What is nutritional yeast? In short, nutritional yeast is basically all of your cheesy dreams come true – minus the cheese.
Nutritional yeast: the basics
Nutritional yeast is the inactive form of a yeast strain called Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
The yeast is first grown in a sugar/molasses medium and then, once matured, it is killed with heat and dried on a conveyer belt to create the bright yellow flakes that are affectionately known as nooch by vegans and non-vegans alike.
(Because the yeast is inactive/dead, it won’t act like the active yeast that is used in breads and baked goods.)
What are the nutritional benefits of nutritional yeast?
I use nutritional yeast mostly because I love the flavor but it also provides a concentrated source of nutrients like plant-based protein, B vitamins, and fiber.
Be sure to check whether your nutritional yeast has been fortified with B vitamins, especially if you are vegan and/or concerned about getting enough vitamin B12, because only some brands have gone through the fortification process.
Where to find it:
You can find nutritional yeast at most health food stores and well-stocked grocery stores (like Whole Foods or Sprouts.) I usually get mine in the bulk section but you can also sometimes find it in the “superfood” or supplement sections.
How do you cook with nutritional yeast?
Nutritional yeast tastes pretty similar to sharp cheddar or parmesan cheese and you can use it in the same ways that you would use grated cheese.
Here are some of my favorite ways to use nooch:
- Popcorn: mix 1-2 tablespoons with olive oil, salt, and freshly-popped popcorn
- Pasta: sprinkle over pasta dishes or blend with silken tofu and garlic/onion powder to create a dairy-free mac and cheese sauce
- Vegetables: sprinkle over your favorite roasted vegetables, soups and/or salads or mix into salad dressings
- As a condiment to pretty much everything. 😉
Nutritional yeast recipes to try:
Have you used nutritional yeast in your kitchen? What is your favorite way to use nooch at home?