Nutritional yeast may not be a staple in your diet now but once you read the benefits adding it to foods, it just may become a new staple in your kitchen cupboard. Also known as savory yeast or nooch, nutritional yeast is an inactive yeast made from sugarcane and beet molasses. Not to be confused with brewer’s yeast which is a byproduct of beer making and very bitter, nutritional yeast is often used as a condiment due to its nutty, cheesy flavor. It may be found in flakes, granules, or a powder form. Nutritional yeast can’t replace a whole meal, but if you add it to your food a few times a week, it does provide vitamins, especially for vegans or vegetarians, who are concerned with getting enough B vitamins in their diet. Pregnant women, or women who may become pregnant, will also love the high B vitamin content. Some other awesome nutritional benefits of this yeast are that it boosts the immune system, promotes healthy skin and hair, and aids in digestion. Continue on to the ABC’s of how to cook with and eat this interesting yellow food product.
A. Seasoner - As mentioned above, nutritional yeast has a naturally savory, cheesy, and nutty flavor. It is also low in sodium for women with hypertension and anyone trying to reduce sodium in their diet. As you can imagine, it is pretty easy to use this as a condiment or seasoning for almost anything. Enhance plain non-GMO popcorn by sprinkling it on top for flavor and some added vitamin and energy benefits in the afternoon. Trying to eat more vegetables? Try adding a teaspoon to steamed broccoli as a healthy cheese alternative without the saturated fat. Mix with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and himalayan pink sea salt for the perfect topping.
B. Sauce – Who doesn't love cheese? Many have difficulty tolerating due to lactose intolerance, dairy intolerance, or it leads to other issues such as arthritis or acne. Of course, vegans do not consume dairy as well. Nutritional yeast can actually be used to create an awesome cheese sauce alternative packed with protein, B12, zinc, and fiber. This sauce can be used for dipping chips and raw vegetables or making macaroni and cheese. Creating cauliflower nutritional yeast sauce may require more than one try, but when perfected, it can be used to bring any bland dish to life. You will need 1 cup cooked white beans, ½ cup of coconut milk, ⅓ cup nutritional yeast, 2 teaspoons olive oil, and pink himalayan sea salt and garlic to taste. Blend all, except for yeast, in a blender. Transfer to a pot and add yeast. Stir on low heat until well combined, add more coconut milk for a thinner sauce.
C. Soup - Lastly, add 2 tablespoons (or more to taste) nutritional yeast to a hot soup to nourish yourself on cold winter days and fight the flu. Cabbage soup is yummy and very detoxifying for the body, especially the liver. Nutritional yeast can be added to this already nutrient dense soup to pack in even more vitamins. Even for women who take a multivitamin, the best way to be sure you are receiving the most bioavailable nutrients is to combine functional healthy foods. This zesty and delicious yeast will provide 8 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, and excellent dose of 6 B vitamins.
When shopping for nutritional yeast, be sure not to confuse it for Brewer’s yeast. There are many good brands on the market, however Bragg’s Nutritional Yeast has many positive reviews and is regarded by some as one of the best. Bragg’s makes other functional products like apple cider vinegar and coconut amino acid “soy sauce.” Be sure to note that this yeast is not the harmful type that causes inflammation and pain for women, but an otherwise healthy yeast.