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Nutritional Yeast 101

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I get asked about nutritional yeast ALL the time. And I totally understand why! Nutritional yeast, affectionally referred to as “nooch” is not a very common ingredient in most households. It sounds weird and obscure and it’s usually hard to find in the grocery store. With that being said, guess what? It’s a staple in our kitchen.

What is nutritional yeast?

Nutritional yeast is a type of inactive yeast that is grown on sugarcane or sugar beets. Once it is finished growing, the yeast is “killed” using heat. It is then harvested, washed, packaged, and sent out to make people like you and me happy and healthier!

As far as texture, nutritional yeast has a light, delicate and flaky consistency. It has a unique umami taste – it is cheesy and slightly nutty (aren’t we all?) It’s perfect for adding flavor to dishes, thickening sauces and soups, and sprinkling over popcorn.

It may sound bizarre to eat yeast. But it’s extremely good for you. Here are just a few of the reasons why:

  • Nooch is LOADED with complex B-vitamins. B-vitamins help your body create new cells, fight free-radicals, regulate the nervous and digestive systems, balance hormones, and fight infection and inflammation.
  • Nooch contains cholesterol-lowering compounds.
  • Nooch is a potent immune system booster.
  • Nooch is high in selenium which is known to fight cancer cells.
  • Nooch promotes healthy hair, skin, and nails. It contains biotin!

Nutritional yeast is gluten free and usually vegan. However, make sure that you purchase a brand that does NOT include added whey.

How to cook with nutritional yeast (or nooch)?

Let me start by saying this: the possibilities are endless. My reason for creating this post is because SO many of our recipes use nutritional yeast. Which leads to SO many questions about it.

If a recipe contains nutritional yeast, it’s most likely necessary. Whether we included it for consistency or for flavor, I don’t recommend substituting unless a very small amount is needed. Here are some of my favorite recipes that call for nooch:

5-Minute Vegan Sun Dried Tomato Alfredo

Creamy Pesto Noodles with Peas

Easy Vegan Broccoli Sauce

One Pot Tomato Artichoke Penne

Vegan Shells and Cheese

Vegan Cornbread Pot Pies

Cauliflower Steak Sliders

Where to buy nutritional yeast?

You can find nooch at most major grocery stores and definitely at health/specialty stores. Many stores offer it in the bulk foods section, which is the most affordable option. Some stores carry “Bragg’s” brand, which comes in a parmesan style shaker with a red lid.

We use nooch so frequently that I have started purchasing it on Amazon. I purchase the 1 pound bag from Frontier Co-Op.

SO! Now that we’ve cleared all that up, what do you think of nutritional yeast? Do you like it? Have you ever tried it? What’s your favorite recipe using it? Hit me up in the comments!

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