Nutritional yeast, sometimes referred to as "nooch" usually comes in a flakey form that is yellowish and is used in recipes to enhance meals and make them taste more cheesy and also added on top of foods, salads and other meals.
It is used mainly by vegans and as an additive to help you get your recommended daily intake of nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
It's a great taste enhancer, if you like it that is and a great all round condiment, supplement or ingredient.
When added on top of food, it is more like a supplement and almost all nutritional yeast flakes are high in b vitamins, especially vitamin b-12 which is one that is harder to get on a vegan diet through plants alone.
So what would be the best nutritional yeast or nooch?
That depends, for some, it's the health benefits, if you'd prefer not to take a supplement in pill form for vitamin b12, then you can take nutritional yeast.
This is easily done just by sprinkling it on top of your salads, soups, pasta dishes or whatever you think would suit a parmesan style, stinky cheese touch.
We bet you've never thought of adding nutritional yeast to popcorn.
For others, it's the recipes and meals you can create by adding the flake to a meal as you're in the process of making it. There are literally thousands of meals that could be veganised and made plant based by using nutritional yeast instead of dairy cheese.
These meals include but are not limited to;
- Lasagne is great when you make a bechamel sauce with nutritional yeast
- Soups can have nooch added to make it cheesy
- Macaroni cheese is fabulous with nutritional yeast and really quick to make too
- Roasted vegetables with nutritional yeast
- How about nutritional yeast stirred in to some rice
As you can see there are more ways to gain the b-vitamin advantages than just consume it, by revolutionising meals.
Here is a fantastic book, all about cooking with nutritional yeast.
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Our Favourite Nutritional Yeast
So, which is our favourite nutritional yeast? Most nutritional yeast flakes are actually quite similar to each other, so don't worry too much about the brand.
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Bragg is one of our favourite and best nutritional yeasts. There are three reasons for it to be our favourite.
It is fortified with extra b-vitamins which means that if you are on a vegan diet, you will get that crucial vitamin b-12 which is a must have for those on plant based diets.
As well as being fortified which makes this a healthier option, it comes in more of a powder form than other nutritional yeast flakes. We prefer this when adding in to recipes and on top of foods. It disperses and mixes better with whatever foods we choose to add to it.
It tastes great, even on very simple meals, such as with rice or salads. It adds a distinct nutty and cheesy flavour, this may help because of it's finer flakes, we just love the smell and taste it adds to foods, it definitely enhances foods we choose to put it on top of.
Health Benefits of Nutritional Yeast
There are indeed health benefits of nutritional yeast. Most are high in protein and b vitamins, even for such small serving sizes you could get that extra few grams of protein you require to meet your daily goals.
If you choose a fortified nooch, you will get the RDI of vitamin b12 which is one of the harder vitamins to acquire in a plant based diet, but not impossible. Foods such as duck weed, seaweed and fermented foods and drinks can have b12 too but we still highly recommend fortified foods like nutritional yeast and a supplement if you aren't taking any of these.
You can also get a good amount of fibre out of them if you are having a few servings a day and other vitamins and minerals, such as:
The table above shows a the extra vitamins and minerals that you can get from one serving of Engevita Nutritional Yeast Flakes.
Downsides to Nutritional Yeast
Other than running out of nooch, which is not a nice thing to happen to anyone, are there any other downsides to nutritional yeast?
You may find that you don't actually like it's aroma, smell or taste, even when mixed in with some other strong flavoured foods. That comes down to personal preference, but we highly recommend you try it a number of times before deciding whether it's for you or not.
Some people love it on toast and rice, the flavours really stand out where others like it hidden amongst the meals other flavours and tastes and prefer just to have it for it's health benefits.
As mentioned above, make sure you're getting fortified with vitamin b12 because yeast can't actually make b12. This is done by bacteria and archaea which have the enzymes that are required for it's creation and synthesis. There is far more to it than that but having fortified nutritional yeast will help make sure you're getting your recommended daily intake.
If you are already on a supplement of vitamin B12 then you don't require fortified nutritional yeast and there are unfortified options out there for you.
Nooch can also cause gout attacks, so if you have stomach issues, if you are going to be trying it for the first time, make sure that it is in a very small quantity and build up from there.