Kim is a holistic health coach and a toxic-free lifestyle consultant. She obtained her studies from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.
What is Nutritional Yeast?
If I told you there is an ingredient that has all of the essential amino acids, also called a "complete protein," would you be in shock? Or excited?!
Let me introduce you to one of the best source of protein you can eat, nutritional yeast.
Nutritional yeast is an important staple in a vegan or vegetarian dieter's pantry. I am not a strict vegetarian, however I do try to eat mostly plant- based meals. I'm also an athlete, so it's important that I consume an adequate amount of protein for muscle recovery and vitamin B12 for natural energy.
I'm not talking about just any protein, but a complete protein with all 18 essential amino acids that our body needs. Let's go in further detail how nutritional yeast is cultured and how it's nutritional value can support your healthy lifestyle.
Where Can You Buy Nutritional Yeast Flakes?
Nutritional yeast are currently only sold in health food stores, such as Whole Foods, or on Amazon.
Nutritional yeast is a good source of protein and vitamin B12!
Benefits of Nutritional Yeast : Complete Protein for Vegan and Vegetarian Diets
Nutritional yeast is made from a single-celled organism, Saccharomyces Cerevisiae, which is mixed with beet molasses and sugar cane. You can expect to find nutritional yeast in the form of dried flakes or powder.
Since it's inactive, it is not similar to the type of yeast that you bake with, so don't expect it to become frothy or grow. Do not get it mixed up with Brewer's Yeast, which is a by-product of the beer making process that has a different taste and nutritional value.
Nutritional Value of Nutritional Yeast:
- 18 essential amino acids
- Vitamin B12, vitamin B6
- Chromium, Magnesium, Copper, and Manganese
- Folic acid, thiamine, riboflavin, niacine, zinc, pantothenic acid
- Essential fatty acids
- Low amount of sodium and fat, and ZERO cholesterol
- Low glycemic index of 1
Anyone can benefit from eating nutritional yeast, but it's particularly useful if you are:
- Vegetarian- Since it contains all 18 essential amino acids, you will not be protein deficient. you don't have to rely on tofu or other foods all the time.
- Vegan- In addition to the complete protein found in nutritional yeast, it is also high in Vitamin B12. This vitamin is found in foods such as animal products, poultry, eggs, milk. It is not found in plant foods, therefore vegans can obtain their vitamin B12 requirements by taking nutritional yeast supplement. If you are deficient in this vitamin, it can affect red blood cell foramttion and nurological function.
- Diabetic- Chromium is a trace mineral that helps the body regulate blood sugar level. According to University of Maryland, low chromium levels can increase blood sugar, triglycerides (a type of fat in the blood), cholesterol levels, and increase the risk for a number of conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease.
How to Eat Nutritional Yeast Flakes
There are so many ways that you can incorporate nutritional yeast into your healthy meals. My favorite way to eat it is in the form of a simple, but delicious salad dressing. Kale chips is another super food snack that is popular with Raw Food enthusiasts. The two recipes are provided below!
I've been eating nutritional yeast for so long that I sometimes forget how odd-sounding this ingredient is for some people. It may look strange, and sound even weirder, but is surprisingly delicious. Do not confuse it with Brewer's Yeast, which contains the same nutrients with a more bitter taste.
Nutritional yeast has a nutty, buttery and cheesy flavor that adds that special tang to snacks. When added to a liquid base, it becomes a salty, creamy texture. That's why so many vegan and vegetarians substitute nutritional yeast for many of their dishes!
Ways nutritional yeast can be used:
- Popcorn tastes best when sprinkled with nutritional yeast flakes, according to those who swear by the succulence of these delicious yeast flakes. It is definitely a more healthy substitution to butter and salt!
- When you roast vegetables, sprinkle them with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Add them to salad dressings.
- It can also be substituted for cheese in salads and baked potato.
- Coat tofu with nutritional yeast and fry or sauté it in a healthy oil.
- Add it in soup or pasta for a creamier consistency.
- Note: When preparing any food where you are going to use this yeast, add it at the end, so that the vitamins are not broken down from the food.
Nutritional Yeast Recipes
Some of my favorite recipes using nutritional yeast are quick and easy to make!
1. Salad Dressing:
This salad dressing is similar to a basic vinaigrette, with an added health punch from all the vitamins and protein in the nutritional yeast. I like how it creates a slightly thicker and creamier texture. I use this dressing on all of my daily salads. Just combine the following ingredients in a jar, shake vigorously, and pour over your favorite greens!
- 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 tablespoons of lemon juice (organic is best)
- 2 tablespoon of olive oil
- 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of pure maple syrup (or honey)
- Pinch of salt and pepper
Nutritional yeast adds that "cheesy" flavor to kale chips!
2. Cheesy Kale Chips
If you've tried the cheesy kale chips at Whole Foods before, you know what I'm talking about. They are crunchy, cheesy, and one of the most additively healthy snacks that you can eat. The only dilemma is, they're quite expensive! Why not make your own kale chips with nutritional yeast flakes? It's so easy to make!
- Bunch of kale (green dinosaur kale)
- 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup to sweeten (optional, I usually leave it out)
- Pinch of sea salt and pepper
Remove stems off of kale. Wash and let the kale dry off. Tear off the kale in pieces and lay it on a baking pan. Combine and whisk the ingredients in a bowl. The more you put, the better they taste! Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. or until the leaves curls up.
For more healthy recipes visit my website at LettuceBeHealthy! See ya there! :-)
Kim Lam (author) from California on December 04, 2013:
Yeah they do taste cheesy! I eat it almost every day.:-) Thanks for stopping by!
Emelia on December 04, 2013:
Just bought some today at Whole Foods. So delicious. I may have to buy more for recipes. Tastes like the topping on Cheetos! (a little less salty)
Kim Lam (author) from California on December 04, 2012:
Thank you Sarah, it's quite delicious!
sarahshuihan on December 04, 2012:
yum! I never thought to put nutritional yeast in salad dressing! It's true what they say, you do learn something new every day.
indiaink on August 05, 2012:
I just wanted to let others know nutritional yeast doesn't contain B12 unless the manufacturer adds it so you'll need to check the label if that's a consideration.
And, if you're in Canada, and have access to one, try the health food section of Real Canadian Superstore they carry nutritional yeast in flake form, I'm just not sure how good it is since I'm a fan of another type of nutritional yeast (Engivita).
Kim Lam (author) from California on May 31, 2012:
Prasetio - good to hear from you again my friend. Try it someday! :-)
prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on May 29, 2012:
I had never know about nutritional yeast benefits. So, I learn something new here. I also enjoy your recipes. It sound great and delicious. Good job, my friend. Voted up (useful, awesome, interesting). Cheers :-)
Best wishes, Prasetio
Kim Lam (author) from California on May 09, 2012:
I've only used two brands that I trust, Whole Foods and KAL. People have mentioned Red Star as a good brand, but they are more expensive. As far as being organic, you probably don't need to worry about that since the process does not involve adding any GMO or animal derivatives. This is KAL brand's claim: "Does Not Contain: Candida albicans, added wheat, corn, milk, egg, soy, glutens, sucrose, animal derivatives, artificial colors, starch or preservatives, non-GMO."
I hope you can find some at your local health food shop. If not, there are many online websites, including Amazon that carry them. Hope your athletic daughters like them! ;-)Thanks for tweeting!
Yvonne Spence from UK on May 09, 2012:
This is really interesting. I had no idea such a food existed. I am vegetarian and so are my two daughters and they are also sporty.
I will need to check with my local health food shop. Do you know if it’s possible to buy an organic variety? Thanks for this hub. Voted up and tweeted.
Kim Lam (author) from California on May 06, 2012:
Thanks Georgie, vellur, and kitty- I hope you enjoy the taste as much as the health benefits.
Ann Leung from San Jose, California on May 06, 2012:
Thank you for sharing this hub. I just learned something new from you. Very interesting.
Nithya Venkat from Dubai on May 06, 2012:
I have never had nutritional yeast before - not even heard of it. After reading your hub , I am going to try it.Voted up.
Georgie Lowery from North Florida on May 06, 2012:
I've never heard of nutritional yeast... or kale chips before. They're both on my shopping list now, though!
Kim Lam (author) from California on May 06, 2012:
Thanks Crystal, it tastes pretty darn good for a healthy food!
Kenny-thanks for the vote!
Crystal Tatum from Georgia on May 06, 2012:
Nutritional yeast is yummy, especially on tofu! Good hub.
kennynext from Everywhere on May 06, 2012:
Awesome way to stay healthy. vote up