Wednesday, February 9, 2011

nutritional yeast polemics (and recipe)

  i discovered nutritional yeast for the first time about 10 years ago, as a budding vegan.  my initial experience with it was unimpressive, mainly b/c it was intended as a complete cheese substitute, in a sauce.  expecting cheese, i was disappointed.
  however, i have since transformed my ways and become crazy for nutritional yeast. but it's important to know that nutritional yeast, while comparable, is not a cheese-replacement.  it has it's own wonderful irreplaceable flavor, that stands alone. 
  nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast, unlike the yeast used for beer fermentation. it's grown in a medium of beet molasses and sugar cane. we prefer the unfortified version, because it's got lots of iron and B vitamins (both of which we don't get too much of). Nutritional yeast has magnesium, manganese, copper and protein. it's an superb source of thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, folate, zinc, dietary fiber, and all those vitamin B's.  
  to be a little more specific:

"Two tablespoons of fortified nutritional yeast flakes, the serving size on the nutrition facts label, contain 60 calories, 5g carbs, 4g fiber and 9g protein plus beta-1,3 glucan, a type of fiber that may aid the immune system and help to lower cholesterol. Additionally, nutritional yeast is a good source of selenium and potassium. Fortified nutritional yeast has significantly less iron than the unfortified kind, five percent versus 20 percent respectively. The B-vitamin content in the fortified form ranges from 150 percent for B12 to 720 percent for riboflavin."  praise for nutritional yeast
    and check out this

 i eat meat/fish rarely, so there is basically no meal that i don't sprinkle nutritional yeast on (see below for an exception) for health and savory purposes.  one of my favorites to dash some nutritional yeast onto is a freshly made veg-heavy stir fry.  but i'm branching out, trying new recipes.  so here's a 'mac n' cheese' i created that was very popular in our house. 

the below recipe is vegan, but easily un-veganised by replacing whole for soy milk, and butter for margarine. 
  to make it you need:
1 pound of your favorite pasta, cooked. 
1 c nutritional yeast
5/8 c margarine
1/2 c (spelt) flour (add more for a thicker sauce)
the sauce
2 3/4 c soy or hemp milk
1 tbs garlic powder or 2 cloves chopped
1 tbs salt
2 tsp tumeric
2-3 tbs mustard
pepper to taste

melt margarine in saucepan  and add chopped garlic, add flour stirring rapidly.  continue stirring while adding the soy milk, (garlic powder) and salt.  let it cook to a rolling boil and become thick, while stirring frequently.  add the nutritional yeast and mustard, and remove it from the heat, stirring.  pour it over your pasta and mix. add some chives or hot sauce and enjoy!


  1. i tried it. the mustard was a fine addition. here's a grilled 'cheese' i make.
    1/3 cup water
    4 teaspoons nutritional yeast (available at most health food stores)
    1 tablespoon oat flour
    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    1 tablespoon tahini
    2 teaspoons tomato paste or ketchup
    1 teaspoon cornstarch
    1/2 teaspoon onion granules
    1/8 teaspoon each garlic granules, turmeric, dry mustard, and salt
    makes 2 sandwiches.

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