Nutritional Yeast

September 7, 2009

Yesterday, on Day Six of the Vegan Challenge, I ate:

– 1 slice homemade bread with 1 tsp almond butter and 1 small slice blueberry breakfast polenta with maple syrup

– 1/2 cantaloupe filled with a few big spoonfuls of granola, 1/2 pluot, and 1/2 banana, plus the other 1/2 banana with a smear of almond butter and topped with more granola on the side


– A nibble of brown sugar (this was from a grocery shopping expedition in Chinatown- we felt it was necessary to munch on solid sugar after wandering through the streets)

– 2 barbecued tofurky franks with 2 slices homemade bread and smeared with homemade ketchup, along with raw white mushrooms, broccoli, grape tomatoes, and baby carrots, as well as 1/2 Alexander Keith’s

– 1/2 pluot and 2 figs dipped in almond butter (I seriously cannot get enough of this dried fruit with nut butter snack! Perfect for sugar cravings)


This is what happened the first time I tried to make granola:

P9060995Oh dear.

I made it using a recipe from The Blogger Cookbook. When the first batch failed (the above is a picture after it was in the oven for only 18 minutes, and the recipe calls for it to be in there for 45 minutes. Goodness.), I decided to make some fun modifications to the original recipe of maple syrup/oil/water/oats. My creation is crunchy and chewy, with brown rice syrup and wheat germ added in. It’s so delicious and I am usually not a fan of granola, so I’m really happy with it. I promise to post the recipe within the next couple weeks (just have to leave you all in suspense for a little while ;)).

Nutritional Yeast Part Two

On Saturday I made more bread and calzones, and this time I put several spoonfuls of nutritional yeast “cheese” sauce inside the calzones before baking them. It’s really good that way when the sauce is all mixed in with the vegetables and tomato sauce. Nutritional yeast is growing on me (taste-wise, obviously; not literally. That would be concerning. And uncomfortable).

In the comments a couple days ago when I last posted about nutritional yeast, Gina asked me what exactly nutritional yeast is. Then yesterday Diane and Mia also were asking about nutritional yeast. So here’s the breakdown:

Nutritional yeast is a yellow flaky (sometimes powdery) substance that can be added to just about anything. It is a form of inactive yeast. It’s also called savoury yeast but it is not the same as brewer’s yeast. Nutritional yeast is all-natural, vegan, and it contains plenty of B vitamins including vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is only found naturally in animal products so the fact that this food is fortified with vitamin B12 is great; its a way for vegans to get that nutrient in their diet without needing to take supplements.

Nutritional yeast contains folic acid and a number of other important micronutrients. I believe that one tbsp of nutritional yeast includes your entire day’s worth of vitamin B12. One tbsp is 16 calories, contains 0.2g fat, 2g carbohydrate, 1g fibre, and 2g protein.

It is also a complete protein, so it contains all the essential amino acids. The reason why people often eat beans and rice in combination is because these foods, while very healthy, are not complete proteins. They don’t provide all the necessary nutrients on their own. So, we eat a few different kinds of food and together they equal complete proteins. The reason why this is so important for vegans is that although animal products are complete proteins, there are very few plant-based foods which are complete proteins. For that reason, nutritional yeast is special (quinoa is another plant-based complete protein. That’s part of the reason why there’s so much hype surrounding it).

I bought my 250g package of nutritional yeast at a health food store, VitaHealth, for $8. It keeps for about two years and a little bit of it goes a long way, so it’s worth buying. You can use it in just about anything: sprinkled on top of popcorn or bread, added to soups or made into sauces and dressings. It can be eaten raw or cooked.

If anyone else has more information on nutritional yeast and the health benefits of it, please chime in!

Edited to add: Read more about nutritional yeast at A Life Less Sweet.


  1. Thanks so much for your detailed answer!! This sounds like a great product, and one that I will recommend to any vegetarian and/or vegan clients I have. Thanks so much.

  2. I actually like nutritional yeast. I use it a lot when I cook vegetables and soups. I think that it adds a tasty depth of flavor to soups and vegetable broths. And it’s pretty tasty on popcorn too.

    (And if you’re interested, I have an old post on nutritional yeast: http://alifelesssweet.blogspot.com/2008/11/nutritional-yeast.html)

  3. Thank you so much for the information on nutritional yeast. It sounds like it would be a really healthy addition to my kid’s diets as well. I’m going to look for it next time I’m in a bigger city!

  4. I actually had also been wondering about nutritional yeast since it gets so much talk on vegan blogs. Sounds like a wonderful thing :). I also wanted to commend you on your vegan challenge. It looks like you’re following it amazingly and enjoying yourself along the way. I do hope you’ll do a recap about if there were ay differences in the way you felt mentally and/or physically. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

  5. I only started using nutritional yeast a few months ago and it has definitely added another dimension to my cooking. Love it!

  6. Hey Sagan! I’ve been away for a while, so I’m just catching up with your older posts. You know, I’ve always wanted to go on a vegan challenge. Not necessarily because I believe in the philosophy, but because I would like to feel what it’s like and what changes it brings to your body. Good luck! I does looks like you’re eating yummy meals!

  7. I love that you are enjoying your vegan adventure! That bowl of fruit looks delicious and the blueberry breakfast polenta sounds delicious!

  8. I am so curious about nutritional yeast! I am wondering…did you find this with the baking items at the store?

  9. Gina- it’s very useful for vegetarians and vegans!

    Cathy- thanks for the link to your old post! And I bet it would be really good in soups.

    Diane- you should be able to find it in a health foods store. There’s usually a couple kicking around most cities.

    Danielle- there shall be recaps galore 🙂

    Hanlie- I’m starting to kinda like the taste.

    Marta- I do SO MUCH for the sake of curiosity.

    bHealthier- there’s loads of delicious vegan food.

    Holly- check out the flour section of a health food store, it should be there.

  10. I have 5 days left on my own 30 day vegan challenge. But I cheated today with a bowl of lobster bisque and I ate feta cheese on a salad. Some things I just am not ready to give up! I’m so proud of you tho!!!

  11. Thanks for the NY info! I’d really love to try it and hope the shops carry it here. I’ll hunt this one down. 😛
    Oooh, looking forward to that granola recipe. Also, do you make your own almond butter?

  12. I know what nutritional yeast is, but never thought it sounded very…appetizing…It may taste like cheese sort of, but I’ll miss the gooey and stringy factor of real cheese!
    I’ve heard of people sprinkling this onto popcorn, though, and that sounds sorta cool! 🙂

  13. Jennifer- lobster bisque would be tough to turn down!

    Mia- I haven’t made my own almond butter yet. I intend to, but I don’t own a food processor. I’ll have to borrow one from the mother dear and give almond butter a try. I’ve been wanting to make it for a really long time now!

    Burpexcuzme- it takes some getting used to. But you’re right; although it works in a pinch, it still just isn’t cheese.

  14. I’ve never tried nutritional yeast cheese sauce, but I use the yeast in my scrambled tofu. I’ve been kind of skeptical about these cheese sauce but I think you’ve convinced me to give it ago (love the idea of having calzones!)

  15. I love nutritional yeast, use it in salad dressings, and with soy sauce on popcorn. The cat will lick it out of the bowl if I don’t rinse it right away, and she’ll eat the popcorn if I give her some.

    No, don’t much care for grains, though I eat them, anyway.

  16. Does anyone know where I can find instructions for growing and then drying nutritional yeast?

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