Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

What the Heck Is Nutritional Yeast and Why Should I Use It?

Food
What the Heck Is Nutritional Yeast and Why Should I Use It?

When I first joined the plant-based community, I kept hearing about this mysterious substance called nutritional yeast. I found it in the bulk bins at my local grocery store and I bought a few scoops of the flaky, yellow substance. The next step: learning what the heck to do with it.

Nutritionally, this yeast contains folic acid, selenium, zinc and protein and it is often fortified with vitamin B12. Photo credit: Shutterstock

First of all, what exactly is nutritional yeast? Affectionately known as “nooch” in the plant-based community, nutritional yeast, often a strain of saccharomyces cerevisiae, is a deactivated yeast in powder or flake form that is sold commercially as a food product. It is grown on molasses and then harvested, washed and dried with heat to kill or “deactivate” it. Nutritionally, this yeast contains folic acid, selenium, zinc and protein, and it is often fortified with vitamin B12.

It is not the same as other yeasts, such as brewer’s yeast and should not be substituted for any other type. Though it can’t help you bake a loaf of bread, nutritional yeast makes an excellent vegan cheese substitute, as it a has a nutty, somewhat umami flavor.

So how can you use this plant-based powerhouse? There are a multitude of uses, but these 10 should get you started.

1. Pasta Pick-Me-Up

Nooch can be used in place of parmesan cheese as a pasta topping.

2. Make Super Soup 

Just a tablespoon or two of nutritional yeast enriches any soup or gravy, adding a nice depth of flavor.

3. Whip Up a “Cheese” Sauce

For those who don’t tolerate dairy well, nutritional yeast is an excellent base for a “cheesy” sauce. There are a ton of recipes on the web and finding your favorite is just a process of experimentation.

4. Pretend Parmesan on Pizza

Like with pasta, nooch can be used in the place of parmesan cheese on pizza. Sprinkle it on extra liberally if you plan to skip the mozzarella, too.

5. Make Your Salad Sing

Using nutritional yeast in salad dressings gives them a rich, creamy flavor without the actual cream. For a quick and easy dressing, add some nooch to equal parts apple cider vinegar and olive oil, plus some garlic and a little salt.

6. Bread Crumbs, Be Gone

Nutritional yeast makes an excellent binder, which means you can substitute it in any recipe you want to make gluten-free or carb-free.

7. Next-Level Kale Chips

You don’t have to buy prepackaged kale chips—you can also make them in a dehydrator, or bake them in the oven at a very low temperature. A nooch-based marinade gives kale chips an extra rich flavor.

8. Take Tofu Up a Notch

On the weekends, I like to spend a little time in the kitchen and splurge by making a big brunch. Scrambled tofu is a favorite. Adding a couple tablespoons of nutritional yeast just prior to serving gives it a beautiful creaminess and richness of flavor.

9. A Popcorn Partner

Organic popcorn with melted vegan buttery spread and lots of nutritional yeast? Better than movie theatre popcorn.

10. Great “Cheese” Grits

Grits are a Southern staple—and can even be vegan, though they’re traditionally served with tons of butter and cheese. Instead of the dairy products, make your grits with vegan buttery spread, salt and nutritional yeast.

These are just ten of the hundreds of ways to use nutritional yeast. Stock up and start experimenting.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

8 Superfoods You Don’t Even Know About

How to Eat a Low-Carbon Diet

7 Products Big Food Wants You to Think Are Healthy

Could mouthwash help stop the spread of the new coronavirus? Craig F. Walker / The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Could mouthwash help stop the spread of the new coronavirus?

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

This turtle dove is part of Operation Turtle Dove; the European Commission estimates there may be fewer than 5,000 pairs left in the UK. Ian / Flickr / CC by 2.0

By Naomi Larsson

For centuries, the delicate silver dove has been a symbol of love and fidelity.

Read More Show Less

Trending

We pet owners know how much you love your pooch. It's your best friend. It gives you pure happiness and comfort when you're together. But there are times that dogs can be very challenging, especially if they are suffering from a certain ailment. As a dog owner, all you want to do is ease whatever pain or discomfort your best friend is feeling.

Read More Show Less
Swimming alongside an animatronic dolphin, a person learns about hydrodynamics. Edge Innovations

Life-sized, ultra-realistic robotic dolphins could help end animal captivity by replacing living creatures in aquariums and theme parks.

Read More Show Less
A Stop the Money Pipeline protester holds a banner outside JP Morgan headquarters in NYC on Feb. 25, 2020; JP Morgan is a top contributor to the fossil fuel industry. Erik McGregor / LightRocket / Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

Green groups applauded Sen. Jeff Merkley on Wednesday for introducing a pioneering pair of bills that aim to "protect the long-term health and well-being of the American people and their economy from the catastrophic effects of climate chaos" by preventing banks and international financial institutions from financing fossil fuels.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch