Yeast is one of those words that evokes both horror and desire! Horror for the dreaded yeast infection suffered by so many women and desire when it is used to create delicious foods such as bread and beer.
How about a new way to use yeast? One of the latest food creations is nutritional yeast, known as nooch, which is both tasty and very good for you. Let’s learn about it.
What is Nutritional Yeast
The nutritional yeast we are talking about, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, comes from the same species of yeast that bakers and brewers have used for thousands of years. The yeast is allowed to grow on a host, such as grains, whey, molasses or sugar beets, and fermented before being processed.
The yeast, which is active at this time, is then heated and dried to render it inactive before being transformed into small yellowish flakes prior to packaging. The flakes are pale yellow in color and resemble grated cheese. They have a slightly salty, nutty, cheesy flavor.
What does nutritional yeast do for me?
Nutritional yeast has several benefits. The first and most obvious is as a flavor enhancer for food. The nutty, cheesy flavor will enhance any savory dish, and it’s also great as a salad topping.
Yeast is well known to be chock-full of vitamin B, and nooch is no different. Depending on the manufacturer, one serving of nooch can provide you with your daily recommended value of vitamin B and it is vegan-friendly in many cases.
Another reason for considering nooch is that it is regarded as a complete protein. It contains all nine of the essential amino acids that our bodies cannot create. Two tablespoons of nooch will give you approximately four grams of protein.
Nooch also contains iron, is sugar- and gluten-free as well as being low in fat and salt.
Things to look out for
While nooch is a versatile product and friendly to many who suffer from food intolerances or have specific dietary requirements, be sure to read the label and find out what the original host was for the yeast. Try to determine whether it was grown on milk products, nuts, grains, etc.
Nutritional yeast is high in phosphorus, so be careful not to deplete the calcium in your body. Ensure that you take in calcium or purchase nooch that has added calcium.
How do I incorporate it into my diet?
The simplest way would be to sprinkle a couple of spoonfuls over your salad or add it to a soup or stew. You can also add it to pizza, pasta sauce and even over popcorn for a new and exciting flavor.
Many vegans use it in place of cream to thicken sauces and soups.
Considering the phosphorus content, you can add it to a dish containing tofu, which is very high in calcium.
Nooch is a very easy-to-use and versatile product that you can incorporate into almost any savory dish. Just allow your imagination to run wild!