"Stock Your Healthy Kitchen" Part 3: Nutritional Yeast (aka Nooch!)

Superfood is an understatement. Nutritional yeast is a SUPER DUPER food and a must-have in a healthy kitchen. It sounds gross, right?  It’s actually an inactive yeast (so don’t use it in baking!), in the form of little flakes, and has a cheesy, nutty flavor rather than a bitter flavor like yeasts.


So, just to avoid using the word “yeast” so much, we’re calling it by its nickname from here on out - nooch.

KaleWhaleNutritionalYeastBlog

Nooch is a MUST HAVE in your healthy kitchen because just TWO tablespoons of the stuff is packed with protein (6 grams!), fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals (magnesium, zinc, vitamin B6, thiamin, and more). It’s been proven to boost immunity because of its antiviral and antibacterial properties. If you’re following a low-meat or meatless diet, it’s important to pay attention to your B vitamin intake, specifically B12, which is mostly found in animal products. For this reason, look for nooch that’s been fortified with B12, and you’re all set!

Now, on to the yummy stuff. Since nooch has a mild cheesy, nutty flavor, it’s a great savory addition to pretty much any dish. Since just a small amount of nooch is packed full of nutrients, you’re easily able to incorporate it into your cooking.

Add a tablespoon or two to vegetable broth when making soups & stews, cheezy mac, sprinkle on salads, popcorn, kale chips, and more.  Here are our favorite ways to use nutritional yeast, PLUS a bonus super secret recipe for our beloved Italian Marinara sauce. Because we love you guys. 

CHEESE REPLACEMENT:

A little nooch goes a long way when you're trying to make a dairy-free or vegan dish taste cheesy.  We use it to make fettuccine, mac n’ cheese, cheezy casseroles, enchiladas, italian parmesan, ricotta, pizza or anything that just tastes better with cheese. Add to sauces to thicken and give it that creamy consistency or blend it with soaked cashews or tofu to make your very own cheese. 

Recipes for cheezy things:

Our own Vegan Alfredo Sauce recipe

Stretchy, Melty Vegan Mozzarella Cheese recipe

 

KaleWhaleMarinaraNoochBlog

TO THICKEN:

"Oopsies, I added too much gosh dern water to my tomato sauce! It looks like soup!" No worries, nooch to the rescue! Nutritional yeast is the best option when salvaging watery dishes. Add about a tablespoon at a time, until sauce is to your liking. Not only will it thicken the sauce, but it will add the best savory flavor. Double WIN! Next time you make your favorite marinara, try adding nooch instead of cheese and let us know how you like it.

Ok, we don’t usually share our marinara recipe, but since we love all of you, here goes:

  • Sauté white onion in EVOO; when almost cooked, add 3-4 cloves of minced garlic 
  • Heat till onions and garlic are just tender.
  • In a blender, blend one can of stewed tomatoes, ½ cup of sundried tomatoes in EVOO
  • Add contents to onion and garlic mixture.
  • Add one can of diced tomatoes (San Marzanos are best)
  • Once sauce is all mixed together add 2 tbsp nooch, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, cracked Salt & Peppa, oregano, pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)
  • Let simmer on low heat for at least 15 minutes... finish with fresh basil and serve.

 

KaleWhalePopcornNoochBlog

TO MAKE UNHEALTHY THINGS, HEALTHY:

Did you know that with a little nooch you can make your favorite junk food snacks (like butter popcorn and Doritos) healthy and just as satisfying? Instead of popping a bag of Orville's Movie Theater popcorn, try purchasing a bag of organic corn kernels.  You can find them in bulk item section at grocery stores; it’s CHEAP and you’re avoiding GMO’s which is what most store-bought popcorn is made from. 

To make:

  • Add 3-4 tbsp of coconut oil to large skillet with a cover.
  • Melt oil, add ¼ cup of kernels, shake around till popped.
  • Remove from heat and add 3 tablespoons of nooch, Salt & Peppa.
  • Put cover back on and give a good shake to distribute toppings.
  • If that’s not buttery enough, add 1-2 tbsps on melted Earth Balance butter.

This will legit be your new favorite popcorn, delicious AND guilt free snacking… say whaaaat?!

So - what say you? Are you going to take the leap into NOOCH? You can find it in any major grocery store or just order it online since it's 2017: Bragg's Nooch

Let us know what you think!