Food of the Month: Nutritional Yeast
Care of Amy Symington
No, nutritional yeast won’t make your bread rise or your home brew taste better, but its uses and nutritional benefits are absolutely nothing to sneeze at.
What is Nutritional Yeast? For those of you who haven’t been privy to the existence of what should be referred to as the veghead’s best friend, nutritional yeast is a derivative of yeast combined with a cocktail of sugarcane and beet molasses that has been fermented for a period of one week. After which, it is then harvested, washed, dried on roller drum dryers and packaged for sale. It is available in either flake or a powder form and can be located in most health and bulk food stores.
What does it taste like!? It has a strong nutty, and creamy flavour that makes it perfect for the concocting of cheese substitutes. The flakes or powder simply disintegrate into or amalgamate with whatever they are sprinkled on to, poured over or stirred into, enhancing any savoury snack or meal alike.
Besides taste, what’s in it for me? Nutritional yeast is good for you. It is a complete protein and is a very good source of dietary fibre as well as the complex B vitamins; vitamins everyone needs to be wary of consuming adequate amounts of. However, make sure to read the nutritional labels first to ensure that the nutritional yeast you’re purchasing does in fact contain B12, as some do not.
What the goodness gracious do I do with it? It is often used in place of the not so nutritious parmesan cheese, atop of pastas, soups or salads. In addition to Italian night, nutritional yeast also frequents movie night as well as a delightful popcorn topper. In addition to the tried and true uses for this savoury flavour enhancer, it is also great in some more adventurous-type fare as well. Try it in pâté, creamy nut sauces, mushroom gravies, tofu scrambles, or dressings. Use it as a topper for steamed broccoli or baked potatoes. Mix it in chowders, add it to savory scones, or toss it in a spicy bean burrito! Caliente!