Nutritional yeast, also known by the cooler name nooch or simply savory yeast, is the hot new trend, especially popular amongst vegans and vegetarians. It is deactivated yeast made from beet molasses and sugarcane. This yeast different from the brewed version used in baking recipes because it doesn’t foam and cannot cause dough or batter to ferment or rise.
Golden-yellow in color, nooch usually comes in flakes, but can be also found in the form of granules or powdery. Its taste is savory, nutty, and cheesy and is often used in vegan recipes as a cheese replacement.
Why Use Nutritional Yeast in Vegan Recipes?
Nooch is a real superfood. It is a perfect addition to any meal, providing numerous nutritive elements by saving calories at the same time. Nutritional yeast is a ‘full protein’, which means it contains all nine of the amino acids our body needs. It also abounds in vitamins, especially the B-complex vitamins, as well as many minerals like selenium, and zinc.
In addition, this trendy food is gluten-free, low in fat and sodium, and contains no added sugars or preservatives. All these facts make nutritional yeast one of the favorite foods for vegans and vegetarians who often have concerns about getting enough protein and B vitamins in their diet. Nutraceuticals can be a good resource for your vegan ingredients, you can check their website.
Here is a list of the most important health benefits of nutritional yeast:
- Boosts the immune system
- Has antibacterial and antiviral properties
- Aids digestion
- Promotes weight loss
- Rises the energy levels and helps with chronic fatigue
- Improves cognitive functions
- Has positive influence on mood
- Relieves bone, muscle, and joint pain
- Controls the blood sugar levels
- Speeds up wound healing
- Promotes healthy nails, hair, and skin
Besides people who have turned their backs to animal products, nutritional yeast is also perfect for those who are lactose intolerant. And due to its high protein content, nooch is often used by athletes and physically active people. So, how do you use nutritional yeast in vegan recipes? Easy, by just sprinkling it to incorporate with the rest of the ingredients or on top of your dish. However, since it is flaky and dry, if you use it in rather dishes that do not contain enough moistness per se, you might want to add a little liquid like olive oil.
What kind of vegan recipes goes well with nutritional yeast? Many! Sprinkle it on salads, pasta, baked or mashed potatoes, pesto, soups, and even popcorn! There is a good reason why people dub it “hippie dust”!
Amazing Vegan Recipes that Make Use of Nutritional Yeast
Here are some healthy vegan ideas to inspire you to use nooch more often:
Mix or place nooch on top of any kind of pasta dish. Try adding it to the newest vegan pasta, the so-called zoodles.
Zoodles, or simply zucchini noodles and other ‘pasta’ made from veggies are the new and healthy way to replace the traditional pasta and noodle variations that abound in carbs. Besides the more widely used options like spaghetti squash and the above-mentioned zoodles, chefs all over the world use their spiralizers on beetroot, asparagus, and sweet potato.
However, avoid using it in pasta dishes that make use of tomato sauce because the sauce ‘smothers’ the salty taste. Instead, combine it with fresh tomato slices and chopped fresh herbs like basil or oregano.
Nutritional yeast is also used in pesto sauces and in vegan mac and cheese sauces.
There are two ways to incorporate nutritional yeast in salads:
– The first option is to sprinkle it on top of any kind salad you make.
– The second option is better because it really emphasizes nooch’s savory flavor. To achieve this, you need to make ‘noochy croutons’. Sprinkle pieces of leftover bread with some olive oil and heat in the oven. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, garlic powder and dry basil. At the end add lots of nutritional yeast and bake for 10 more minutes. Add these croutons to your salad.
Sprinkle nooch on vegan sandwiches, burgers, and toasts. Need an idea for a vegan burger? Find it in this amazing collection of quick and easy vegan recipes. Or take a regular slice of bread and cover it with some olive oil and nooch on top. Besides olive oil and nooch, you can add tomato slices or lettuce. Fresh and fulfilling!
#4 Rice and Potatoes
Mash flaky nutritional yeast into baked potatoes or a vegan risotto. Or make a paste with roasted garlic and nooch, and then drizzle the rice/potatoes with plenty of fruity olive oil.
Another creamy cheese sauce is made by combining nutritional yeast with nut butter (I prefer cashew butter), onion powder, mustard powder, and vegetable broth (until thinned to the desired consistency). The use of this sauce is not limited to rice and potato dishes, but can be used in a number of vegan recipes, like vegan mac and cheese or even fondue.
Nutritional yeast is often used in vegan soups as a thickener in place of cream. I love the vegan Indian sweet potato soup and I often make it with nooch. Here is how to do it:
Nutritional yeast (powdered or flaky) has to be made liquid before adding it to the soup. For each cup of soup, you need 1/2 cup of nooch. Mix this 1/2 cup of nooch with a 1/2 cup of water. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring continuously. Once the nutritional yeast mixture thickens, transfer it into your soup mixture. Stir well.
Bear in mind that nutritional yeast will contribute extra saltiness to your soup, so you might want to reduce the amount of salt that is originally required in the recipe.
This trick will come very handy in case you have a store-bought vegan soup to prepare. Ready-made soups can be a bit thin and bland in taste, so adding some nutritional yeast will make the soup extra flavorful and creamy.
#6 Scrambled Tofu
When you crave scrambled eggs (it happens), opt for scrambled tofu. I love mixing scrambled tofu with potatoes and tomatoes, as well as sautéed veggies like mushrooms, peppers, onions, and carrots (all at once or according to the day’s mood). Adding some nutritional yeast will take this simple calcium and protein-infused dish to a whole new level.
And finally, for your Saturday movie night, prepare a load of popcorn and add a surprising twist by sprinkling it with nutritional yeast. Try it also on French fries.
Final Tips on Nutritional Yeast
Where to buy nooch. Look for nutritional yeast in the supermarkets, health food stores, or order online. It is naturally free of eggs, dairy, wheat, sugar, nuts, and corn, so you don’t need to worry if you suffer from any allergies. However, some producers tend to add certain ingredients (check the label). Nutritional yeast does not naturally contain vitamin B12, but there are many fortified versions that have this vitamin added.
How to store nooch. Store nutritional yeast in a dark and cool place or in the fridge. It will keep up to two years, waiting for you to use it in your delicious vegan recipes!