What is Nutritional Yeast?

May 23, 2012 at 4:23 pm 1 comment

Nutritional yeast sprinkled on popcorn?  salads?  mixed with tofu to make a scramble?  What is this stuff and why use it?

Nutritional Yeast is the go-to source for B-Vitamins and essential amino acids for a vegan and vegetarian diet.  These diets, as wonderful as they are, can be lacking in B-vitamins, especially Vitamin B-12, because B-12 primarily comes from animal products.  Nutritional Yeast contains complete proteins and is a good source of fiber.  Short of taking a supplement, nutritional yeast is a very good way to fill in the gaps that could develop in a meatless diet.

Nutritional Yeast is a deactivated yeast that is made from strains of a particular culture and grown in mixtures of cane and beet molassses.  After the yeast is harvested, it is washed, pasteurized and dried.  It is sold as a powder or flakes.

Nutritional yeast is yellowish with a nutty, cheesy flavor.  It can be sprinkled on popcorn, garlic bread and salads.  It can be mixed into smoothies, juice, cereals, soups, gravies and sandwich spreads.  It can also be added to stir fries and casseroles.

Nutrition Information of interest:

Serving size: 2 heaping Tablespoons

Calories:  60

Nutrient                                     Amount/serving                                    % Daily Value             

Fat                                                 .83g

Sodium                                       5.12mg

Potassium                             320mg                                                              9%

Carbs                                            7.2g                                                             2%

Fiber                                            3.9g                                                             16%

Protein                                         8.34g                                                        17%

Iron                                                 .77mg                                                      4%

Thiamin (B1)                             9.6mg                                                     640%

Riboflaving (B2)                       9.6mg                                                     565%

Niacin                                        56mg                                                        280%

Vitamin B6                                  9.6mg                                                    480%

Folic Acid                                240mcg                                                       60%

Vitamin B12                                8mcg                                                      133%

Zinc                                               8.2mg                                                       21%

Selenium                                    22.4mcg                                                     32%

Don’t confuse Nutritional Yeast with Brewer’s Yeast.  Brewer’s Yeast is the bitter by-product of producing beer.  Active Dry Yeast is also distinguished from Nutritional Yeast.  Its purpose is to raise baked goods, such as bread.

Nutritional Yeast can be found in most stores.  Bob’s Red Mill, and Red Star are popular brands and have recipes on their websites.  Whole Foods also sells Nutritional Yeast under their brand name.

I made a wonderful dish using Nutritional Yeast.  The recipe is from Vegetarian Times.  I can say it is kid tested and approved by mom (me), husband and teens!

Mac and Cheese Style  Cauliflower

Serves 8

Get all the creamy, cheesy goodness of mac and cheese—without the high starch content of macaroni. To make your own breadcrumbs, tear firm, fresh bread into pieces and whirl in a food processor or blender until crumbs form.

1 large head cauliflower (1 ½ lb.), cut into medium florets (8 cups)
2 Tbs. butter or margarine
3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
2 cups low-fat milk
1 clove garlic, minced (1 tsp.)
2 cups grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
½ cup nutritional yeast
1 pinch cayenne pepper
2 egg yolks
1 ½ cups fresh breadcrumbs

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add cauliflower florets, and boil 5 to 7 minutes, or until just tender. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid, and set aside.

2. Melt butter in the same pot over medium heat. Whisk in flour, and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Whisk in milk, garlic, and reserved cooking liquid, and cook 7 to 10 minutes, or until sauce is thickened, whisking constantly. Remove from heat, and stir in cheese, nutritional yeast, cayenne pepper, and egg yolks until cheese is melted. Fold in cauliflower.

3. Coat a 13- x 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spread cauliflower mixture in baking dish, and sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Spray breadcrumbs with cooking spray. Bake 30 minutes, or until casserole is hot and bubbly and breadcrumbs are crisp and brown.

I put the casserole in individual ramekins and it looked as good as it tasted!

On another note, I wanted to share some photos of what is blooming in my yard right now.  I just love how there is always something blooming from April through September.  Right now, this is what is blooming!

Happy warming up with Spring!  It makes me so happy!


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Juicing Beets Tart Cherry Juice and Exercise Recovery

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Elise Reitshamer  |  May 24, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    I have been curious about nutritional yeast for a while and now you’ve given me a reason to go and try it!


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