All vegans come across the term ‘nooch’ (nutritional yeast) at some point. Whether you’re looking up non-dairy mac and cheese recipes on Pinterest, or scrolling down your favorite vegan cooking page on Instagram, nutritional yeast is bound to pop up somewhere. Although it’s been around for a while, and is especially known as a great addition to popcorn, this particular seasoning holds a very special place in every vegan’s heart… and stomach.
Not only is it packed with protein, fiber, and usually fortified with vitamin B12, it also has a very distinctive cheesy flavor that makes for the perfect addition to any cheese substitute recipe! However, we love to sprinkle it on EVERYTHING. Keep reading and learn all about this unique ingredient!
What Exactly Is ‘Nooch’?
Nooch, as vegans tend to call nutritional yeast, is an inactive yeast product, made from the species Saccharomyces cerevisiae. It’s the same species used to make brewer’s yeast; however, it undergoes a different processing method. First, the yeast is fed diluted beet or cane molasses in a small flask. Then, it’s transferred to larger containers and separated from the alcohol produced in the fermentation process, and refrigerated.
At this point, it’s fed more molasses and the acidity levels are carefully measured until it’s time to harvest the yeast. Finally, the yeast is separated from the liquid and carefully dried, until we end up with yellow, cheesy, nutritious flakes!
Why Should I Eat Nutritional Yeast?
Nutritional yeast is not only delicious and a great parmesan alternative; it’s also incredibly nutritious, depending on the brand you purchase. We’ll be listing various popular brands below, so stay tuned!
Some of the nutrients in nutritional yeast include large amounts of B vitamins, protein, and fiber. It can help improve immune function, and boost your mood! Just avoid it if you’re suffering from Crohn’s Disease.
How Do I Use It?
The simplest way to consume nutritional yeast is as a parmesan replacement: simply sprinkle it over any savory food! However, you can also use it in dairy-free sauces and homemade vegan cheese recipes to enhance their cheesy flavor. Some suggestions are:
- Sprinkled over popcorn
- In vegan mac & cheese
- As the main ingredient in vegan parmesan
- In dairy-free alfredo sauce
- Sprinkled over pasta, avocado toast, stews, or any other savory dish
- As a topping on your salads
- In gravies, to enhance their ‘umami’ flavor
Which Brand Should I Buy?
There are plenty of brands available on the market today with incredible nutritional profiles! Check them out!
NOW Nutritional Yeast Flakes
Processed in a controlled environment and sold by weight, NOW’s nutritional yeast is an excellent option for all vegans, as it can contain up to 580% of your RDA of vitamin B12! It also exceeds your RDA of thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, folate, and vitamin B6, all for only 20 calories and a delicious cheesy addition to your meals!
Bragg Nutritional Yeast
This non-GMO product is one of the most popular nutritional yeasts in the vegan world. Not only is it widely available, it also contains more 470% of your daily vitamin B12 requirements in just 1 tablespoon, plus all the other B vitamins you need to keep your immune system strong, and your mood elevated! This low-sodium nooch could easily become your go-to seasoning!
Red Star Savory Nutritional Yeast Flakes
Red Star has for a long time been our go-to nooch, since it contains 1000% of the vitamin B12 RDA in just 1 1/2 tablespoons, and a bonus 8g of protein! Every aspect of the production process is carefully controlled at their GMP-certified facilities, and it’s non-GMO certified. Additionally, it’s loaded with beneficial dietary fiber and antioxidants! Make sure to grab this one if you spot it at your local health store!
Bob’s Red Mill Nutritional Yeast
Another excellent option is Bob’s Red Mill’s Nutritional Yeast! The taste of this one is described as buttery and cheesy (without the cholesterol), and it comes in a resealable package. Additionally, it contains 367% of your RDA of vitamin B12 in just 2 tablespoons! Definitely worth trying out!
We hope you can now successfully navigate the world of nooch! This product will boost the nutrition in all your meals and quickly become one of your favorite vegan ingredients. Hopefully, this info can help you begin to see that veganism is not restrictive, but rather a journey of discovery of new and exciting foods you’d never heard of before! But hey, before you head off to purchase your own bottle of nooch, make sure to check out our nutritional comparison table below, so you can see which product is right for you. Remember, I am rooting for you! To your vegan success!