Nutritional yeast is an often overlooked superfood and is basically the holy grail for anyone who is lactose intolerant, vegan/vegetarian or gluten-free. Healthy hair, nails and glowing skin require protein and B-12 to be strong and look their best. It can be hard to get enough of these nutrients if you have dietary restrictions.
Nutritional yeast is naturally free of dairy, soy, gluten, sugar, and contains no animal by-products and is positively rich with protein and vitamin B-12. Simply put, this is a superfood for everyone!
What is nutritional yeast?
You may be wondering what exactly nutritional yeast is made from that makes it such a great super food. It’s made from a single celled organism of fungi called Saccharomyces Cerevisiae. In a controlled environment it is cultured and grown on molasses and then deactivated, harvested, washed and dried. [source]
Protein benefits of nutritional yeast
For anyone who strongly believes that you can only get adequate protein from meat sources, nutritional yeast tells you otherwise.
2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast offers the same amount of protein as a cup of milk or one ounce of beef.
Wow! It contains all 18 amino acids, including the 9 essential ones that your body cannot make on its own. Nutritional yeast is also chock full of minerals such as iron, zinc, and selenium. [source]
Whether you’re hard-core vegan, vegetarian or you simply participate in Meatless Mondays, sprinkling on a bit of nutritional yeast to your food will help you receive an adequate amount of protein for the day.
Since nutritional yeast does not need to be refrigerated, just stored in a cool dry place, it’s something you can take with you on the go too.
Adding nutritional yeast into your diet
Nutritional yeast has a light flavor that’s a bit “cheesy”, making it a great topping for many dishes. You can sprinkle it on top of cooked vegetables or pasta.
One of my favorite ways to use nutritional yeast is by mixing it into popcorn. I affectionally call it “Popcorn Crack” because it’s so addictive! Below you’ll find my go-to, crowd-pleasing popcorn recipe that will have everyone licking their fingers and asking for more.
Note that I specifically use both sea salt and ghee for boosting the health benefits of this snack.
Sea salt is alkalizing, helping prevent and reverse high levels of acids in the body.
Ghee is virtually lactose-free, containing skin repairing and defending vitamins.[Read What Makes Ghee Better Than Butter And Why You Should Switch]
You can adjust the portions according to your personal taste. Please note that this reflects my preference for a super cheesy and super buttery popcorn. I think it’s also important to buy non-gmo, organic popcorn kernels. For this recipe I used Arrowhead Mills popcorn and Organic India Ghee.
Popcorn topped with nutritional yeast
1/2 cup of popcorn kernels
1 tbsp of ghee for cooking
3 tbsp of ghee warmed to liquid state for topping
1 1/2 tbsp of nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp of sea salt
1: Heat the oil in a medium size pot over high heat, adding in your 1/2 cup of kernels, until they are all coated in the ghee
2: Cover the pot and shake every 20 seconds until you hear the kernels begin to pop
3: Once all the kernels are popped, pour into your favorite popcorn bowl, drizzle on liquified ghee, sprinkle with salt and nutritional yeast, toss and enjoy! Yields approximately 10 cups of popcorn.
What’s your favorite way to use nutritional yeast? Share with us below in the comments!
Research assistant: Catherine Sabatino