St. Mark's Hospital - July 08, 2019

You may not realize it, but yeast can be used for more than baking bread and brewing beer. Nutritional yeast is a healthy flavoring that has migrated from health food stores to the aisles of regular supermarkets.

Unlike active yeast that makes food rise or promotes fermentation, nutritional yeast is an inactive yeast made from sugarcane and beet molasses. Available as small thin flakes or a yellow powder, nutritional yeast has a cheesy, nutty flavor. Fans say its umami flavor is similar to Parmesan cheese.

In addition to tasting great, nutritional yeast is healthy. A complete source of protein, you get a whopping 9 grams of protein from just two tablespoons. It’s also naturally low in calories and high in fiber. Some varieties come fortified with B vitamins, which are good for the brain and promote healthy skin, hair and nails. And to top it all off, nutritional yeast contains no gluten, soy or dairy, making it a favorite among vegans.

So, how should you use it? Consider sprinkling it atop foods you like with Parmesan cheese, such as pizza, pop-corn, pasta, salads or eggs. Or try stirring the flakes or powder into soup, chili or gravy to help thicken it and add another layer of flavor.