What is nutritional yeast? And why do vegans seem to like it so much? If you've been wondering about this ingredient which seems to pop up everywhere in vegan cookbooks and vegetarian restaurants, read on to find out a definition and everything you need to know about nutritional yeast.
What Is Nutritional Yeast?
Yellow in color and with a nutty cheesy flavor, nutritional yeast is an inactive yeast that is a favorite amongst many vegans because of its unique flavor and similarity to cheese when added to foods (Bon Appetit even calls it "nature's Cheeto dust" - it's that cheesy and that good).
Sprinkle some on hot popcorn or garlic bread, or add a generous spoonful to a stir fry or pasta sauce. Nutritional yeast is also the only reliable food source of vitamin B12, so if you're vegan, it's a good idea to add some to your food regularly.
Where Can I Find Nutritional Yeast?
I've yet to ever see nutritional yeast at large chain grocery stores such as Kroger's, Albertson, Publix and the like. You'll have to go to Whole Foods or your local natural foods store.
Nutritional yeast can be found in the bulk foods or supplement section of just about all health food stores and co-ops, even the very small ones. You can look for either nutritional yeast flakes or powder (the taste is the same but the texture is slightly different and I don't personally have much of a preference either way), but be sure you don't get brewer's yeast by mistake, as its quite similar in appearance.
In Australia and New Zealand, nutritional yeast is also called "savory yeast" or "savory yeast flakes".
If you can't find nutritional yeast where you live, you may want to try shopping online for nutritional yeast.