Nutritional yeast is a source of great mystery for most people. Isn’t yeast what makes bread rise? And beer ferment? Yes, but nutritional yeast is quite different. It’s non-active yeast that has been grown (usually on glucose or another simple sugar), deactivated by heat, then dried, pasteurized and eventually sold in your neighborhood health food store. You may see it commercially as flakes for a yellowish powder (looks like cornmeal). Some cook with it but it is also popular as a condiment.
Here are some benefits of nutritional yeast :
- It makes a great popcorn seasoning and is even offered by some movie theatres.
- If you grind it together with cashews and salt it makes a substitute for parmesan cheese that actually tastes better.
- It’s got “Umami” – a 5th category of taste that many people don’t know about (just like sweet, sour, saltiness and bitterness). It’s one of the few plant based Umami tasting foods outside of mushrooms, seaweed, soy sauce, ripe tomatoes and some fermented items.
- If you’re trying to cut down on salt, you can use nutritional yeast to cut the amount of salt you put on your food and have it taste just as good.
- It has fibre 4 grams of fibre per serving (unlike cheese which has 0). This can help people meet their 31.5g recommended fibre intake which most fall short on.