Nutritional yeast is inert, deactivated yeast in flakes or powder. It is a popular vegan condiment. Nutritional yeast has a strong flavor that some people describe as nutty, cheesy, or creamy, so it is popular cheese substitutes. I use it in dairy-free recipes in place of cheese.
Nutritional yeast is produced from a single-celled organism, Saccharomyces Cerevisiae, which is grown, harvested, washed, and dried with heat to deactivate it. Nutritional yeast is an excellent source of protein and vitamins, especially B-complex vitamins, and it is a complete protein. It is also free of sugar, dairy, and gluten. It is actually a fungus, like mushrooms, and not an animal product so it is completely vegan. Some people call it “nooch”. In Australia it is sometimes called “savoury yeast flakes.” In New Zealand, it is known as “Brufax”. Nutritional yeast is not alive and does not have anything to do with brewer’s yeast, torula yeast, bakers’ yeast, or candida.
Nutritional yeast is inert, candida-safe, and free of processed free glutamic acid. It is not related to MSG, which is very toxic, made from GMO bacteria. While there is great debate and much misinformation about it, I have not found any clear evidence that nutritional yeast is unhealthy. Dr. Russell Blaylock hasn’t returned any of my emails to-date. Please advise if you have more insight.
Where to Buy Nutritional Yeast
Buy it in the bulk aisle of any good whole food market or in the condiments section. Bragg’s is a good brand. You can also find it online at Frontier Coop, or buy the Frontier brand for less through Amazon. The only brand I avoid is Red Star.
How to use Nutritional Yeast
I use it to enhance natural flavors and add richness, especially to vegan dishes. Sprinkle it in sauces, on salads, or popcorn. It’s delicious in vegan cheesy recipes, gravies and baked goods. It has a rich nutty and slightly buttery flavor. If you don’t have nutritional yeast, you can omit it in most recipes and it will be fine. However it is especially helpful in vegan cheesy dishes. I think you’ll love the flavor. It is salty, so if you use a lot of it, consider reducing the salt. I prefer powdered nutritional yeast rather than flakes, because it dissolves quicker. Or you can grind the flakes in a hand grinder.
Do Not Buy Brewer’s Yeast or Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein.
Brewer’s Yeast is a different type of yeast used in making beer, and tastes terrible. HVP is toxic, and it’s not related to nutritional yeast.