In July of 2017 I attempted (so hard) to cut dairy from my diet. In trying to understand how people manage to live without cheese, I discovered nutritional yeast and how it had grown in popularity among the vegan and vegetarian crowd. My first go was making a “cheese” sauce. The recipe had me boil carrots, onions, and potatoes, then blend that together with cashews, a little of the veggie broth, salt, garlic powder, and nutritional yeast. For me, nothing quite compares to real cheese, but this was pretty close! I now use nutritional yeast as a cheese flavored substitute when I want to eat a little healthier.
What Is Nutritional Yeast?
Nutritional yeast (aka “nooch”) is a food additive. It’s often made from the strain of yeast Saccharomyces Cerevisiae after being grown in sugar, then deactivated with heat. From there, it’s harvested, washed, dried, and packaged. Since nutritional yeast is inactive, it has no leavening properties like baker’s yeast, so I wouldn’t plan on using it to bake a cake. It’s called “nutritional yeast” because it contains protein, B-vitamins, and minerals.
Each ¼ cup serving of Bob’s Red Mill Nutritional Yeast contains*…
- 980% Thiamin
- 750% Riboflavin
- 290% Niacin
- 350% Vitamin B6
- 460% Folate
- 730% Vitamin B12
- 3 grams fiber
- 8 grams protein
*The % Daily value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
How Do You Use Nutritional Yeast?
Nutritional yeast is a great way to emulate a cheesy, nutty flavored dish without using dairy products, and seems to becoming a more common staple in vegan* and vegetarian kitchens. It’s also a good thickening agent. You can add it to sauces, soups, scrambles, sprinkle on top of veggies, popcorn—the possibilities are endless! You could munch on it out of the bag, but I recommend mingling with other foods since it has a dry texture. You’ll quickly find the fine powder tends to cling to your teeth!
*Not all nutritional yeast is vegan. Make sure to read the label first.
Why Should You Use Nutritional Yeast?
The flavor of nutritional yeast might take some getting used to, but for those who are lactose intolerant, vegan or vegetarian, looking to get more B12 in their diets, or just adventurous eaters, nooch might be worth a try.
Green Bean’s recently added several new Bob’s Red Mill products to the store, one being nutritional yeast (yay!). Bob was even kind enough to include two recipes on his resealable package. I’ve included them below!
These gluten free, grain free and dairy free crackers have a delicious, cheesy flavor.
- 1 Tbsp Golden Flaxseed Meal
- 3 Tbsp Water
- 1 3/4 Cups Almond Flour
- 1/4 Cup Bob’s Red Mill Nutritional Yeast
- 1/2 Tsp Salt
- 1 Tbsp Coconut Oil, Melted
- 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
- Kosher or Large Flake Salt to Garnish
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a small bowl, combine flaxseed meal and water. Set aside. Combine almond flour, nutritional yeast, and salt in a large bowl. Add coconut oil, lemon juice, and flaxseed meal mixture. Mix until dough forms. Transfer dough to a sheet tray lined with a piece of parchment paper and cover dough with a second piece of parchment paper. Roll our dough between parchment paper, removing and replacing the parchment as needed, to 1/16-inch thickness. Remove top sheet of parchment paper and discard. Cut dough into 1 1/2-inch squares or other desired shapes. Dock each cracker with a fork and sprinkle generously with kosher or large flake salt. Bake until deep golden color, about 25 minutes. Makes 50 crackers.
Cashew No-Cheese Sauce
Use this rich, creamy sauce as a vegan topping for baked potatoes, vegetables, pasta, pizza, or nachos.
- 1 1/2 Cups Raw Cashew Pieces
- 1/4 Cup Bob’s Red Mill Nutritional Yeast
- 1 1/2 Tsp Salt
- 1/4 Tsp Garlic Powder
- 3/4 Cup Water
- 3 Tbsp Lemon Juice
In a food processor or blender, process cashews to a very fine powder, adding a small amount of water if needed. Add nutritional yeast, salt, and garlic powder, and process to combine. Add lemon juice and water and process until smooth. Makes 2 cups.
Julie Cluggish is the Graphic Designer for Green Bean Delivery. She enjoys exploring new restaurants on Indy’s local food scene, branching out in the kitchen, and trying to get the hang of gardening.