There is a new “super food” on the market and it is called nutritional yeast. While this doesn’t exactly sound appealing or delicious, the food is a nutritional powerhouse and is often added to vegan cooking to add flavour and texture.
So what is it exactly? For a start, nutritional yeast certainly doesn’t taste like traditional yeast. It is actually an inactive yeast which means that it is basically traditional yeast that is deactivated. This means that the active yeast is killed off by heat and then crumbled into flake or powdered form.
Nutritional yeast is choc full of B vitamins, folic acid, selenium, zinc and protein. In addition to that, it is low in fat, is gluten-free and contains no added sugars or preservatives. It is, in fact, the only reliable food source of vitamin B12, hence the reason why it is so popular among vegans.
The flavour can be described as cheesy, nutty or savoury. Foods it is commonly used in include pesto (I used it last week as a replacement for parmesan in a basil pesto that I made), as a flavour enhancer on freshly popped popcorn, in salad dressings, on pasta or mixed through mashed potato.
Try this delicious mashed cauliflower recipe with the addition of nutritional yeast and see if you can notice the flavour difference:
Mashed cauliflower with roasted garlic and chives
- 1 large cauliflower, chopped into florets
- 2 large cloves of roasted garlic
- 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of fresh chives, chopped
- Salt and pepper
Chop the head of the cauliflower into small florets.
Place the cauliflower into a large pot and fill it with just enough water to cover the florets.
Bring the water to boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Steam until tender, about 6 minutes.
Drain the cauliflower well. Place it in a large bowl and puree with potato masher or stick blender.
Mix in the remaining ingredients and season with salt and pepper to taste.