Nutritional Yeast and Why You Should Eat It

You’ve heard of yeast. It makes bread rise and the world go ‘round, but have you heard of its rock star cousin nutritional yeast? Nutritional yeast is seriously underrated, especially considering that it does way more than just make bread fluffy. It’s nutritious, multi-purpose, and oh so delicious. Not to mention, it is likely the easiest and tastiest nutrient you could supplement to your diet.

What it is and why it’s good for you

Nutritional yeast comes as flakes or powder and grows on whey, blackstrap molasses, or wood pulp. It’s harvested and then washed and dried with heat, so it deactivates and stops growing. The final packaged product is a complete protein. That means that of the 18 amino acids it consists of, 9 are essential acids that our bodies can’t create themselves. Nutritional yeast also contains beta-1, 3 glucan, trehalose, mannan, and glutathione, which help with immunity, cholesterol, and cancer prevention. It’s a good source of B vitamins such as thiamine, folate, B-6, and niacin. As an added bonus it also comes with fiber and doses of minerals such as iron, selenium, and zinc. Plus, it has very little sodium or fat.  Bottom line: it’s super good for you.

Okay, but what does it taste like?

Contrary to the taste its name brings to mind, nutritional yeast doesn’t taste anything like activated yeast or beer. Instead, it adds a delightful savory, cheesy, nutty, and/or creamy taste to the dishes it supplements. Vegans will often use it as a cheese substitute in sauces or to just sprinkle on spaghetti or salad as a parmesan substitute. However, those are only a couple ideas among countless options and the best way to introduce something to your diet is to have a recipe in mind.

Ways to cook with nutritional yeast

Many who regularly cook with nutritional yeast simply add it to a dish as icing on the cake. They’ll add it to their smoothies, sprinkle it on their popcorn, or top off a gravy boat.  However, if you’re new to nutritional yeast, we’d recommend you start with a recipe that features it more heavily so you can experience its flavor before mixing it with dishes that might not be a good match.

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Queso Dip

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Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

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Cheese Breadsticks

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Cheesy Spinach and Cilantro Rice

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Pesto Alfredo

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Breakfast Nachos

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Cheesy Potato Broccoli Soup

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Cheesy Popcorn

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Lots of times our day to day diets are based in convenience and those of us that want to adopt a more vegan diet don’t know what the alternatives are to the animal-based products we use. Nutritional yeast provides such a versatile option that we can seamlessly swap with all the dairy products we use in our food. If you’re interested in a vegan lifestyle, healthier food, or simply want to consume fewer animal products, this could be your starter kit!

If meat is a bigger problem for you than dairy, check out the awesome things you can do with tofu!

Delicious, Nutritious, Gluten Free, Ethically Sourced, Kid Approved, Vegan Approved, Energy, Sesame Snack Bars!
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