What is Nutritional Yeast? Vegan Gold.

how to use nutritional yeast

What is nutritional yeast? Here’s everything you ever needed to know about this humble powder, plus six recipes to get you hooked on nooch!

What is nutritional yeast? Here's everything you ever needed to know about this humble powder, plus six recipes to get you hooked on nooch.Nutritional yeast is a great product… but perhaps you think is a little weird? Maybe you’ve never seen it before? Or maybe the name turns you off? Maybe you’ve seen it in your local health food store and have become curious, but have some trepidations about how to use nutritional yeast or WHY.

I was super confused about this strange yellow powder when a friend introduced it to me a few years ago. In fact, I was resistant, thinking it was just SO weird and SO funky. Now nutritional yeast is my BFF and I always have a big jar of it on my shelf. Nooch, as many nutritional yeast fans lovingly call it, is a staple of vegan and vegetarian cooking but can definitely seem a little weird if you’re new to it. So we’ll give you the basics of what is it and how to use nutritional yeast and then share six vegan recipes to get you started.

What is Nutritional Yeast?

Nutritional yeast is perhaps the least sexy name ever, but it tastes wonderful and can bring a whole level of amazingness to your foods, vegan or otherwise.

Nooch is a yeast grown on a sugar medium (either cane or beet molasses) that is then deactivated. It is very different from baker’s yeast (for making bread) and brewer’s yeast (for making beer), which are both active. Do not use them interchangeably, or substitute one for the other.

The consensus among my doctor friends is that because it’s deactivated, it should be safe for those dealing with candida issues, but always check with your health care provider if you are supposed to avoid yeast products.

Nutritional yeast is sold under different names in health food stores and can be packaged in containers (Bragg’s is one of the most common brands) or sold in bulk food aisles of natural food stores. If you can find nooch in bulk, you can save yourself a lot of money. It can seem pricy by the pound, but it’s just fluffy, so a pound is A LOT of nooch.
What is nutritional yeast? Here's everything you ever needed to know about this humble powder, plus six recipes to get you hooked on nooch.

{Related: Shopping in bulk without plastic bags}

The most important part is that nutritional yeast is just plain delicious. And it’s quite healthy too! Most brands are fortified with Vitamin B12, great for all of us but especially good for vegans.

Why is nooch so delicious? Umami is the answer. Umami is the ‘fifth’ taste, discovered a few decades ago. Even if you’ve never heard of it, you know what is tastes like: savory, rich, flavorful, roasty. It’s the richness behind balsamic vinegar, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, seaweeds, and cheese.

Umami can be the missing ingredient in your diet if it feels bland or boring, and studies show that it could potentially help with healthy aging. Nutritional yeast adds an umami punch to all foods and makes everything taste magically delicious. When I first started cooking with it I wanted to lick the bowl each time! I’ve since learned to restrain myself!

How to Use Nutritional Yeast

You can use nooch in nearly everything. We love it added to salad, sprinkled atop steamed veggies, blended into sauces and dressings, dusted onto avocado toast, and used like Parmesan on spaghetti.

Lots of folks love it on popcorn for a quick, cheezy snack, too! Go crazy and make dips or use in amazingly flavorful marinades with your new favorite ingredient.

Ready to get cooking? Here are six noochy recipes to help you add a little nutritional yeast goodness into your diet.

1. Cheezy Vegan Enchiladas

2. Vegan Broccoli Fritatta

3. No-Chicken Noodle Soup

4. My Favorite Vegan Scramble with Tofu + Sausage

5. Nut-Free Vegan Pesto

6. Our Famous Vegan Cheesy Rice (one of our most popular recipes!)

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About Andrea Bertoli 517 Articles
A vegan chef, cookbook author, educator, writer, surfer, and yogi based in Honolulu, Andrea is also the Accounts Manager for Important Media. Follow her foodie adventures at AndreaBertoli.com, Vibrant Wellness Journal, and Eat Drink Better. Find more from Andrea on Facebook and Instagram