The name may sound silly, but we assure you nooch is something you’ll want to start eating.
Keywords: vegan, veganism, vegetarian, nutritional yeast, nooch
One of the most common staples for vegans is nutritional yeast. It’s so popular, in fact, even non-vegans have heard of this product before. Also known as nooch, nutritional yeast adds a cheesy, umami flavour to dishes. From vegan mac and cheese to scrambled “eggs,” nutritional yeast is one of the most versatile ingredients. But did you know that in addition to providing that tantalizing je ne sais quoi to your meals, nutritional yeast is also very nutritious (it’s right in the name!)?
Here’s why nooch is one of our favourite vegan ingredients. You gotta eat this!
So, what is nutritional yeast?
You know when you’re baking cinnamon buns, and your recipe asks for active dry yeast? Active dry yeast is a leavening agent that helps baked goods rise. Nutritional yeast is the opposite of that—in that it’s actually deactivated yeast. Don’t expect it to froth up when suspended in water as with active dry yeast!
Nutritional yeast usually comes in either flaked or powdered form. Though previously it was only available at health food stores, it’s now widely available at most grocery stores.
Chock full of the good stuff
Cheese made of dairy is one of those things that new vegans may have a hard time saying goodbye to. Luckily, nutritional yeast is a great replacement that’s not only delicious, but it’s low in calories, too.
Small but mighty, these little flakes are packed with nutrients. Nutritional yeast is a great source of protein and dietary fibre, and contains essential minerals and vitamins, including magnesium, zinc, copper, B12, B1, B9, B6, and B3, and it’s also rich in iron and potassium. Since many of these nutrients are usually found in animal products, nooch is an easy way for vegans and vegetarians to get them without having to consume animal products.
As well, nooch has the ability to help lower cholesterol and can also help stabilize blood sugar since it’s a low-glycemic food. Those sensitive to gluten can rest easy, as nooch is 100% gluten-free.
Of course, as with all foods, it’s important not to overindulge. Since nooch is high in fibre, nooch can cause gas and bloating.
How should I use it?
Nooch can be incorporated in a wide array of dishes! Here are some of our favourite ways to use nooch:
Tofu “Egg Scramble”
Tofu is a wonderful egg replacement, and adding nooch is a great way to amp up its nutritional value, while also giving the dish a little more zip.
When we say nutritional yeast is good in everything, we really mean everything. This recipe from Tasting Table takes nooch and adds it to some spices, creating something wonderfully balanced that can be sprinkled on everything, from vinaigrettes to popcorn.
Didn’t we say that nooch is a great cheese substitute? This recipe is like the broccoli with dairy cheese of days past, but keeps the broccoli nice and charred (as opposed to what happens when slathered in a heavy cheese sauce) thanks to the nutritional yeast.
Vegan Mac and Cheese
You know we had to do it. There’s something undeniably comforting about a deliciously savoury macaroni and cheese, and luckily, the vegan alternative is just as good—and in some cases better—than mac and cheese made with dairy cheese. This recipe from Loving It Vegan uses nooch, coconut milk, vegetable stock, and some spices to create a mouthwatering and luscious cheese sauce that you’ll want to dive into head first.
Clearly, nutritional yeast is both versatile and good for you, which means there’s no reason not to start incorporating it into your diet! Whether in powder or flake form, nooch is something that every vegan should have in their pantry.
Do you like nooch? What’s your favourite way to use it? Let us know in the comments section!