Once upon a time one happy mushroom-like creature decided to make someone happier. It chose vegans with a soft spot for cheese. Because regardless of their passion for dairy cheese they bravely avoid it. So, without thinking too much it made itself taste like cheese!
The creature is nutritional yeast. If you are desperate about cheese but at the same time want to keep things vegan, put it on your “to try” list.
I got to know it years ago. However, because it’s an yeast, I was hesitant to try it. I mean my life was okay without yeast. But finally I tried it a few weeks ago. In case you are thinking – no – it’s not the same as the yeast used for baking or brewing. Yet all yeast belong to the same group of living organisms as mushrooms, in other words, the Fungi kingdom.
Getting straight to the point. Does it taste like cheese? I think it does. In fact, it’s often compared to Parmesan cheese. And, indeed, it does somewhat echo this “King of Cheeses” (not really though, unless it’s directly from Italy). That characteristic salty-sour aspect is there for sure. Although the last time I had it was more than 6 years ago. But flavors stick for the rest of the life. On the other hand, when I gave it to two non-vegans to try, both murmured: corn.. corn puffs.
It also reminded me of the dried egg yolk. How on Earth I’m familiar with the taste? Got to know it after trying to eat fried eggs left untouched from the night before. The story behind that is this. As a kid, every other summer I would visit my grandma at the village. For a month or so. Towards the end of my visit I usually would become very homesick. The longing for home made the sight of food nearly off-putting. Especially when the darkness gradually pushed out the daylight. Oh, the dear daylight, you were so good at keeping me jumpy.
- I liked it by itself. But with a little fat, it’s even more cheesy. It also paired well with black tea. BTW, it’s kind of neat that I developed this tendency to like foods separate. Say, even when craving salt, I usually just sprinkle it into my mouth, without putting it on anything
- You can put the yeast anywhere whenever cheese pops up on your mind. It has a powerful flavor, so you won’t need more than a few tablespoons. Now, if it doesn’t calm your cravings for cheese, then surf the web. There is a bunch of vegan & raw vegan cheese recipes with the nutritional yeast as a main ingredient
- It’s not raw. The yeast has been deactivated with heat. In other words, killed with heat. It’s easier on the ear to say “deactivated”. The same as instead of saying “killing a dog”, it’s said “putting a dog to sleep”. I wonder why cows and chickens are not “deactivated” or “put to sleep” yet…
And two more points about nutritional yeast that worth knowing:
Does nutritional yeast feed candida?
Thoughts of candida might start sprouting in your head. Nope, it won’t feed candida. And, it won’t make it worse. If you have candida, you know what that is. If not, imagine that it’s a crowd of yeast-like mushrooms living in the human guts, and causing grief to people
A friend to vegans not only by taste
The word “nutritional” is not there to attract more fans. This yeast packs many perks. So many that the prisoners of war managed to grow it in camps (!) and used it to prevent their deficiencies dropping to lethal levels. I’ll mention only those good-for-yous that vegans would want to hear. First, like dairy cheese, it has all essential amino acids, including lysine. Second, it’s high in protein. Dr. Axe will tell you more if you got excited.
These yellow flakes taste like cheese and kind of addictive as cheese. Transform into cheesy heaven any raw vegan meals with them. They are good at guarding you against being short on lysine and protein. However, personally, I don’t think you should worry about these two if you like to vary your foods, and try something new now and then.
Good luck degustating the little critter!