Vegan cheese. That elusive, sour-tasting, crumbly nonsense that gets spread over focaccias – no more! Amy Hopkins finds out that nutritional yeast is key to creating that cheesy flavour
Also known as deactivated yeast, these flakes of gold have a nutty, cheesy taste, which makes them popular as an ingredient in cheese substitutes. They’re packed with B vitamins and are sometimes also fortified with B12. They’re also a complete protein, which means they contain all nine essential amino acids – great news for vegans and vegetarians. Remember Brewer’s yeast? This is far superior in that it is much higher in B-complex vitamins. In a study conducted on endurance athletes, Dr Michael Greger found that athletes who had nutritional yeast before a marathon had “better overall health, decreased confusion, fatigue, tension and anger and increased vigour.” They also seemed to recover faster. Nutritional yeast also contains selenium – which helps repair cell damage – and zinc, which aids tissue repair and healing. Its antibacterial and antiviral properties make it a great immune booster too. These versatile flakes are really affordable and easy to store. Add them to your soups, stews, sauces and salads to gain all the flavour and health benefits.