Updated: Aug 15, 2022
NUTRITIONAL YEAST ISN'T JUST FOR HIPPIES OR VEGANS.
Nutritional yeast, what the cool kids call "nooch", has finally gone mainstream. It's been a favourite amongst vegans because it's a good source of B12 (which is difficult to come by in many plant-based foods), protein and fibre and has a unique nutty, cheesy, savoury flavour when added to foods. A new audience of home cooks and experimental chefs look beyond its supposed health benefits and treat it as an umami-rich seasoning.
What Is Nutritional Yeast?
Nutritional yeast is essentially a supplement, condiment, and ingredient rolled into one.
The process of making it is almost as unsexy as its name. Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a type of single-celled fungus more commonly known as Brewer's yeast, is grown on cane and beet molasses for nutritional yeast. Once fermented, the yeast is harvested, washed, pasteurized and dried. The resulting flakes are mustard-yellow, their shape and texture often likened to that of fish food.
Since nutritional yeast is inactive, there's no chance it can cause yeast overgrowth in the body. Nor has it any leavening properties like baker’s yeast, so I wouldn’t plan on using it to bake a cake.
Why is It Good for you?
It gets its name from the protein, fibre, B-vitamins, minerals and antioxidants it contains.
Nutritional yeast is a versatile food that works with nearly any type of diet plan or eating style. It's naturally low in sodium and calories, high in protein and fibre, as well as fat-free, sugar-free, dairy-free and gluten-free.
Here's what Healthline sites about some of the main nutritional benefits of nutritional yeast:
It is a complete protein: Nutritional yeast contains all nine essential amino acids that humans must get from food. One tablespoon contains 2 grams of protein, making it an easy way for vegans to add high-quality protein to meals.
It contains many B vitamins: One tablespoon of nutritional yeast contains 30–180% of the RDI for B vitamins. When fortified, it is especially rich in thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12.
It contains trace minerals: One tablespoon contains 2–30% of the RDI for trace minerals, such as zinc, selenium, manganese and molybdenum. Trace minerals are involved in gene regulation, metabolism, growth and immunity.
Studies have shown it has a wide range of potential health benefits, ranging from lowering cholesterol to boosting immunity and protecting the body from free radical damage.
How do you Use It?
I'm here to make the case that anywhere parmesan cheese goes, nutritional yeast goes. It can be added to many foods to emulate nutty, cheesy or savoury flavour without using dairy. If it sounds like something you might consume for health reasons but certainly not for taste, news flash, it's actually darn tasty! Nooch has the magical power to approximate the coveted umami flavour found in the taste of both cheese and savoury stocks.
Nutritional yeast is often compared to cheese because it contains naturally-occuring MSG. Monosodium glutamate is just the sodium version of glutamic acid; which is responsible for the umami flavour profile of aged cheeses like parmesan. Combining nooch with the fat and protein of nuts and seeds, like we did in our Qspice Parmesan Cheese recipe, really rounds out the umami flavours.
I use nutritional yeast in the form of Qspice Bouillon for flavour insurance in soups, stews, rice, potatoes, pasta, gravy, scrambles and popcorn, to name a few. The value of the golden powder is well established with our Ichiban Soup, Qspice Popcorn and Qspice Bread Dipper recipes in the cookery.
It's quick and easy to make your own bouillon with Qspice, nutritional yeast and a couple spices. Or do yourself a favour, buy our new Qspice Bouillon in the same convenient 80g pouch in the shop. Mix and match it with your other favourite Qspice products to get our BTFF deal.