By Carrie Havranek
If you’re new to an ingredient, sometimes it can be daunting to figure out what to do with it, especially if it seems so ubiquitously buzzy that it’s all over the internet and your friends have already added it to their pantries. The same goes for nutritional yeast recipes.
Dubbed “nooch” by its devotees, nutritional yeast is a versatile ingredient that imparts a cheesy, nutty taste to foods it’s paired with. It comes in a powder or flake form, making it easy to swap it out and shake on in places where cheese might ordinarily be welcome, but without the stomachache that comes from dairy, for some. And that’s why it quickly made a name for itself as a nondairy cheese substitute.
Nutritional yeast is a species of yeast known as Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which happens to be the same yeast used to bake bread and brew beer. However, this ingredient is grown on purpose as a food product, so it’s not exactly the same. And during processing, yeast cells are deactivated so the final product is indeed a gluten free-item. Score!
It sprung forth as a popular food in vegetarian and vegan diets for its beneficial functions in both taste and nutrition. Packed with fiber, a slew of B vitamins, and trace minerals such as zinc, selenium, manganese and molybdenum, which help regulate gut health and immunity, nutritional yeast is a powerhouse. It’s also a complete protein: All nine essential amino acids are present, and one tablespoon offers 2 grams of protein.
Embraced by food lovers, too, for its umami-rich qualities, nooch is available like a seasoning from brands such as Bragg and Bob’s Red Mill, among others. Here are five nutritional yeast recipes that will make you wonder why you waited so long to try it.
A perennial crowd pleaser, popcorn is also a blank slate. That’s where nutritional yeast comes in. Simply pop your corn, and toss it in a container with salt and nooch, put the lid on and shake, shake, shake. Netflix and chill never tasted so good.
Combine nooch with some good spices and some garlic, along with almond milk and cashews, and you’ve got probably the healthiest nondairy cheese experience you could ask for. Dip your tortilla chips in it, spread it over enchiladas, drizzle it over steamed veggies—use it anywhere you’d love a melted cheese.
You knew this was coming, right? Where there’s melted cheese possibilities, there’s mac and cheese. It’s all about the sauce, which simmers together grated potatoes, cashews, seasonings such as garlic and onion powder and then blitzes them to creamy perfection in a blender with, of course, nutritional yeast.
This takes your standard issue kale chips and bumps them up in the flavor and nutrition department. Super snackable, they’re also super easy: just massage that kale with olive oil, and bring together the seasonings, which also include cashews, sunflower seeds, garlic pepper and cayenne pepper (if you like it hot), in a food processor. Toss it all together, put it in the oven and a half hour later you’ve got a tasty, cheesy, crispy snack.
Broccoli and cheese are made for each other, and roasted broccoli is general is a revelation. But this is dead easy and insanely good. Toss florets with avocado oil, nooch, almond flour, sea salt, and paprika. Roast accordingly. Try this with potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, or mushrooms—or a combination thereof.
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