Nutritional yeast sounds scary- what is it and why would I ever want to eat it? Yeast is in the Fungi Kingdom, and it’s what helps make beer, wine, and bread. There is a difference between yeast species though, and nutritional yeast is much different from brewer’s yeast or active dry yeast (baking yeast). Nutritional yeast is dried with heat to deactivate it, making it unable to produce carbon dioxide, and therefore erasing its leavening ability.
Nutritional yeast is low in fat, gluten-free, dairy-free, a source of protein, B vitamins, folic acid, selenium, zinc, and is sometimes fortified with vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 isn’t found in plant foods unless it’s added as a supplement, so nutritional yeast fortified with B12 is a positive addition to a vegetarian and vegan diet.
Nutritional yeast is typically described as nutty, cheesy, creamy, and umami. It’s often used by vegans in place of cheese and it can be found in local natural foods stores in bulk, online, or large grocery stores.
Vegan “Cheesy” Popcorn with Nutritional Yeast
Total Time: 5 minutes
• 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
• Kosher salt, to taste
• 2 quarts (8 cups) plain popped popcorn
Toss nutritional yeast and kosher salt on warm, freshly popped popcorn in a large bowl and serve.