Dried nutritional yeast flakes differ from active and beer yeasts because, after being grown commercially, the yeast is heat-treated to deactivate it, so it cannot ferment. Its special appeal is a relatively high flavour profile that is distinctly cheese-like and thus it can give a parmesan-style kick to vegan and vegetarian dishes.
Although containing the complete protein profile of meat, eggs, cheese and other milk products, it is eaten in such small amounts it should not be seen as a protein contributor of any importance to the diet.
Nutritional yeast is a very good source of B vitamins, except for B12, although this is often added to help combat deficiency in vegetarian and vegan diets. It also contains glutamates, but not monosodium glutamate (MSG).
Mainly sold in health food shops and online.
Choose the best
If you're vegetarian or vegan, choose a brand that is fortified with vitamin B12 to support your health.
No preparation is required. Sprinkle over soups, roast vegetables, salads or pasta, as you would parmesan.
In a cool, dry, dark place. Make sure it is well sealed – if stored correctly, it has a very long shelf-life.
Think of it like grated parmesan and use it accordingly, mainly to sprinkle over dishes for a savoury hit. But be careful not to overpower other flavours with it. Nutritional yeast can also be added as an ingredient during the cooking of vegetarian and vegan stews, or soups.