A Guide to Nutritional Yeast
An introduction to Nutritional Yeast, including what it is, nutrition information, recommended recipes, and frequently asked questions.
The first time I heard the word nutritional yeast, it was from a clerk at a small, natural foods store in Denver who was recommending I try it out. This was before I started eating plant-based and had stopped in the store to check out their products. She actually referred to it as ‘nooch’, which sounded like a strange, hippie food that was going to taste weird and definitely wouldn’t be for me. Uhhh yeah. Was I wrong. Never judge a book by it’s name. We now eat this cheesy, savory food on a daily basis in our home.
To take a step back, let’s talk about yeast in general. Yeast refers to a single-celled, microscopic fungus that is capable of converting sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide. You’re probably most familiar with brewer’s or baker’s yeast. These are active yeasts. However, some yeasts are pasteurized and sterilized, so that the yeast is dead, with no leavening power, but leaves its nutritional content and other properties behind. These are inactive yeasts. Enter Nutritional Yeast. Nutritional Yeast, appropriately named, is specially grown for it’s nutritional value, made in a sugar cane or molasses mixture.
Just a ¼ cup of this powerhouse food provides many essential vitamins and minerals at amounts above the recommended daily values (RDV), therefore all that is recommended to meet your nutritional requirements is a teaspoon at each meal. Just a few of these include vitamin B, iron, selenium and zinc and provide cell damage repair, decrease iron deficiency, repair tissue, heal wounds, aid the immune system (we eat it when we feel a cold coming on), helps to lower cholesterol and with lactose intolerance. Should we even discuss what it does for digestion? It is also a complete protein, containing at least nine of the 18 amino acids that your body cannot produce. Mic drop.
See below to learn more about nutritional yeast, including other frequesntly asked questions and recipe ideas!
Basic Nutritional Information
*1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I find nutritional yeast?
Although it used to be that it was only found in natural health food stores, these days, nutritional yeast can be found in almost any grocery store, and often in the bulk bins. Look for a yellow, flaky food similar to the picture above.
Is nutritional yeast related to Candida – I’ve heard Candida is harmful?
No. Candida is a harmful yeast and robs your body of essential nutrients like iron and other minerals. It also keeps your body very acidic. This should not be confused with nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast is an entirely different strain of yeast – also known as Saccharomyces cerevisiae – and bears no relationship or connection to condida. In addition to being a different strain, it’s heated and therefore not an ‘active’ yeast.
I’ve heard nutritional yeast is used as a cheesy topping. Does it contain dairy?
No, nutritional yeast is completely dairy-free. It’s also free of wheat, nuts and corn.
What are some brands of nutritional yeast that I should try out?
Bragg’s and KAL are two highly recommended brands. We personally use KAL in our house.
Nutritional Yeast Recipes
1. Avocado Toast
Another favorite way to use nutritional yeast is in a tofu scramble for a cheesy, morning breakfast idea. What are some of your favorite ways to use nutritional yeast? Let us know in the comments!