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Get Your Nooch On! The Health Benefits of Nutritional Yeast


Nutritional yeast (also known as “nooch”) is a staple in my kitchen. Unlike the yeast used in baking or brewing, nutritional yeast has been through a pasteurization process that de-actives its fermentation properties.


While I used to have to buy it at a health food store, nowadays most grocery stores carry it. Of the brands available, I use Bragg or Bob's Red Mill. Before we became empty nesters, I bought nooch in bulk.


Before I show you how I use it, let me explain why you will want to try it even if you aren’t vegetarian or vegan. Nutritional yeast is...well, nutritional! First, it is a rare plant-based source for all 9 of the essential amino acids. These are proteins that our body must get from food because it cannot produce them itself. 


Additionally it It is loaded with B vitamins: 

  • B1 can help manage anxiety, improve sleep, produce energy and regulate appetite

  • B2 produces energy and regulates cell growth

  • B3 lowers cholesterol and surpasses inflammation

  • B6 supports the functioning of the nervous and immune systems

  • B12 forms red blood cells, reduces arthritis symptoms, improves memory, reduces depression 


A serving of nooch has 5 grams of protein (but none of the fat found in meat). Finally, it is low in sodium.


OK, so what can you do with nooch??


Nutritional yeast has a cheesy nutty flavor so it is often used in plant based cheeses. Added to soaked ground cashews, it substitutes for ricotta cheese for my vegan lasagne. It’s essential for vegan mac-and cheese. I sprinkle it on top of pasta in place of grated parmesan.


macaroni and cheese
Vegan Mac-and-cheese

Long before I adopted a plant-based diet, I was buying nutritional yeast to sprinkle on popcorn.


close-up of popcorn sprinkled with nutritional yeast
Nooch on Popocorn

Stirred into polenta, risotto or scrambled tofu it adds a cheesy note.


a dish of polenta topped with beans and spinach
Cheesy Polenta with Quinoa, Smokey Beans and Greens

a plate of scrambled tofu with tomatoes and spinach
Cheesy Scrambled Tofu

Nutritional yeast thickens soups and chilis. It’s tasty sprinkled on roasted vegetables like potatoes, cauliflower, and roasted Brussels sprouts. Next time you reach for the cheese, add (or substitute) nooch instead.


a bowl of lentil soup with carrots, tomatoes, and spinach
Lentil Soup

roasted broccoli and mushrooms on flatbread topped with melted cheese
Roasted Veggie Flatbread

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