Nutritional yeast is the secret weapon in vegan pantries worldwide. Affectionately nicknamed “nooch,” it’s a yellow flaked or powdered substance that delivers a giant hit of cheesy flavor. If you’ve ever wondered why cheese tastes so much better than milk, it’s the presence of yeast that makes the difference. And nutritional yeast offers those very same addictive flavors.
Vegan Nutritional Yeast Brands
There are three forms of nutritional yeast: large flake, small flake, and fine powder. I prefer the delicate texture of large flake, but all three varieties taste exactly the same.
I once encountered a brand that contained whey powder, so if you’re vegan always check the ingredients. These brands are vegan:
In addition to offering packaged brands, natural food stores usually carry nutritional yeast in the bulk department. You can also buy it online from Amazon.com and other retailers.
A few brands, like this offering, are made from organic ingredients and don’t cost much more than the regular stuff.
Anytime you want to add a cheesy flavor to your food, nutritional yeast delivers the goods. Here are some of the best foods to add it to:
- Consider it a mandatory addition to tofu scramble. To make tofu scramble without nutritional yeast is to waste everybody’s time.
- Topping for spaghetti with marinara sauce.
- Salad topping.
- Serve with vegan butter in baked potatoes.
- Sprinkle over popcorn.
- Mix with spices and water for a delicious vegan macaroni & cheese sauce.
Nutritional Yeast is, Ahem, Quite Nutritious
Just as tofu and tempeh were once obscure foods to Westerners, nutritional yeast is another formerly little-known food item that has gone mainstream. Along with its delectable cheesy flavor, it delivers an impressive dose of nutrients. Anytime you use it, you’re spiking your food with an excellent source of protein and minerals. As with every other yeast product, it contains loads of B vitamins. Additionally, most brands are fortified with Vitamin B-12.
Finally, I can’t let you go without sharing this 45-second Jon Stewart video on the virtues of nooch: