I have several recipes for seitan which call for nutritional yeast. I've never used it before and am curious about its purpose.
Is it for flavor, texture, nutritional value?
This product is new to me, but it looks interesting.
The flavour of nutritional yeast is described in Wikipedia:
Nutritional yeast has a strong flavor that is described as nutty, cheesy, or creamy, which makes it popular as an ingredient in cheese substitutes. It is often used by vegans in place of parmesan cheese.
Nutritional yeast is a so called complete protein.
A complete protein (or whole protein) is a source of protein that contains an adequate proportion of all nine of the essential amino acids necessary for the dietary needs of humans or other animals.
This also explains why it is popular among vegans, that needs to replace the amino acids in meat with alternative food sources.
It's a flavour booster like Marmite (or Vegimite if you are an Ozzie)
Not to everyone likes, but it sure does has an interesting taste
Usually made from fermented barley
I use nutritional yeast for the taste. I think comparing it to a milder form of Marmite flavour, or even miso is apropos - it has a similar tanginess - in my opinion. When I choose something low caloric for a good flavour enhancer, this is a good thing to keep around.
A good introduction for you to try nutritional yeast might be to sprinkle it on popcorn, or add it to a tomato sauce, or even on buttery toast. Use it like a flaky spice.
let's not forget the masses of B vitamins it contains too.
A paste applied to the cheeks will result in a flush due to the B rush. Not that I recommend trying it (old beauty tip from a health mag)
Salads use a sprinkle of flakes instead of nuts: lower in Cals