All About That Nutritional Yeast

Some call it ‘nutritional yeast,’ some call it ‘nooch.’ Whatever you call this yellow, flaky stuff, it’s definitely nutritious and can be added to just about anything for some cheesy and nutty flavor. Take a look at what nutritional yeast is and some tasty ways to use it in your online culinary class homework and at home.

But what is it?
Nutritional yeast is similar to brewer’s yeast or the yeast that you use to make bread, but it has been deactivated so it won’t make bread rise and it does not contain alcohol. Depending on the brand, this flaky stuff contains oodles of vitamin B, protein and amino acids. It’s soy-, gluten- and animal-product-free, so many people with Celiacs disease as well as vegans are big fans of adding the yeast to just about anything for some added nutritional value.

Quality nutritional yeast is made out of Saccharomyces Cerevisiae, a single-celled kind of fungi that can be grown on molasses. Once fully grown it is deactivated, removed from the molasses, cleaned and dried.

Ways to use it
As with nearly all foods, different brands have slightly different flavors. Experiment with different varieties to learn if you like a more cheesy flavor or a bright, clean version. Many people add the yeast to popcorn in lieu of cheese and butter for a dairy-free vegan topping. Add a little sprinkle of it to salads, pasta, toast, egg dishes and more if you like a little hint of cheese and want to get some extra vitamins and protein into your dish.

The Minimalist Baker makes vegan cheddar jalapeno biscuits with nutritional yeast that are super fluffy and amazing. She uses the nutritional yeast as a replacement for cheese.

There is a delightful recipe on The Vedge for tofu popcorn chick’n that is super great to put on salads and in wraps or to eat by itself. That recipe uses the yeast in a batter with all-purpose seasoning, olive oil, mustard, chickpea flour and water that is coated on crumbled tofu and then lightly fried. It’s the perfect vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free option to bring to a football game tailgate or movie night.

Minimal Eats makes a vegan pasta Alfredo that takes only 25 minutes to make and uses almond milk and nutritional yeast to replace cheese. The sauce is made with garlic, olive oil, almond milk, nutritional yeast, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Once you add it to gluten-free pasta, you’ve got a delicious healthier and less processed version of your typical Alfredo.

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