The following post was written by our newest intern, Regina!
Ever think about becoming a vegan and ask yourself, “Don’t vegans miss the taste of cheese?!” Cue: nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast, also known as “nooch” is the secret ingredient used to provide that cheesy flavor to many vegetarian and vegan recipes. Some might even describe the flavor as nutty or creamy – or, if you’re of the culinary world, the best description may be “umami” or savory. If you’ve got any dairy allergies or sensitivities, the nooch is the perfect sub for cheese.
What is nutritional yeast?
Nutritional yeast is an inactive yeast sourced from whey, sugar cane, or molasses. After harvesting the yeast, it is dried with heat which causes the yeast to stop growing. It is then crumbled and packaged and, as long as it stays dry, can last up to 2 years.
What makes it nutritional?
Nutritional yeast is a complete protein which means it contains the 9 essential amino acids for human dietary needs. Nutritional yeast is also fortified with vitamin B12, but one shouldn’t depend solely on the nooch to obtain that daily requirement. Lastly, no need to worry about your calories – 1 tablespoon contains 3 grams of protein and just 20 calories.
How can I use it?
Put this gluten-free product on everything. Seriously! It’s a great replacement for that sprinkle of Parmesan cheese on your pizza or pasta (see the Minimalist Baker‘s DIY parmesan cheese substitute here). Add it to your gravy or mashed potatoes. Top your roasted kale chips or Brussels sprouts with the stuff. It’s fantastic on popcorn. And some people say it’s actually ok to add to your pup’s meal! You can usually find nutritional yeast at your local health food store down the spice aisle. As previously mentioned, some nutritional yeast is harvested from whey, so you’ll want to make sure to look for vegan labeling if you have a dairy intolerance. At first taste you may not want or think you can replace cheese with nutritional yeast but whether you’re a meat-eater or wannabe/genuine vegan, everyone can agree on sharing the nooch.