Have you ever come across a recipe online or maybe while looking on Pinterest and noticed an ingredient called nutritional yeast? You are not alone if, like me, you looked at the words and thought, "what the heck is that?"
Nutritional yeast, sometimes referred to as "nooch" by those who use it religiously, is an inactive yeast made from sugar cane and beat molasses, and has a unique, cheesy, nutty flavor. It has gained a lot of popularity among vegetarians, vegans, and those who choose not to consume dairy because it can be used as, or to create, a cheese substitute for your favorite foods and recipes.
Not only can it enhance the flavor of your food, it also has some great health benefits! Nutritional yeast is a great source of B12, a vitamin that can be difficult to obtain in a vegan diet. It is also low In calories, fat and sodium, is gluten-free, and contains ZERO sugar or preservatives. It can even help to improve digestion and preserve your immune system. Can you say SUPER FOOD?!
As someone who has personally been trying to incorporate a more plant-based diet at home, I decided to give nutritional yeast a try. I went to my local Kroger and found some made by Bragg in the health foods section. You can find nutritional yeast at any health foods store, like Whole Foods, as well as most grocery stores in those special aisles that sell those gluten-free and dairy-free products, etc. I decided to get a little creative and experiment by making my own "cheese sauce." (Recipe is listed at the end of this post!). I was so surprised at how yummy my experiment turned out! By using nutritional yeast and avocado as my base, I created a yummy, cheese-less sauce that I used to throw on top of some whole-grain pasta!
If you are wondering what else you can use nutritional yeast for, here are a few ideas:
Mash up your avocado. Stir in nutritional yeast, garlic salt and onion powder until evenly combined. Slowly add in water until you have reached desire consistency.
I microwaved the sauce for about 30 seconds, checking and stirring it every few seconds to make sure it didn't burn.
Pour over pasta, rice, quinoa--whatever your heart desires--and enjoy!