I love trying what many might call alternative foods, and not many people have heard of this product.
According to goodness direct, 'Nutritional yeast is not the same as brewers yeast, they are from differing strains of yeast. Nutritional yeast is deactivated yeast and is a great source of nutrition, it is a complete protein and is particularly rich in the B vitamins. That is great news for vegetarians and vegans alike. It is naturally low in fat and also in sodium. Because of this it is a popular condiment for those wanting to limit the salt intake but wanting a little more 'taste' on food. It can be used by everyone to add a cheese like flavour to cooking or as a condiment. Great to use instead of parmesan cheese.'
How can something that looks so much like the fish food I used to feed my goldfish be so useful and be so yummy? I have no idea, but I'm so glad that nutritional yeast flakes have found their way into my life. Some say it's a good replacement for cheese in terms of flavour, and I can see where those people are coming from, but I wouldn't say it tastes much like cow's cheese. However with that said, it does have a distinct taste and that's what makes it so great!
The tub decribes the product as: 'Engevita is such a pleasant tasting yeast that it can be consumed as it is. It is also readily dissolved in water, milk, fruit or vegetable juices and can be sprinkled on soups, stews, casseroles, salads and breakfast cereals to enhance the flavour. Nutritional Yeast makes a great popcorn topper or add it to mashed or fried potatoes, shake it into scrambled tofu or eggs.'
The only ingredients are dried inactive yeast and the nutritional stats are very good:
Energy 1500kJ/357kcal, Protein 45g, Carbohydrates 33g (of which sugars 1g), Fat 5g (of which saturates 2.5g), Dietary Fibre 20g, Sodium 1g, Phosphorus 1200mg, Magnesium 180mg, Iron 4.5mg, Thiamin (Vitamin B1) 15mg, Riboflavin (vitamin B2) 25mg, Niacin (Nicotinic Acid) 150mg, Pyridoxine HCl (Vitamin B6) 1.8mg, Folic Acid 23pg, pantothenic acid 1.3mg
My favourite of all has to be using it at breakfast. Nothing beats a hearty bowl of oatbran mixed with nutrional yeast at the end. It's filling, healthy and gosh darn scrumptious.
It's hard to get hold of though, I have only seen it in selected health food stores. The price is okay, £2.30 a tub. A little pricey, but it is a rare product and a tub lasts me a little while.
I began using nutritional yeast as a food supplement about three years ago. At the time, I was a committed vegan and needed to find a non-animal based source of B Vitamins. Following the recommendations of an assistant at my local health food shop, I bought my first supply of Nutritional Yeast - a dried yeast product renowned among the health conscious community for it's high concentration of vitamins and minerals.
At first, I was unsure how to use the yeast; consisting as it does of small, desiccated pieces of yellowish yeast flakes, it is certainly not the most appetising looking ingredient in the world, nor one that inspires any great cooking ideas! Restricted thus to following the "Serving Suggestions" on the back of the pack, I began by adding it as a topping to salads, and was pleasantly surprised by the taste. Despite being advertised as a cheese substitute for those following a dairy free diet, it does not, for me at least, taste at all of dairy - rather, it has a very savoury, almost nutty flavour that is very inoffensive and really quite pleasant.
After restricting myself to the recommendations of Marigold (the brand... not a relation) I began experimenting by adding the flakes to a variety of dishes. In doing, I created something of a personal "comfort" dish - by adding the flakes to cooked vegetables with some soy sauce, I found that the warmth of the vegetables "melts " the flakes a little, and in combination with the soy creates a creamy, savoury (albeit, not cheesy) coating. A particular favourite is caramelised onion, a fair amount of yeast (probably more than the recommend dosage!) and a splash of Tamari.
I'm no longer a vegan but continue to use the product, mainly for the taste but also as a good source of vitamins.
The Packaging and Brand...
The product comes in a 125g, sturdy, brown, cardboard cylinder box. The replaceable lid ensures the product stays fresh, even if kept at the back of a cupboard for some time. It is made by Marigold, a reputable company that also does a good line in stocks....
Price and Availability...
The price, at £2.29 per box may seem a little steep - but bear in mind that the product is intended as a food supplement, and is recommended in only small amounts. If you keep to the portion size suggested (which, I have to confess, I don't) the cost per serving is minimal.
In terms of availability, I have found the best source to be independent health food shops - chain health stores (Holland and Barret, etc) and supermarkets simply do not carry them. The internet is also a good source (goodness direct.com carries them, but p&p costs for this site are very high).
Nutritional Breakdown, for those interested:
Carbohydrates 33g (of which sugars 1g),
Fat 5g (of which saturates 2.5g),
Dietary Fibre 20g,
Thiamin (Vitamin B1) 15mg,
Riboflavin (vitamin B2) 25mg,
Niacin (Nicotinic Acid) 150mg,
Pyridoxine HCl (Vitamin B6) 1.8mg,
Folic Acid 23pg, pantothenic acid 1.3mg .
2 Tablespoons (more than 3 tablespoons may increase levels of uric acid in blood) - do not heat as the vitamins may be damaged.
Engevita yeast flakes
Nutritional yeast is an interesting product that you might not have heard of. If I started by describing what it actually is, you might not think it sounded particularly appetising! And that wouldn't do it much justice. Nutritional yeast is a delicious and tasty way to add an array of vitamins to your diet, as well as adding a really unique flavour to a wide variety of dishes. It is essentially deactivated yeast, similar to brewers yeast (a by-product formed in the production of beer that is rich is b vitamins) but produced more intentionally through a culture process with a mixture of sugarcane and beet molasses. You can buy it in the above 150g tub under the Marigold Engevita brand (the most readily available nutritional yeast in the UK). As a flakey product, quite similar by eye to a dry ready-brek cereal or other instant porridge mix, you just spoon accordingly over dishes like soups, stews, casseroles, salads and so on. It is a bit like parmesan, with a nutty, cheesy flavour. Surprisingly delectable!
Marigold make Engevita Nutritional Yeast Flakes as part of their health food range that consists of many other products such as Vegetable Bouillon, Liquid Aminos and Braised Tofu. The Swiss Vegetable Bouillon is quite famous, much loved by celebrity chefs like Delia Smith and Nigella Lawson. The company in its entirety carries about 4,000 lines of which 60% are organic. These flakes are made in Holland and then distributed from London. Marigold lines are also particularly popular in Australia and New Zealand.
Marigold Nutritional Yeast Flakes consist of pure dried inactive yeast, with nothing else added. In areas outside the UK, where nutritional yeast is not really a mainstream foodstuff and acts more as a health food product, it can be seen sold as a popcorn topping! Mixed with salt and cayenne pepper is can give really savoury edge to popcorn. In Australia and New Zealand it is called savoury yeast.
As well as being a great ingredient, it acts as a kind of dietary supplement too, providing a useful concentration of B vitamins and protein from a non-animal source. For this reason it is very popular with individuals following a vegan diet or those looking to cut out or experiment with dairy-free alternatives. Us vegans like to use it as a weird cheese "substitute" and mix it in with 'scrambled tofu', adhering sweetly to a myriad of stereotypes.
Marigold nutritional yeast flakes contain the following per 100g: 357kcal, 33g carbohydrates, 5g fat (2.5g saturates), 20g dietary fibre, 1g sodium, 1200mg phosphorus, 180mg magnesium, 4.5mg iron, 15mg vitamin B1, 25mg vitamin b2, 150mg Niacin, 1.8mg vitamin b6, 23pg Folic Acid and 1.3mg pantothetic acid.
Thus the nutrient profile is really dense and useful for providing b vitamins that help to release energy and help you if you are feeling lethargic or run down. They are also useful in nervous function and control many other body function and efficiencies. It is guaranteed to be candida albicans negative (for those of you who suffer from Candida allergy), is naturally low in fat and contains no artificial colours or flavours. I have yet to find a problem with it really! It is nice to find something that provides so much in a natural form rather than in a tablet.
How much to use?
I have been known to scoop spoonfuls out of the tub merely to taste the creamy flakes melt and crumble on my tongue. Some people say it is an acquired taste...so I have definitely acquired it. However, you shouldn't chomp on more than 3 tablespoons a day as it can increase uric acid in the bloodstream, putting stress on our kidneys and gall bladder. This amount will provide you with 8 grams of protein- a great source considering the fibre content too.
Ideas on how to use it
How about making a cheese sauce or white sauce and adding nutritional yeast instead of cheese. This could lead to some fabulous creations like macaroni 'cheese' and various bakes and lasagnes etc. What about added to the breadcrumbs you use to make stuffing to give an extra flavour dimension? Or sprinkling it over a vegetable-laden, herbaceously heady pizza, for a dusting that will transcend your usual taste bud affinities. Or wake up in the morning to a bowl of thick, warm porridge scattered with pumpkin seeds, sweet raisins and a fluttering of nutritional yeast. Make today the day that you treat your body right!
Online I have found it retailing for about £2.30, where it is most readily available. Otherwise, if you are lucky enough to have a health food store in your area (an independent one rather than Holland and Barrett who don't stock it) then be sure to ask if it is not on the shelves. Often it can be ordered if it isn't there. Online you can buy it in more bulkier quantities which is great for saving on the cost since it is a bit pricey- but not too bad relative to other health food products.
A really nice product to try if you are adventurous when cooking and would like to make your diet a bit more healthy.