Nutritional yeast? No, you can’t make bread with it

2 October, 2020

What is nutritional yeast?

It’s got a less than sexy name and looks a bit like fish food. Yet, despite that, nutritional yeast has become one of the buzzwords in the food world so chances are you’ve heard of it,
even if you don’t quite know what it is. Let us fill you in. Although it comes from the same tongue-twisting species (the Saccharomyces cerevisiae) of yeast used to bake bread or brew beer, nutritional yeast is a very different beast (or should that be yeast?).

Unlike the baker’s and brewer’s variety, nooch as the cool kids call it, is a deactivated (i.e., dead) form. Grown on molasses, it goes through a drying process that breaks it down into bright yellow flakes (it’s also less commonly available as granules or powder). Nooch has been loved by vegans for years as a non-dairy alternative to parmesan. But, non- vegans are waking up to the seasoning’s ability to add a cheesy, umami-rich hit to all sorts of dishes.

By the way, umami is a Japanese word that roughly translates to “deliciousness”, used to describe savouriness (the so-called fifth taste after sweetness, sourness, bitterness, and saltiness).

Is nutritional yeast good for me?

Well, the name kinda gives it away but yes, nooch is a low-calorie, low-sodium, dairy and gluten-free flavour saviour that’s packed with protein, vitamins and minerals. Fortified nutritional yeast has had its nutritional content boosted, and is especially rich in B vitamins such as B12, an essential vitamin for a healthy nervous system and the prevention of
anaemia. As B12 is only found in animal products such as dairy, fortified nutritional yeast is a tasty source for vegans.

It is also a complete protein, containing all nine amino acids, which are the bad boys needed for every metabolic process in our bodies.

How to eat it?

Add nutritional yeast flakes to soups, sauces and dips, in fact, pretty much anything which would enjoy a bump of savoury cheesiness. Also, consider:

  • Sprinkling over salads, scrambled eggs and hot dishes, in the same way you’d add salt and pepper.
  • If pesto is your jam, The Minimalist Baker suggests a vegan version by combining nooch with fresh coriander or basil and pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil.
  • Transform popcorn into a seriously scrumptious snack with the addition of two tablespoons of nutritional yeast flakes and olive oil.
  • If you’re after some dinner inspo, how about beer-braised tofu tacos with spinach which deliver a flavour punch thanks to coriander, cumin, chipotle powder and, of course, nooch.

Where can I buy it around Chatswood?

Head to your favourite health food store or grab a pack at Woolies (there’s a Woolworths Metro at Chatswood Interchange). Once opened, store in an airtight container in a cool, dry
place, away from direct sunlight. If the temperature hots up, stash it in the fridge.