Nutritional yeast is the secret weapon in vegan pantries worldwide. Affectionately nicknamed “nooch,” it’s a flaky yellow powder 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.
There are three forms of nutritional yeast: large flake, small flake, and fine powder. I prefer the 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. The nutritional yeast produced by Bob’s Red Mill, Anthony’s, Braggs’, and 138 Foods are all vegan.
In addition to purchasing it bagged from the above companies, every good natural food store carries the stuff in its bulk section. You can also buy it online from Amazon.com and other retailers.
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:
- Mandatory for tofu scramble. Any tofu scramble made without it is wasting everybody’s time.
- Topping for spaghetti with marinara sauce.
- Salad topping.
- Serve with vegan butter in baked potatoes.
- Sprinkled over popcorn.
- Mix with spices and water for a delicious vegan macaroni & cheese sauce.
Nutritional Yeast is, Ahem, Quite Nutritious
Just like tofu and tempeh were once obscure foods to westerners, nutritional yeast is one of those formerly little-known food items that deserves mainstream attention. It can simultaneously boost the nutrition of your meals, while adding a fantastic cheesy flavor.
Anytime you use it, you’re spiking your food with an excellent source of protein and minerals. As with any 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: