A popular food product that is often used as a cheese substitute or flavour enhancer in vegan cooking, nutritional yeast has a savoury, umami flavour and is often described as having a cheesy or nutty taste.
Nutritional yeast – the flaky yellow seasoning available in small jars in supermarkets, is made from a species of yeast called Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which is typically grown on molasses before being harvested and dried with heat to deactivate it. The resulting product is what is sold in the form of small flakes or yellow powder, which is generally used in vegan cooking to add a cheesy flavour to food. Rich in essential nutrients, it is a popular choice for those looking to boost the nutritional content and taste of their meals. Considered to be a complete protein source, it contains all nine essential amino acids that the human body needs.
Nutritional yeast is also a good source of various B vitamins, including thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and pyridoxine. It also provides essential minerals like zinc, selenium and manganese, along with dietary fibre, which can aid in digestion. Cooking with nutritional yeast is easy and versatile, as it can be used to add a savoury-cheesy flavour to a wide range of dishes - similar to parmesan cheese. For example, one of the simplest ways to use nutritional yeast is to sprinkle nutritional yeast flakes over it while still hot.
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Nutritional yeast can be used to create a cheesy, vegan sauces for pasta, queso, added to macaroni and cheese, and even dips or spreads. Sprinkling nutritional yeast on top of roasted vegetables, baked potatoes, or even salads adds a savoury kick and a boost of nutrition to your food. Due to its strong flavour, starting with a small amount and adjusting to personal taste preferences is ideal. Look for nutritional yeast from well-known brands that specialize in health food products. It should contain only one ingredient – which is yeast; avoid products with additives, preservatives, or artificial flavours.
Nutritional yeast should be stored in a cool, dry, and dark place like a pantry cupboard. Avoid exposing it to heat, humidity or direct sunlight, as it can absorb odours from its surroundings. Nutritional yeast doesn't have an indefinite shelf life; but while it doesn't spoil easily, it can lose some of its flavour and nutrition over time. When properly stored, nutritional yeast can last for up to 2 years or more, depending on the packaging and storage.