The Mysteries of Nooch unveiled

What is Nooch?

Nooch, more commonly known as nutritional yeast, is a deactivated yeast, often a strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which is sold commercially as a food product.

Where does it come from?

Nutritional yeast is sourced from whey, blackstrap molasses or wood pulp. It is produced by culturing a yeast in a nutrient medium for several days.

Green lasagna rolls
Green Lasagne Rolls by Isa Chandra. Find the recipe here

The primary ingredient in the growth medium is glucose, often from either sugarcane or beet molasses. When the yeast is ready, it is deactivated with heat and then harvested, washed, dried and packaged.

It is sold in the form of flakes or as a yellow powder and can be found in most supermarkets, health food stores and online.

Read on to learn more about nooch…

Is Nooch good for you?

The short answer is yes.

It is a rich source of some B-complex vitamins and contains trace amounts of several other vitamins and minerals and is sometimes fortified with B12.

Nooch is a “complete protein”, meaning that among the 18 amino acids it contains, nine are essential ones that your body are unable to produce. It also provides the compounds beta-1,3 glucan, trehalose, mannan and glutathione, which are known to enhance immunity and help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.

Nooch contains the antioxidants glutathione and selenomethionine, which helps to protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals and heavy metals.

Many studies have shown that consuming antioxidant-rich foods, such as nooch, fruits, vegetables and whole grains, can help to boost antioxidant levels and defend against chronic diseases, including heart disease, cancer and macular degeneration.

What to make with Nooch

popcorn.png
Delicious Butter-Free Popcorn by Gimme some Oven

When starting out, you will notice how many will advocate the benefits of nooch and how it is essential to the vegan diet, but to a beginner it can be hard to know what to do with it.

Nooch has a strong flavour that is often described as nutty, cheesy, or savoury, which makes it popular as an ingredient in cheese substitutes. As such novice users are advised to think of it like grated parmesan cheese and to use it as a garnish to finish dishes, but you can also:

  • Sprinkle it on popcorn.
  • Add it to ‘scramble tofu’.
  • Stir it into mashed potatoes.
  • Add a little to the cooking water for cheesy polenta.
  • Sprinkle on any pasta dish.
  • Add to bean dishes and stews to enhance flavours.

A surprisingly easy-to-use ingredient that lends itself well to a wide number of recipes, nooch also has an incredibly long shelf life providing you keep it stored in a cool, dry, dark place and is kept well-sealed.

Macaroni Cheese

This vegan macaroni cheese recipe is easy to make and full of flavour. This can be served alongside roasted vegetables or for a real American-style treat, serve with these scrumptious vegan burgers by Sipping On Soy and crispy sweet potato fries.

Close view of mac and cheese in bowl
Comfort food that’s full of flavour!

Course: Main course

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Serves: 2-3

 Ingredients

  • 200g of dried macaroni pasta
  • 150g raw cashews
  • 30g nutritional yeast
  • 100ml water
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 clove of garlic or 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp mustard (Dijon or English)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • chopped chives, for garnish [optional]

Instructions

  1. Unless you have a liquidizer or a high-powered blender, it’s best to boil the cashews in water until softened (approximately 10 minutes) so that there are easier to blend.
  2. Cook the macaroni in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for 8-10 minutes (check packet for instructions) until al dente.
  3. While the pasta is cooking put the cashews, lemon juice, salt, nutritional yeast, garlic, turmeric, and mustard in a blender and blend.
  4. Gradually add the water until a smooth consistency is achieved.
  5. Drain and rinse the pasta, then return it to the pot and pour over the cheese sauce. Season to taste with pepper and garnish with chopped chives.
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