recipes, weird ingredient wednesday

Weird Ingredient Wednesday: Nutritional Yeast!

Happy Humpday!

After a big day of teaching little kiddies (which included an epic, exhausting and disturbingly well strategized game of capture the flag) I was seriously starving when I got home. So I whipped up a quick meal and paired it with an old classic: Broccoli & Cheeze sauce…using one of my favourite “weird” ingredients…NUTRITIONAL YEAST (aka. nooch).

Find the recipe for this tasty sauce at the bottom of this post.

Weird Ingredient FAQ:

1) What is it?

Nutritional yeast also known as “nooch” (since those other words sound pretty gross) comes in the form of yellow flakes and is bright yellow in colour of. It is different from the yeast you use in baking because it is totally inactive and will not raise or leaven breads. Instead you eat it on its own and treat it much like you would treat any other spice in your cabinet.

2) What does it taste like? 

Nooch tastes very savoury & goes into that taste category that many refer to as “umami” (other tastes that fall into this category include fermented flavours like mushrooms, soy sauce, wine, tempeh & cheese).    flavour of buckwhat is bold – a savoury and strong, nutty and earthy taste – it varies greatly depending on what form you buy it in. Raw groats are not nearly as strong tasting as roasted kasha. And buckwheat flour ranges depending on the brand you buy.

3) Is it good for you?

Its good for everyone, but ESPECIALLY vegetarians because it contains high levels of B12, a vitamin that does not occur naturally in a vegetarian diet. B12 is essential for maintaining a healthy nervous system, plays an integral role in the production of blood cells & the absorption of other nutrients into the bloodstream. This is a biggie, folks. A B12 deficiency = Neurological Damage, Anemia, etc. = No fun!

4) Why am I such a fan? 

I could go on about the protein content or lecture you more about getting your vitamins…but honestly I mainly enjoy nooch for its cheesy savoury flavour. Simple as that.

5) Ways to use it: 

Use it as a topping on popcorn, pasta or salads – anywhere you’d usually use parmesan cheese is a good indicator that nooch would be deeelish.

I heart a seriously nooched up salad!

Or you could always whip up a batch of …

Broccoli “Cheeze” Sauce

  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp of salsa
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard
  • a palmful of salt (around a tsp)
  • teeny pinch of cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup water


Heat all ingredients except cornstarch over medium high heat. Once the mix has reached a simmer, add in cornstarch and water mix and continue simmering until mixture has thickened. Serve immediately.

Quick Note: There are loads of recipes like this that use a mix of flour & earth balance as the base of a nutritional yeast sauce. This will result in a much thicker sauce which would be great for dipping/nachos/etc. But I used this version since I wanted something I could pour, with a similar texture to the kind I liked growing up.

How would you incorporate “nooch” into your favourite recipes? 
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  • Reply Sparkina April 6, 2012 at 5:37 am

    Um, nutritional yeast and brewer’s yeast are actually two different things. Brewer’s yeast is a byproduct of beer-making and has a bitter taste. Nutritional yeast has no bitterness and is crazy tasty

    • Reply the healthy hipster April 7, 2012 at 11:01 am

      Thanks for the typo catch! The two are similar although you’re dead on about the taste. Although I have some friends who swear by brewer’s yeast while breastfeeding, I’ll stick to yummy nooch for the time being 😉

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