Nutritional yeast (or savoury yeast) is a popular food product often used in vegan cooking. It is made from an organism grown on molasses, which is then harvested and dried to deactivate the yeast. It has really taken a rise in the health world in recent times especially for its versatility in cooking or use in fresh food dishes, and of course its nutritional value.
It gets its name from the protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that it contains.
Studies have actually shown it has a wide range of potential health benefits, ranging from lowering cholesterol to protecting the body from free radical damage.
It is a great source of B vitamins, B1, B2, B3, B6 and B12. It is especially high in vitamin B6, 2 tablespoons alone contain nearly 10 mg of vitamin B6!
All B vitamins are different but they all work together in the body to support energy production and neurological function. They are essential in the human diet and can be harder for those eating plant-based diets to obtain, so including more nutritional yeast into your diet will help ensure you are getting enough B vitamins to function.
Nutritional yeast is also a complete protein, is low in fat and sodium, is free of sugar and gluten, and contains iron.
The health benefits:
- Holds antiviral and antibacterial properties
- Improves digestion
- Contains beneficial protein and thiamine which can aid in weight loss
- Promotes healthy hair, skin and nails
What can you use it in:
Nutritional yeast is a great substitute for cheese! It is a yummy savoury, Parmesan-like flavour, taste and goes well in so many dishes.
- You can use it on top of your meat dishes or mix it through to give the dish a more "cheesy taste", for example mix some through your mince if you are having a healthy "spag bowl", instead of sprinkling normal cheese (dairy) all over your plate.
- You can use it to thicken up a healthy sauce you are making.
- Make a healthy cheese sauce with nutritional yeast, buckwheat flour and almond milk.
- Sprinkle it on top of your favourite salad.
- If you're having homemade popcorn as a treat or the kids are having some homemade popcorn, nutritional yeast tastes amazing sprinkled over the top .
- Toast toppings (goes great on top of avocado smash)
- Homemade pizza
- Put some in your omelette like mine below, it gives it that nice little cheesy taste you're after when having an omelette or even scrambled eggs!
Most health food stores now stock nutritional or savoury yeast, you can also purchase it from health bulk food stores also.