“Oh no, I’m out of nooch! However will I make macaroni and cheeze?” According to Urban Dictionary, “nooch” is defined as “Nutritional yeast, the pungent yellow vitamin B-12-filled flakes loved by vegans everywhere.”
If you ask me, this is pretty close to fact. If there is one thing I enjoy adding to every single meal as much or more than I do Sriracha for its spicy kick, it’s nutritional yeast, or “nooch,” for its nutty, cheesy charm.
Not only do these delightful flakes carry with them desirable flavor, they are loaded with nutritional value. Nutritional yeast acts as a great source of complete protein, fiber and B vitamins and is low in both fat and sodium. Plus, as an added bonus, it’s gluten free.
Still, perhaps the best part about nutritional yeast is that it can be used in a multitude of ways to enhance any dish. And a little bit goes a long way. So next time you are reaching to grab a sugar-filled, calorie-laden dressing or sauce to add to your dish, grab for the yeast instead.
Here are 5 ways to incorporate nutritional yeast into every meal.
1. Sprinkle & Shake It
I like to think of nutritional yeast flakes as guilt-free parmesan cheese. These sprinkles can add zest to anything from heavier dinner items such as pizza or pasta, to lighter salad alternatives including beds of leafy greens.
For an “any time of the day” snack, try sprinkling these flakes over a bowl of grapes, blueberries or strawberries to offer a nice balance to their sugary, sweetness. Not only does nutritional yeast serve as a welcomed contrast to the sweetness of fruit, these flakes are also a great way to enhance your favorite popcorn.
TIP: Purchasing a jar built for sprinkling means you can have nutritional yeast on the table ready whenever a need arises.
2. Scramble & Mash It
There’s nothing quite like starting or ending a day with a cheesy tofu scramble. Rather than melting a cheese substitute, consider incorporating nutritional yeast flakes into your scramble, for a lighter, yet no less flavorful punch.
Nutritional yeast also fits in nicely with your mashed potatoes. Speaking of mash, rumor has it that CauliMash is quickly overtaking potatoes to be a frontrunner in the mash world.
3. Mix & Bake It
Since nutritional yeast acts as a thickening agent, try mixing it in with a cup or bowl of homemade vegan soup for a quick mid-day pick me up. For a more filling meal, consider pairing the soup with an overflowing bowl of cheesy citrusy quinoa.
While the mixing and baking opportunities with nutritional yeast are somewhat endless, a true winner and obvious standout is the comforting, classic dish—macaroni and cheese. All it takes is mixing in nutritional yeast with whatever non-dairy milk alternative you select to stir into your desired macaroni noodles cooked stove-top. If you opt for the more decadent, baked variety of this classic, feel free to pour into a dish, adorn with some cracker crumbs or “cheese” shreds, and pop in the oven.
4. Dip & Pour It
Did I mention how easy it is to make nutritional yeast sauce that can be used to dip veggies (or anything) in fondue-style, or pour over nachos? It’s more than okay to get a little bit saucy with nutritional yeast. In fact, it’s highly encouraged. Forget everything you thought you knew about fondue and think again. Think nutritional yeast! Try this recipe for a quick and easy uncheese sauce.
5. Keep it Raw
Nutritional yeast can be readily worked into a raw vegan diet as a staple in multiple ways—not limited to sprinkling. If you are looking for a ready-made treat, these Raw Kale Chips by Alive and Radiant are a worthwhile, cheesy splurge. Or, by following this simple recipe you can make your own baked kale chips. And there’s more where that came from. Here are a three more raw recipes incorporating nutritional yeast.
Check it Out
When it comes to selection, purchasing a large container of KAL Nutritional Yeast is a prime choice, and one that will last you quite a while. This non-GMO and B-12 fortified brand *contains no wheat, corn, milk, egg, soy, glutens, sucrose, animal derivatives, artificial colors, starch and preservatives. If you are looking to purchase in smaller quantities and test it out, nutritional yeast flakes are available in bulk at various grocery stores.