It’s cropping up in more and more vegan recipes and food blogs, but what is this flaky powdered wonder food? And can it really help recreate delicious cheesy dishes without the dairy?
We’re taking a look at nutritional yeast (also known as ‘nooch’) to find out what all the fuss is about.
So, what is nutritional yeast?
It may seem like a new gastronomic revolution, but nooch has been on the scene for ages, often found in health food stores.
A processed, dried, and inactive form of yeast, it’s usually derived from Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a yeast traditionally used in brewing.
The yeast, which is grown on glucose, is dehydrated and pasteurised. Unlike baker’s yeast, it can’t be used as a raising agent. It’s also not to be confused with brewer’s yeast, a bitter tasting food supplement.
How is it different to other types of yeast?
There are three main types of yeast which come from Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
- Baker’s yeast is used to leaven bread. The yeast is killed during cooking but leaves an earthy, yeasty flavour.
- Brewer’s yeast is used to brew beer. The dead yeast cells left over from the brewing process can be taken as a nutritional supplement, but they taste very bitter.
- Nutritional yeast is grown specifically for use as a food product. The yeast cells are killed during manufacturing, which makes this yeast inactive.
How do you use it?
Nutritional yeast has a savoury, umami flavour, similar to parmesan. Adding it to a dish can help create a rich, tasty depth of flavour.
While it’s often used simply to sprinkle on top of dishes, it works well when added during the cooking process.
Should you avoid nutritional yeast if you have intolerances?
Nutritional yeast is inactive so it can’t increase yeast overgrowth, However, some evidence suggests that people with Crohn’s disease should avoid baker’s, brewer’s and nutritional yeast, as they can trigger inflammation in the gut. If you find that yeast tends to cause you trouble, it’s probably best to steer clear of nooch.
Is nutritional yeast good for you?
As the name suggests, nutritional yeast packs a punch when it comes to health benefits. It’s low in calories, gluten and dairy free and a good source of fibre and protein. It also contains essential amino acids and is often fortified with B vitamins and minerals such as selenium, zinc, iron, and manganese.
The B vitamins may be especially helpful for those following a vegan and vegetarian diet who may be deficient in B12.
How can I introduce nutritional yeast into my diet?
If you’re new to nooch, you might be feeling a little stumped on how to use it in your cooking. But if you’re keen to reap the many benefits of this nutritious ingredient, here are a few good places to start.
- Try a lighter version of potato dauphinois, using nooch and vegetable stock in place of cheese and cream.
- Whip up a cheesy, nutty salad dressing by stirring nooch flakes into tahini and thinning with water and a little lemon juice and salt.
- Make a delicious vegan cheese sauce. Combine plant-based margarine and flour to create a roux, whisking in non-dairy milk and adding nooch flakes.
- Sprinkle over popcorn or pasta for a savoury flavour
- Use it to thicken soups and sauces, adding a boost of essential vitamins and minerals.
Take control of your diet
When it comes to food intolerance testing, it’s important to do your research and choose a reputable laboratory testing company.
At Smartblood, we offer a comprehensive test to help you take control of your diet quickly and discover your own trigger foods.
Our home-to-laboratory service gives you fast, accurate results that pinpoint exactly which foods you are reacting to. Tests are completed in our accredited laboratory by trained experts, with clear, easy to understand results sent to you via email within three days.
Dedicated nutritional support
Importantly, our tests include a telephone consultation with our BANT registered Nutritional Therapist. This additional support is there to help you understand your results and put a plan together to make safe, sustainable changes to optimise your diet.