This vegan ingredient adds protein and umami.

There’s a reason nutritional yeast has been a health food staple for so long. “Not only does it provide a nutty, cheesy flavor, but two tablespoons offer nine grams of protein,” says Lauren Blake, RD, Columbus, Ohio-based founder of Whole Living Lauren. “Look for a brand that is fortified with vitamin B12, which many athletes, especially vegans, lack.”

While nutritional yeast makes a delicious garnish for salads, popcorn, and more, it also deserves a starring role. 

Here, three recipes that celebrate the healthy vegan ingredient: