Edible Yeast: What It Is And How To Use It In Cooking

Vegan cheese substitute. But also a delicious sauce for pasta and vegetables.

Knowing what nutritional yeast is and how to use it in the kitchen can help us make the most of the interesting nutritional values ​​of this food, an ingredient dear to vegan cuisine that should not be confused with the common yeast, from which it differs substantially. But what are the benefits of nutritional yeast, and where can it be bought? Here’s everything you need to know.

Food Yeast

If you have never heard of it, you are surely wondering what it is: nutritional yeast is a species of yeast known as Saccharomyces cerevisiae. It differs from the yeast used for making baked goods in that it is an unactivated version of this. This means that added to the dough; would have no effect; that is, it would not trigger the processes underlying the leavening.

What Is Food Yeast

It looks like a coarse powder, often in flakes, of a light color that turns yellow and is a vegan food product with a pungent taste. Several variants are available on the market. Unlike the yeast that we use in the kitchen, this is not used to leaven the dough of cakes and desserts in general, nor of bread or pizza. This is because it has been deactivated. What does nutritional yeast taste like? Reminiscent of cheese (commonly considered a vegan substitute ), it is savory and has a nutty aftertaste.

Food Yeast: Nutritional Values

Generally speaking, 100 grams of nutritional yeast provide:

  • Calories: 344 kcal
  • Fat 6 g
  • Carbohydrates 18 g
  • Fiber 29 g
  • Protein 40 g
  • Salt 0.3 g
  • Niacin 25.6 mg
  • Folic acid 1120 mcg

It is a vegan source of high-quality vegetable protein containing all nine essential amino acids, B vitamins, and trace minerals.

How To Prepare The Food Yeast

Let’s move on to its preparation. It starts with a living strain of saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast: this is fed with a carbohydrate-rich glucose inside the fermentation chambers. Once grown, it is carefully washed after several days, then dried and subsequently reduced to flakes. So it is ready to be put on the market. Let’s explore what nutritional yeast is for below.

How To Use Edible Yeast

To understand how it is used, know that it is similar to ordinary grated cheese. It has, however, the fact that it is vegan. Therefore it is widely used in creating vegan recipes that do not allow the use of Parmesan, Grana Padano or other dairy products. It can be sprinkled on pasta; it can be combined with salads, baked potatoes, and vegetable side dishes. It can be added to vegan pesto, combined with soups and vegetable soups, and used in risottos. It can flavor scrambled eggs or tofu in any recipe. It can be added to the mixture of meatballs, croquettes and meatloaves and to the filling of savory pies.

Where To Buy

Today it is readily available, and not only online, where it can be purchased both on generic sites and on specialized e-commerce sites. We mention those focused on organic and vegan food and the most well-stocked supermarkets among the physical stores. Here it is usually found in the department dedicated to the vegan diet.

Contraindications Of Edible Yeast

The fact that it is full of benefits does not mean that it is without contraindications. These are minor annoyances which can be avoided by practicing some precautions. For example, being rich in fiber can cause abdominal pain if the inclusion in your diet does not take place gradually. It contains tyramine, derived from the amino acid tyrosine, which can be a potential cause of headaches in predisposed individuals. Finally, if taken in high doses, it can cause facial redness due to its content of niacin, a water-soluble vitamin naturally present in some foods.

How long does nutritional yeast last? It is essential to consume it by the expiry date shown on its packaging. However, once opened, the food can be kept in the fridge for up to six months, preferably closed in an airtight container.

Also Read: Protein In Broccoli: More Protein Than Meat?

Recipes With Edible Yeast

What to do with nutritional yeast? Different recipes can be made. Once you know what it tastes like, using it in the kitchen becomes child’s play. It can be used to make the vegan version of basil pesto to give life to a vegan cheese (similar to Parmesan, but also cream cheese). It can still be used in pasta sauce and finally to give an extra touch to the zucchini cooked in a pan.

Vegan Parmesan With Edible Yeast

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 0 minutes

Difficulty: Low

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 150 g of toasted almonds
  • 2 dried tomatoes
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 pinch of salt


  • Pour the toasted and peeled almonds, baking powder, salt and dried tomatoes into a food processor.
  • Operate it until you get a relatively fine powder.
  • Retrieve it from the robot bowl and store the fake vegan cheese in the refrigerator.

Pesto With Food Yeast

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 0 minutes

Difficulty: Low

Ingredients for 4 people)

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 85 ml of olive oil
  • 100 g of pine nuts
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 35 g of nutritional yeast
  • 1 small teaspoon of salt


  • Gather all the ingredients on the work surface, then put them in the glass of a blender.
  • Operate it and continue to work several times until you have obtained a thick and smooth mixture.
  • Season with salt and pepper and taste.

Cacio And Pepper Pasta With Edible Yeast

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Difficulty: Low

Ingredients for 4 people)

  • 320 g of pasta
  • 100 g of cashews (or other dried fruit )
  • 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
  • 30 ml of extra virgin olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • salt


  • Blend the cashews, preferably previously soaked in cold water, with the nutritional yeast, oil and salt in a blender.
  • Add a little water to obtain a creamy consistency, similar to the traditional cacio e Pepe pasta sauce.
  • Boil the pasta, drain it al dente and transfer them to a pan to add the cream. Complete the cooking, stirring well.
  • Serve hot sprinkled with plenty of freshly ground black pepper.

Zucchini With Edible Yeast

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Difficulty: Low

Ingredients for 4 people)

  • 3 medium zucchini
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 50 g of chopped almonds
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 35 g of nutritional yeast
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh basil


  • Thinly slice the courgettes. Mix the nutritional yeast and almond flour in a bowl.
  • Pour the oil into a pan and once hot, add the garlic, and fry it.
  • Add the courgettes and sauté them in a pan for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the almond and yeast mix, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with basil.
  • Cook for a few more minutes, until thoroughly cooked, then serve.

Cream With Food Yeast

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 0 minutes

Difficulty: Low

Ingredients for 4 people)

  • 200 g of cashews
  • 1 cup of water
  • 40 g of nutritional yeast
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • salt


  • Pour the cashews into a bowl, cover them with water and let them rest for about 2 1/2 hours.
  • After this time, drain and rinse them, then transfer them to the bowl of a food processor.
  • Add the cup of water (or less for a creamier result), nutritional yeast, garlic and salt.
  • Blend until you get cream, and use it as if it were cream cheese.

Also Read: Switchel: This Soda Is Supposed To Help You Lose Weight

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