook or recipe blog, you’ve probably heard the term “nutritional yeast”. Vegans love it (even affectionately nicknaming it “nooch”) and use it in all kinds of recipes. I personally use it on toast, on potatoes and popcorn, in sauces, soups, gravy, tofu, etc.! In this post I will give you recipes for over 30 ways to use it, and I will also tell you what nutritional yeast is, and why you might want to incorporate it into your diet.
Nutritional yeast is basically a yeast that is grown on sugar beets or molasses, and when the fermentation process is done, the yeast is removed, and dried. When the yeast is dried it becomes inactive. So, nutritional yeast is different from the kinds you bake with because it has no leavening ability – it won’t make anything rise, and it won’t give you bubbles in your tummy, if you are sensitive to active strains of yeast. Nutritional yeast contains no Candida yeast, and will not promote yeast growth in your body. Also, nutritional yeast is not the same as brewer’s yeast. Brewer’s yeast is a by-product of the brewing process. Nutritional yeast is a completely different product, made by a different process, and it is gluten free. Nutritional yeast has a nutty- cheesy -savory flavor, and that is one of the reasons vegans enjoy it so much. It helps to build a cheesy flavor profile into all kinds of dishes.
Why is it Good For you?
Another very important reason that many vegans include nutritional yeast in their diets is that it contains a lot of nutrients, especially B vitamins, and in particular, it’s a great source of Vitamin B-12. Vitamin B-12 is extremely important for a number of different functions in your body, including, nerve function, mood and memory, hormone regulation, healthy skin and hair, and heart function. B-12 is present in most brands of nutritional yeast. (I use Bragg’s nutritional yeast and I also use KCal nutritional yeast. Both brands are high quality, provide plenty of vitamins, and both are delicious. I like the shaker bottle that the Bragg’s comes in, and I often buy the KCal brand in a big container and refill the shaker to keep on my counter. You can also find nutritional yeast in the bulk bins of most natural foods stores. 😉 This is the label from Bragg’s brand:
Many people falsely believe that vegans and vegetarians are more likely to be deficient in B-12 than meat eaters, but that is not the case. B-12 is found in animal products because animals eat grass and bugs, etc. that have soil on them. Humans wash their fruits and veggies so well that we no longer consume enough B-12 containing soil on our foods and must fortify our diets with it. In order to have proper levels of B-12 in your body, you need to consume it, and your gut must be in good shape to synthesize it. Because of the the heat and acid needed to break down animal based foods for consumption, the B-12 originally present in their flesh, may not be so by the time it enters your intestines. For a deeper discussion of how your body assimilates B-12, read this article. It is well researched and goes into depth about B-12. In any case, nutritional yeast is a great source of B-12 and other vitamins, and it is delicious so why not add it to your diet?
Okay, so now that we know what it is, and why it’s good for you, let’s talk about how to use it! Get ready for some eye candy, because I’ve asked my fellow food bloggers how they use nutritional yeast, and they have some really fabulous recipes!
Delicious Ways to Use Nutritional Yeast
- One Pot Vegan Mac and Cheese by Strength and Sunshine
- Vegan Caesar Salad with Tempura Cauliflower – by Valises & Gourmandises
- Spicy Bean Balls with Kale by Green Evi
- The Best Green Goddess Dressing by The Endless Meal
- Vegan Slow Cooker Potatoes Au Gratin – by Healthy Slow Cooking
- Lemon Cranberry & Pistachio Cashew Cheese Ball by The Plant Philosophy
- Vegan Tomato Basil Soup by Vegan Heaven
- Sour Cream and Chives Popcorn by Euphoric Vegan
- Nooch Cheese Sauce by Elephantastic Vegan
- Easy Vegan Chickpea Patties by Woman in Real Life
- Vegan Breakfast Eggs by Cheftographer
- Vegan Cream Cheese Taquitos by Contentedness Cooking
- Vegan Cashew Parmesan by Where you Get Your Protein
- Homemade Vegan Doritos – by Fork and Beans
- Creamy Mushroom Risotto by Wall Flower Kitchen
- Vegan Broccoli Cheese Soup by Emily Honeycutt
- Cheese and Onion Roasted Chickpeas by A Virtual Vegan
- Veggie Broth Mix by My Plant Based Family
- Best Ever Vegan Cheese Sauce by Karl Cooks
- Vegan Creme Fraiche by Healing Tomato
- Vegan Smoked Jalapeno Cheddar Cheese by My Darling Vegan
- Quick and Easy Vegan Pesto by Serving Realness
- Healthy Creamy Vegan Spinach Dip by Ceara’s Kitchen
- Cheesy Golden Beet Chips by Sweet Cayene
- Sriracha Ginger Roasted Broccoli by Laura Lea Balanced
- Vegan Chili Cheese Tater Tots by Cadry’s Kitchen
- Tofu Bacon by Cheftographer
- The Best 3 Ingredient Vegan Everything Sauce by Vegan Chickpea
- Kale and Cabbage Salad with Creamy Nutritional Yeast Dressing by Love Leaf Co.
- Amazing Vegan Bowl with Nutritional Yeast Sauce by Health is Happiness
I hope you enjoy these recipes and that you will give some (or all!) of them a try! If you’d like to stay connected, sign up for my email newsletter and receive lots of great info and vegan/gluten free recipes delivered to your inbox! Find the form below. Thanks for reading!