Why Nutritional Yeast Belongs on Your Grocery List

Don’t let its name or appearance put you off: Nutritional yeast has a place in your healthy eating plan. This food seasoning not only has health benefits—it also tastes great. Here’s what you need to know about this savory addition to your pantry.

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What Is Nutritional Yeast?

Nutritional yeast is grown on various food sources, such as sugar beet molasses or sugar cane.

It’s derived from the same yeast used in baked goods, but it’s deactivated and dried via pasteurization. The drying process breaks it down into the familiar small flakes you see on the shelves, and it’s available in powder form as well.

As for nutrition, it lives up to its name. A complete protein, nutritional yeast is a great source of B vitamins and has the following percentages of daily values in just a single tablespoon:

  • 180 percent of thiamine (B1)

  • 160 percent of riboflavin (B2)

  • 140 percent of pyridoxine (B6)

  • 70 percent of niacin (B3)

  • 40 percent of folic acid

  • 40 percent of B12

Each tablespoon also has a gram of fiber and three grams of protein, and just 20 calories. Some brands are fortified with additional nutrition from selenium and zinc.

As if it’s nutritional content weren’t reason enough to give it a try, there’s one more good reason to use nutritional yeast: According to Time magazine, nutritional yeast is “planet-friendly” and “a more sustainable and ethical source of protein than meat.”

For those with special diets, what’s not in nutritional yeast is as important as what’s in it: It’s free of wheat, dairy, eggs, corn, and nuts. Be sure to check the label of any nutritional yeast brand before purchasing, however, as all brands are not exactly the same or have the same standards for manufacturing. They may also vary somewhat in daily values of nutrients.

As with everything we offer at Native Sun, the nutritional yeast we carry is vetted to ensure it meets our high standards. The Red Star brand of nutritional yeast on our shelves is:

  • Non-GMO

  • Non-solvent extracted

  • Not synthetically produced

  • Non-irradiated

  • Free of artificial colors and flavors

The nutritional yeast we carry is also produced without sewer sludge, petrochemical substrate, or sulfite waste liquor. Sulfite waste liquor, also known as spent pulping liquor, is a byproduct of wood pulp made by the sulfite process; some nutritional yeast products are obtained from sulfite waste liquor.

How To Use Nutritional Yeast

The flavor profile of nutritional yeast has been described as “savory,” “nutty,” and even “cheesy.” Many people, in fact, use nutritional yeast as a substitute for cheese in dishes such as vegan mac and cheese and on popcorn. Bon Appetit magazine suggests using it as you would a grated cheese, sprinkling it over “anything from salads and roasted veggies to pasta and rice for a subtle, savory flavor boost.” For more than a dozen recipes that use nutritional yeast, go to our recipes page and enter “nutritional yeast” in the search box.

Nutritional yeast should be stored in the refrigerator or a cool, dark place and can be kept for up to two years.

Questions? Ask Our Nutrition Department Associates

If you’d like to learn more about nutritional yeast and how to fit it into your diet, our friendly nutrition department associates are happy to answer your questions and help you find nutritional yeast on our shelves.

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. Consult with a qualified healthcare provider for the diagnosis or treatment of a health problem or disease.
Dan Nehring