This Nutty, Savory Seasoning Is Heroic In The Kitchen


Chances are your friends in the dairy-free, health-conscious and vegan worlds have known about nutritional yeast for a while, but it’s about damn time this handy health food becomes mainstream. People that are familiar with nutritional yeast call it “nooch.” It comes in golden yellow flakes or in powdered form. It has a strong umami flavor, with no added MSG, that can give a cheesy and nutty taste to your recipes. Its most common use is as a protein substitute for vegans and vegetarians and with the right combo of ingredients you can make the ultimate dairy-free cheese sauce with nooch.

Ok, it’s not as intriguing as baked brie or a seven-cheese mac and cheese, we know, but nutritional yeast can definitely hold its own. Don’t be intimidated, it’s really just glucose that comes from sugarcane or beet molasses. Nutritional yeast is similar to the yeast you’d find in bread, but doesn’t have the same leavening abilities.

You’ll find nutritional yeast in those bulk bins at your local health food store. Aside from being high in B12 vitamins, nooch is a complete protein and contains iron. While nothing can truly replace creamy goat cheese or an earthy Parmigiano-Reggiano, vegans and people avoiding dairy can get crafty with this nutritional powder in all kinds of indulgent recipes. When you’re looking at a recipe and it calls for Parmesan, nutritional yeast will be your hero with its nutty, umami-like qualities.

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Sprinkle the savory seasoning over your salads, roasted veggies and pasta dishes. Since it’s a dry powder, mix it with extra virgin olive oil, or another cooking liquid, to create a coating or a sauce. A heaping tablespoon has around 60 calories and 8 grams of protein. While this versatile ingredient has a strong savory flavor, it has no sodium and packs in protein. You can make “cheesy” roasted chickpeas, vegan queso, cauliflower mac and cheese, vegan spinach dip or dairy-free “cheesy” crackers for a snack. If you have your eye on a particular recipe, but don’t want or can’t have the dairy, you have a close second that’s packed with nutrients.

Even if you don’t have any dietary restrictions, nutritional yeast is still worth incorporating into your diet from a health and culinary perspective. Use it to add an extra layer of flavor to breadcrumbs for fried fish tacos or mix it in with yogurt for a tart-sweet-savory situation. Let your imagination go wild. It’s crazy how often nooch can come to the rescue when you’re cooking.

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