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What the heck is nutritional yeast for?

Hi all,

I recently added some nutritional yeast to a vegetarian gravy on the suggestion of some other hounds, but I'll be damned if I know what the heck (other than veg gravy) this stuff is good for. I'd be totally into experimenting around if I had any guiding principles about what it's general purpose was.

So... what's it for?

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  1. It's very high in B vitamins. And iron, I believe.

    1. Nutritional supplement. B vitamin deficiency during pregnancy is a major cause of birth defects.

      Sort of like cod liver oil. Not so much for cooking.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Louise

        actually, it's not only a nutritional aid but a flavor enhancer and is used in recipes and dishes and as a popcorn seasoning, and I think the stuff is INSANELY TASTY

      2. If it is the light flaky kind, not the heavy grainy kind, back in Madison they put it on popcorn. Even at the movies they had a shaker with yeast for the popcorn.

        1. It was promoted by 1960s-70s diet book author Adelle Davis, who theorized that Americans didn't get enough vitamins or protein. To correct those imaginary deficiencies, she suggested that people supplement with lots of nutritional yeast, blackstrap molasses, wheat germ, dry milk powder, and raw liver.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Gah. Blackstrap molasses and liver. Double gah.

            Well, thanks for shedding light on the subject. The flavor it added to the veg gravy was nice -- gave it some depth -- and after tasting it plain (this is indeed the light and flaky kind of nutritional yeast) I can see that it might be a good popcorn accompaniment. I suppose I'll keep it on hand for the nights when our veg friends come for dinner. ;)

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              They weren't imaginary. We cured a serious infection on my index finger through nutritional yeast and other Adelle Davis hints.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                Actually Adelle Davis touted Brewer's yeast which a bit of different animal all together.

              2. I raised my kids in the 80's and among the crowd we ran with Engivita (sp?) nutritional yeast was the ingredient du jour. We mostly sprinkled it on popcorn but it also had a nasty habit of showing up in macaroni and cheese and tossed with cooked veggies. I am sure that if I hunt through the inner recesses of my cupboard there will be a jar of it still lurking. Gah. Probably next to the carob powder (shudder).

                1 Reply
                1. re: Nyleve

                  Yes, I remember it on popcorn along with soy sauce and olive oil. Not bad.