What is nutritional yeast?

It’s a favourite ingredient among plant-based foodies but how much do you know about nutritional yeast? Kate ‘Peach’ gives us the lowdown.

Nutritional Yeast
Nutritional Yeast

Plant-based foodies often use nutritional yeast to add a cheesy, umami flavour. It’s aptly named as it is a powerhouse of nutrients! It is an inactive form of the yeast strain Saccharomyces cerevisiae and is often called ‘nooch’.

The ‘cheesy flakes’ we use in our Veggie & Plant-Based Bags are, in fact, nutritional yeast flakes! The ones we use are fortified with B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12), folic acid, and iron. It is also a complete protein, so it’s a great addition to a veggie or plant-based lifestyle.

Nutritional yeast is a great plant-based source of vitamin B12 if fortified (fortification means to add beneficial nutrients to foods). We need vitamin B12 to help make new cells, as well as to keep our blood and nerve cells healthy and keep us energised. Animal-based products such as eggs, fish, dairy products and meat naturally contain this essential vitamin. This means nutritional yeast is one of the few sources of vitamin B12 in a vegan or veggie diet!

Our favourite way to use nutritional yeast flakes is to stir through freshly popped popcorn with a little sea salt! Other great ways to use it are to sprinkle over a tray of roasted veggies, add to scrambled eggs with a little chilli, shake over avo on toast or crackers, add to pasta to make it more cheesy or add into fritters – like our Corn Fritters with Tzatziki.

*Info from NZ Nutrition Foundation, Harvard Health Medical School & Huntington College of Health Sciences

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