If you haven’t heard of nutritional yeast before, then please don’t dismiss it yet. It’s got an odd name and looks pretty similar to fish food flakes, which I’ll admit can be slightly off putting. But let me try and persuade you how this weird little condiment is actually one of my favourite nutrition larder staples, and should be one of yours too.
First off, nutritional yeast tastes like cheese.
For real. It’s a nutrient rich deactivated yeast that tastes like nutty umami savoury cheese. I know I’ve said that twice, but I just want it to sink in a little! It makes an ideal healthy substitute for real cheese especially in the winter when we crave comforting fatty foods more than we would in the warm summer months.
It is also naturally free from sugar, salt, gluten, dairy and fat, low in calories and suitable for vegans. I think we’re on to a good thing here.
Not to be confused with yeast extract, or bread yeast, nutritional yeast is the deactivated form of the microorganism Saccharomyces cerevisiae. A member of the fungi family, nutritional yeast has an audacious self-grown nutrient profile. Especially rich in fibre and protein, it contains iron, b-complex vitamins, selenium and potassium amongst others, making it a pretty amazing staple to have knocking around in your cupboard. You can almost appreciate it just as much for what it doesn’t contain, ideal for those of us suffering from dietary restrictions, or just looking for a healthier substitute to cheese itself. I use nutritional yeast a lot; it’s just such an easy way to incorporate extra nutrition and a cheesy flavour into simple dishes without the heavy ‘oofph’ feeling of the real thing. I blend it into sauces and dressings, sprinkle it onto salads, make cheesy scrambled eggs and cheese-dust popcorn, all totally delicious. While in the past nutritional yeast has predominantly been associated with a plant-based lifestyle, it’s something I think everyone can enjoy, try giving it a whirl and see if you like it. I’d love to know what you think!