What the heck is nutritional yeast? Food writer and holistic health counselor Melissa Beveridge explains—and declares her love for this flaky vegan staple.
My professions as holistic health counselor and food writer keep me current on the various diets, cuisines, fads, and cultural ingredients. One of my favorite local restaurants, From Seed To Sprout in Avon-by-the Sea, NJ, serves vegan cuisine. When I bring my non-vegan friends there, they don’t realize it’s vegan until I tell them. They love it—and are usually shocked at how good the food is, because they think vegan food is “blah.” I’m here to change that thought and show people that vegan food is delicious.
Nutritional yeast also contains 9 grams of protein (that’s more than one egg’s worth!) and 4 grams of fiber. Optimal gut health requires that you have enough fiber in your system to keep your digestive track, well, on track. Fiber also regulates your blood sugar.
If that’s not enough, nutritional yeast is also a great source of folic acid. Whether you’re pregnant (or planning to be), or just trying to eat healthfully, your body needs folic acid, which prevents major birth defects and plays a critical role in cell maintenance and production. Oh, and did I mention this nutritional powerhouse is also gluten free? What’s not to love?
If you haven’t yet added nutritional yeast to your diet, try it out in your next recipe—vegan or not! If I’ve intrigued you, there are some great recipes to try in The Vegan Cheat Sheet, including Alfredo Sauce (recipe below), Eggplant “Parmesan,” and Mushroom Risotto, which all feature nutritional yeast.
Learn more about Melissa, her passion for food, and how she rubbed elbows with Martha Stewart by visiting MBEEWELL.
¾ cup water
3–4 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon salt
Black pepper, to taste
¼ cup to 1 cup water
- In a blender or food processor, purée cashews and water until smooth
- In a heavy dry pan, cook garlic over low heat for 3 minutes. Add cashew cream, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, and ¼ cup water.
- Heat thoroughly, adding more water if sauce is too thick. Toss with pasta of choice and serve immediately.