Meatless Monday – Nooch

Nooch or nutritional yeast, is very familiar to most vegans and vegetarians. It is a condiment and provides what I think is a missing link of flavour in a plant-based diet.

Nutritional yeast is an inactive yeast that is grown on a glucose source (usually sugar cane or beet molasses). It contains many nutrients, is a complete protein and is often fortified with B12, that elusive vitamin in a plant-based diet. Once processed and dried it becomes yellow and is sold as flakes or powder.

Saccharomyces cerevisiae is the type of yeast used to make nooch. This is the same species used to make brewers’ yeast, baker’s yeast and yeast for winemaking. However, it is deactivated by heat during processing so cannot be used to make beer, bread or wine. Nutritional yeast is different from yeast extract (e.g. Vegemite, Marmite).

Nooch adds an umami taste to food and has a cheesy nutty flavour. Applications:

  • Use to make mac and cheese or a dry ‘cheesy’ powder to make your own Kraft dinner mix.
  • Sprinkle on popcorn.
  • Mix with almond flour or crushed pine nuts to make a vegan parmesan.
  • Add to any savoury dish or sauce to give it a “je ne sais quoi” flavour.
  • Add to meatless meals that mimic chicken or eggs (e.g. chickpea noodle soup, chickpea ‘egg’ salad).
  • Mix with breadcrumbs, salt, pepper and a little flour and use as a dredge for tofu.
  • Sprinkle on vegetables then roast them.

In Australia it’s known as savoury yeast flakes and in New Zealand it’s called brufax.

Are there other ways you use nooch?

The Nutritional Yeast Cookbook by Joanne Stepaniak

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