By Aylin Erman, EcoSalon
Taking an odd ingredient and finding even more unusual uses for it.
It’s not so much that the following uses are particularly unusual, but rather that nutritional yeast itself is an odd ingredient. It’s gaining popularity among foodies for its cheesy taste and nutritional benefits, but it still has a way to go in terms of becoming the pantry staple it’s meant to be. Nutritional yeast (nooch) is one of the only non-animal sources of vitamin B-12. It only takes 1/2-1 tbsp of nutritional yeast to get the daily requirement for B-12. Nutritional yeast is also an excellent source of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, chromium, selenium, and other minerals as well as 18 amino acids, protein, folic acid, biotin, and other vitamins.
And don’t worry about the yeast fermenting in your gut. It’s deactivated, so it will not give you the bloat. This is what distinguishes it from Brewer’s Yeast, which has not been deactivated.
As if popcorn couldn’t get any more addicting, nooch had to get involved. Sprinkle the powder along with a drizzle olive oil and a dash of sea salt onto popcorn just popped for a cheesy touch. Add other spices, such as garlic powder, dried thyme or dried rosemary for an even more gourmet experience.
Skip cheese and sprinkle a light layer of nutritional yeast onto pizza just after it leaves the oven. Cheese is hard to digest, especially when cooked, but that doesn’t mean you have to cede the taste completely. If you top a pizza with diverse textures and flavors, such as a robust marinara sauce, roasted vegetables and nutritional yeast, the cheese component is unnecessary.
Vegan Cheese Sauce
The food blog world is bursting with vegan “cheese” recipes – some simple, some elaborate – with nutritional yeast as the key ingredient. Check out Angela’s Low-Fat Vegan Cheeze Sauce on her blog Oh She Glows for a 5-ingredient approach. Head over to Epicurian Vegan for aheartier vegan cheese sauce that gets some extra bulk from cashews.
Replace bread crumbs with nutritional yeast in any mixture requiring holding power. This cuts down on the carbs and adds an extra bite. Try using nutritional yeast to hold together veggie burgers or any other patty that would normally require bread crumbs.
There’s nothing wrong with the standard kale chip recipe. But, nutritional yeast takes kale chips to a whole new level – a level that merits obsession and daily consumption. Try your hand at the Spicy & Cheesy Kale Chipspresented by the blog Eating Bird Food.
Macaroni & Cheese
We’ve already given macaroni and cheese a serious makeover, and nutritional yeast was an crucial player in this feat. Not only is this recipevegan, but thanks to nooch, it offers cheesy comfort to a creamy, sweet potato base.
Skip the grated parmesan and sprinkle nutritional yeast atop warm pasta along with some garlic powder and a drizzle of olive oil. The combination of flavors makes for a dish that doesn’t miss a thing.
Stir nooch into mashed potatoes, not only saving calories by nixing cheese but also cutting down on the sodium. Indeed, mashed potatoes can be healthy.
One of my favorite go-to meals is roasted vegetables topped with shredded cheese. On days I’d like to skip the cheese and opt for a healthier alternative, I stir nutritional yeast into the finished vegetables instead. When warmed by the vegetables, the yeast smoothens out and creates a creamy sauce with help from the vegetable juices and oils.
Roast nuts that have been tossed in some nutritional yeast. The roasted flavor will be augmented and the nuts will have a slightly cheesy coating on the skin.
Nutritional yeast has been showing up in onion ring recipes, and for good reason. It helps to increase the nutritional benefit of onion ring batter and adds an edge to each bite. Make the baked fat-free onion rings featured on vegan blog My Whole Deal.
Much like flour and butter are used to thicken a sauce, nutritional yeast can replace the flour to do the same thing.
Keeping your health on track during the holidays is all about cutting corners in small ways. Nutritional yeast can redefine gravy. Bring thissimple recipe to the table and the cheer will only heighten.
Want some added nutrition, crisp, and kick to a homemade version of baked French fries? Drizzle olive oil over cut root vegetables and then toss them in a few tablespoons of nutritional yeast. The flavor is out of this world.
Creamy Cooked Greens
Cooked spinach pairs well with cream and cheese, but you can replace those heavier add-ins with a tablespoon or two of nutritional yeast and then watch as the bare spinach suddenly becomes decadently creamy and bold in flavor.
Dogs need their vitamin B12 too, especially if your dog is on a plant-based diet. Mix some nutritional yeast in your furry friend’s nibbles and he or she will benefit in a major way.
If a baby is using formula in place of breast feeding, it is recommended to add nutritional yeast to the infant formula. Nutritional yeast provides B12, iron and folic acid, which are essential to growth.
Aylin Erman currently resides in Istanbul and is creator of plant-based recipe website GlowKitchen.
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