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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Nutritional Yeast

Tired of eating the same meals all the time? Looking for new ways to spice up boring dishes? If so, nutritional yeast is the answer for you! Not only does nutritional yeast add flavor to your food, it provides you with tons of essential nutrients (I know, the name gives it away).

What IS Nutritional Yeast?

Flakes- Mmmm mmm good!
So what exactly IS nutritional yeast? Nutritional yeast, or as we lovingly like to call it "flakes," is a yeast that is produced specifically for its nutritional value and is grown by culturing yeast with a mixture of beet molasses and sugarcane. After the yeast undergoes the fermentation process, it is harvested, washed, and dried. The result is a delicious substance that slightly resembles fish food, but don't let its flaky appearance fool you. Once you add flakes to your meals, you will never turn back! Mary Leciejewski, an Environmental Studies grad student and Ecohouse friend says, "Nutritional yeast is delicious and nutritious. I use it on everything. Honestly, I don't know how I lived without it!"

Nutritional Value

In addition to being naturally low in fat and salt, nutritional yeast is an excellent source of protein, dietary fiber, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. It is an especially good source of the B-complex vitamin, which is important in promoting healthy skin growth, increasing metabolism, immune and nervous system functions, as well as reducing the risk of pancreatic cancer. Two heaping tablespoons of flakes contains 8 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber at just 60 calories!

What Does it Taste Like?

Nutritional yeast has a strong cheesy or nutty flavor, which makes it popular as a cheese substitute among vegans and vegetarians. It can be paired with almost any dish, including stir fry, scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, pasta dishes, garlic bread, and so many more. My personal favorite use for flakes is as a popcorn topping. Some movie theaters offer nutritional yeast in addition to salt and butter, and once you try it you will understand why!

Fun Facts 

Nutritional yeast is referred to as "savoury yeast flakes" in Australia, while it is known as "brufax" in New Zealand. In the U.S., it is sometimes called "yeshi" which is Ethiopian and means "for a thousand." Prisoners of war have used "home-grown" yeast to prevent vitamin deficiency.

Where to Find Flakes

Nutritional yeast can be found in most natural foods stores. The Nature's Market section in Kroger also carries this tasty kitchen must-have. If shopping locally at the Athens Kroger, you can find flakes packaged in a pound container and a pint (quarter pound) container.

Try These Recipes!

Ok, so you bought some flakes but aren't sure how to incorporate them in your diet. Try one of these delicious recipes and you will be hooked!

For the best popcorn you've ever tasted:
  • Organic popcorn
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder (optional)
  1. Cover the bottom of a medium saucepan with a layer of extra virgin olive oil
  2. Turn the heat on the stove to medium-high and add a few kernels of popcorn 
  3. Cover with lid
  4. When the kernels have popped, the pan is hot enough to add the amount of popcorn you want.
  5. Wait for popcorn to pop and remove from heat so that it doesn't burn
  6. Pour popcorn in a bowl and sprinkle with a generous amount of nutritional yeast
  7. Add salt, pepper, and garlic powder if desired and enjoy!

Delicious Pasta and Greens

  • Pasta of your choice (We recommend vegan pasta from Crumbs Bakery in Athens)
  • Greens of your choice-broccoli, collards, kale, etc.
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Butter (to help yeast stick to pasta)
  1. Boil water and cook desired amount of pasta in a pot on the stove
  2. In a separate pan, melt two tablespoons of butter (or more depending on how much you are making) and add greens to cook on a medium heat
  3. Once the pasta and greens are cooked, combine them in one pan
  4. While it is warm, add a generous amount of nutritional yeast to the dish 
  5. Enjoy!
*Remember, you can never have too much nutritional yeast, so don't be afraid to use a lot. Well, at least that's our philosophy at the Ecohouse!


  1. I'm so glad you all created a blog for nutritional yeast. It's one of my favorite toppings! I put it on everything, from salad, to pasta, to pizza, to stir fry!! It has such a yummy flavor. Sometimes if I have made a home cooked meal that just doesn't taste as good as I thought it would, I add nutritional yeast and it's delicious!! Thanks for sharing the info on POWs and the names for the flakes in Australia and NZ!!

  2. Definitely going to have to try cooking with this at home! At the bakery, we used it when we made croutons and they were fabulous.

  3. also delicious in omelets!! :)