As a mom, I’m always looking out for our family – naturally. Incorporating love, joy, and good health are some of the basics I try and focus on. When I meal plan, I aim to incorporate as much variety and nutritional value as possible, while also being mindful of the bottom line. It can be daunting at times, so anytime I can make simple additions to gain extra nutrients with ease, I’m in with both feet! A simple staple I keep on hand for just this purpose is nutritional yeast.
Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast that is most often produced using beet molasses or sugarcane. It is a naturally gluten-free and vegan/dairy-free food product that is available as a powder or as flakes. With a somewhat nutty, yet relatively cheesy flavor it is a wonderful cooking ingredient and condiment. It provides a great nutritional boost when consumed as it contains a host of minerals and B vitamins – thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B6, and B12 – along with folic acid, and zinc. It’s also high in protein and fiber both.* Children love the taste; moms love the added nutrition!
Lately, I’ve been making a lot of quick pasta dishes using the fresh tomatoes and basil that are in season right now. Once noodles are done cooking and drained, I usually toss them in olive oil to keep them from sticking and clumping too much. It’s at this stage when I’ll add a few shakes of powdered nutritional yeast so the flavor gets blended throughout (Tip: add a little at a time to prevent clumps). Then, I’ll toss the noodles with the remainder of my ingredients. Simple step to add, a little extra flavor and a little extra nutrition!
When you’re ready to give this ingredient a try, you can most often find nutritional yeast in your local health food store or natural foods market in either the bulk food bins or with seasonings. It can be used in numerous ways, but 8 ideas to get you started are:
- Sprinkle it on popcorn
- Add to or sprinkle it on scrambled eggs
- Sprinkle it on spaghetti or pasta dishes, like the sample above (or think of it like Parmesan cheese)
- Add it or sprinkle it on top of any soup or stew
- Sprinkle it on steamed veggies such as broccoli or cauliflower
- Add it to mashed potatoes for a boost of flavor
- Sprinkle it on veggie chips, such as kale chips, or sweet potato chips
- Blend into a nut milk, such as cashew, along with garlic powder, onion powder, and a bit of salt, then simmer to thicken for a tasty dairy-free white sauce to serve over pasta
Is nutritional yeast already a staple in your kitchen? What’s your favorite way to consume it?
*Exact nutritional profiles vary by brand