“What the heck is that?” That was my friend whenshe saw the jar of this stuff in my pantry the other day.
Nutritional yeast is made from a single-celled organism- Saccharomyces Cerevisiae. It is grown on molasses and harvested, washed, and dried with heat to deactivate it. Since it’s inactive, it doesn’t grow like baking yeast and doesn’t harm animals in any of it’s process.
It is an amazing source of vitamin B12, which is rare in most vegetarian foods. It also has folic acid, selenium, zinc and protein.
AND IT IS GLUTEN FREE AND VEGAN.
(So it does not contain whey which is an animal byproduct that other yeasts have sometimes.)
The difference between this yeast and others, is that for baking, it doesn’t have the leavening property “regular” yeast does since that yeast is “alive” but it also does not come from alcohol, beer or (ew gross) paper waste, the way brewers yeast or torula yeast does.
It is just nutritional, hence it’s name 🙂
It isn’t bitter or chalky tasting like other yeasts either. It actually kind of tastes like a nutty parmesan cheese to me. While I was pregnant and craved popcorn during movie nights with my husband, I’d sprinkle a little of the powder version, (it also comes in flakes), onto my coconut oil made popcorn for a ‘cheesy’ flavor. It was scrumptious plus I got in some vitamins! (yes you can eat it raw).
WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO WITH IT?
In honor of this week’s national gluten free baking week, you definitely can add this to baked savory dishes that you want to keep vegan, but give that cheesy flavor… like in spinach and artichoke pie, vegetable enchiladas, (try them with squash- yum!), vegan eggplant parmesan, or any casserole dish.
You can also add it to sweet baked goods for a slightly nutty flavor, but remember it won’t replace the active form of yeast in the recipe if it calls for it.
Other great places for it: stews, soups, (awesome in minestrone soup), homemade veggie burger patties, and for eggs- such as frittata, omelets and quiche.
This is precisely what I love about it- it’s an ingredient that you can have in your pantry that can go with SO much and you can keep discovering new places for it in your recipes on a daily basis:)
Try it out and let me know how you use it!