What bulk item at Karma do you think triggers the most questions of James Byrne, Karma’s bulk, meat, and cheese purchaser? I’ll give you a hint: Read the title of this article. Members are more curious about those bright yellow nutritional yeast flakes than any of the other bins and tubs of bulk products.
First of all, what is nutritional yeast? It is a single-celled microorganism called Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which grows on and feeds from cane or beet molasses. The molasses provides a source of nutrient-rich food, filling the microbes with 18 amino acids and a selection of vitamins and minerals.
What are the health benefits of nutritional yeast?
It is a source of essential nutrients, soluble fibre (beta glucan), and minerals, as well as a more readily available supply of protein than meat. Nutritional yeast is popular with vegetarians and vegans as it provides vitamin B12, which otherwise is found only in animal products. One tablespoon of nutritional yeast contains 100% or more of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin B12.
The Engevita brand that Karma carries contains 71% protein by weight, which is impressive for plant food, and is an excellent boost for the brain, body, and muscles. It is low in sodium and calories, is non-GMO, and is free of added MSG and flavouring. This table details the nutritional values.
How is Engevita produced?
Engevita is derived from baker’s yeast, which is a waste product in the beer-making process. This variety is grown specifically on beet molasses. After harvesting, the microbes are heated to 100 °C, rendering them inactive. They are then dried and rolled with a drum into flakes.
Where does Karma obtain its supply?
Karma buys Engevita flakes from Grain Process Enterprises Ltd. in Scarborough. Engevita was developed by the food scientists at Royal DSM Food Specialties in The Netherlands in 2002. In 2006, the privately-owned Québec company Lallemand Inc. purchased the yeast rights and moved production to Estonia, where it is produced today.
To keep members satisfied, James orders a 10 kg bag of flakes every couple of months. That’s a lot of yeast considering 1 cup of the flakes weighs 60 g. Compare that with water, which weighs 236 g per cup.
How does one use nutritional yeast?
Those who are familiar with it know it for its strong flavour. It is often described as cheesy or nutty, which makes it popular as an ingredient in cheese substitutes. It is often used as a substitute for parmesan cheese in recipes. You can sprinkle it or stir it into dishes to add a hint of cheesiness. Nutritional yeast can also be used to thicken sauces and soups.
If using nutritional yeast is uncharted territory for you, maybe now you feel motivated to incorporate it into your cuisine for its nutrition-packed splendour. The Internet is the place to find recipes using nutritional yeast. Here’s one to get you started.
Dharma’s Kale Salad
Makes 1 to 2 servings
Author: Kimberly Snyder
1 bunch black kale
Pinch of salt
1 small avocado
Juice of a lemon
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
Cayenne pepper, to taste
2 handful sprouts, any kind
1 tomato, cubed
1–2 tbsp dulse flakes (seaweed flakes)
Handful of dill, parsley, or cilantro, or combination
1. Tear the kale leaves off the stem and place into a mixing bowl.
2. Add salt and tear into bite-sized pieces.
3. In a separate bowl, scrape out the avocado flesh and add lemon juice. Lightly mash and mix with a fork.
4. Add the avocado mixture to the kale and massage it into the kale with your fingers.
5. Stir in the nutritional yeast, cayenne pepper, sprouts, tomato, dulse flakes, and herbs, and add a little more sea salt, if desired.
submitted by Barbara Walters
Photograph by Ela Lichtblau