Some say it tastes like cheese; some say it tastes nothing like cheese. But one thing is for sure, nutritional yeast is not a common type of ingredient that you can easily find in just any market. It is a very specific type of deactivated yeast sold in flakes or powder form.

You're probably not eating this yet

Unlike the active and dry yeasts used in bread recipe, you cannot easily find nutritional yeasts in just any supermarket or any online store. You’d have a better chance of finding this superfood at places that sell vegan food, because nutritional yeasts are a common choice for vegans and vegetarians.

In the vegan diet, nutritional yeast acts as an appetizing meat substitute that is rich in protein and Vitamin B12. It is also a better cheese option to control your blood pressure.

An ounce of Parmesan cheese, for example, contains 428 mg of Sodium. The same amount of nutritional yeast contains only 9 mg of Sodium. Basically, you can use nutritional yeast in the same way you would use Parmesan cheese.

Where do they come from?

This vegan food is totally dairy-free. We grow them on sugarcanes and molasses (another by-product of sugar), and then we harvest and dry the yeast in a pasteurization process that deactivates the yeast, and then we turn that product into flakes. They come in shades of yellow, orange, and brown.

Nutritional yeast flakes are rich in thiamine, selenium, zinc, folic acid, and niacin, and are often fortified with Vitamin B12

A growing list of recipe now already calls for the use of this rich and creamy nutritional yeast, including Kale chips, your fast food Fettuccini, Miso hummus, and the healthier mac and cheese. Maybe you have even seen it already in one of your favourite supermarkets or heard it being mentioned in a food vlog.

Discuss this news on Eunomia

For a better chance at finding this type of superfood, you need to check out your local health food stores.

Get to know your yeast

Nutritional yeast is powdery in form, or rather flakey, and is usually sold in a bulk. It is a form of deactivated Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which is also turned into Brewer's yeast, another type of dried yeast that looks kind of similar, but comes from beer-making.

Brewer’s yeast, also nutritious, pasteurized and sold in flakes, unsurprisingly tastes bitter, like beer. Both yeasts can be found in health stores, but nutritional yeast usually comes in bright yellow and orange, or light brown. Both brewer's yeast and nutritional yeast are sold as healthy dietary supplement.

However, if the only yeast you have ever seen in your life are the ones used to make bread, be sure to remember that even though they are both yeasts, they are not replaceable. Nutritional yeasts cannot raise your bread dough.