Is Nutritional Yeast a Superfood?
Okay, try to say this ten times real fast, “How much nooch could a smooching pooch mooch, if a smooching pooch could mooch nooch?”
No, you didn’t land by accident in a Dr. Seuss book! Actually, nooch is the colloquial term for nutritional yeast. But what is nutritional yeast? I’m glad you asked.
To begin with, yeast is a single-celled fungus related to other fungi that we eat, like mushrooms for instance. When we think of yeast, our minds naturally go to the ingredient that makes bread rise. Nutritional yeast, however, is deactivated, meaning that it is no longer an active leavening agent.
Nutritional yeast(Saccharomyces Cerevisiae) is cultivated on molasses, then harvested, washed and dried. Heat is used in the drying process to “deactivate” or kill the living yeast.
This is where nooch, or nutritional yeast, really departs from baker’s yeast or brewer’s yeast. Nutritional yeast is more than a mere ingredient and earns the status as a food product in its own right. In fact, nutritional yeast belongs to that elite group of foods known as “superfoods.”
Nutritional Yeast Benefits
Superfoods naturally contain large amounts of vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients. Nutritional yeast is rich in the B-complex vitamins, essentially providing you with energy and helping you to maintain proper brain function. Among many other important function, B-complex vitamins are also essential for beautiful, healthy hair.
Furthermore, nooch qualifies as a complete protein, containing all 18 amino acids., Nutritional yeast also boasts hefty concentrations of dietary:
While vitamin B12 does not occur naturally in plant foods, nutritional yeast is often fortified with this important vitamin. Vitamin B12 helps to maintain a healthy digestive system, reduces fatigue and regulates our central nervous system, minimizing stress.
Nutritional yeast comes in the form of either small, golden flakes or powder. It’s gluten-free, free of sugar, low in fat and considered vegan. Consequently, nooch is much loved among vegetarians and vegans.
Whether you avoid animal products or not, nooch offers a great source of protein and adds a delicious, savory flavor to many recipes. Many describe the taste of noochas cheesy or nutty.
If you are prone to yeast infections, you might wonder whether you should avoid nutritional yeast. Fortunately, because nutritional yeast is deactivated, it cannot cause or contribute to a yeast infection. However, if you have a known allergy to yeasts, you may want to proceed with caution regarding nooch.
Where to Find Nutritional Yeast
You can find nutritional yeast in the bulk-food section of nearly any natural food store. Additionally, Bob’s Red Mill, Red Star and other brands offer nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast does not naturally contain MSG, but some brands add it, so read labels to avoid MSG.
Uses of Nutritional Yeast
Due to its high nutritional value and pleasant flavor, nutritional yeast can be used in almost limitless ways. This superfood can replace or augment cheese and be added to breads, salads, soups, hot dishes, vegetables, potatoes, pasta, smoothies, and even sprinkled on popcorn.
If you’re a bread-maker and would like to enhance the nutritional value of your breads, you can add nutritional yeast to bread recipes at a ratio of 1-3 teaspoons for every cup of flour. This will not affect flavor or texture adversely. (Note that nutritional yeast, which is inactive, cannot replace baker’s yeast.)
Recipe with Nutritional Yeast
Easy, Spicy Mac-n-Cheese
- 8 oz. favorite pasta (I used quinoa pasta)
- 1 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk or your favorite unsweetened non-dairy milk
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 heaping tablespoons flour (spelt, rice, tapioca or all-purpose)
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder
- Mineral salt, to taste
- Cook your pasta according to package. Drain and place back in pot, set aside.
- In a small/medium sauce pan, heat oil over medium heat, add flour and whisk to incorporate. Continue whisking and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add milk slowly, whisking constantly.
- Turn heat to low and cook until sauce thickens, about 8 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Remove from heat. Stir in nutritional yeast, salt, garlic powder, chili powder and chipotle powder. Stir until everything is incorporated and smooth again. Taste for flavor.
- Add sauce to the pasta, toss well, add more milk as needed and serve right away.
Whether you’re motivated by its taste, nutritional value, or vegan properties, nutritional yeast offers amazing new horizons in culinary exploration! Nooch is a versatile ingredient to add your favorite dressing, salad, vegetables or burger.
How will you begin enjoying the values of this unique, delicious superfood?