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Health Foods Demystified! Part 2 of 4: Nutritional Yeast.

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Welcome to Part 2 of my 4-part series: Health Foods Demystified, featuring recipes from the Happy Go Lucky Vegan. Last week we talked about Tempeh……

Welcome back!

This week we’re talking about Nutritional Yeast - or as it’s known in certain vegan circles, NOOCH. This is one of my all-time favorite ‘health’ foods. I eat it almost every day.

Nutritional Yeast (Nooch)

Right off the bat, let me say that nutritional yeast is NOT the same as the yeast that you use to make bread.

Bread-making yeast is considered to be an ‘active’ yeast - whereas Nutritional Yeast is ‘deactivated’. The deactivated yeast is cultured with sugarcane and beet molasses, and then it gets harvested, washed, and dried into its powdery, flake-like form.

Nutritional Yeast is exactly that - very nutritious!

It’s naturally low in fat, high in protein, and rich in B vitamins.

It’s also sugar-free, dairy-free, and gluten-free.

What does it taste like?

Nooch has a cheesy, nutty flavor that makes it a DELICIOUS addition to any number of recipes.

Where do you find it?

You can find it in any health food store - or you can order it online from a wide variety of sources. It comes in a canister and you should refrigerate it once it’s open.

What the heck do you do with it?

Where do I begin?

You can…..

  • Sprinkle it on pasta (or popcorn!) in place of parmesan.
  • Mix it with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar to make a zesty salad dressing.
  • Use it in certain kinds of recipes that call for cheese.
  • Use it as a seasoning on almost anything.

But don’t take my word for it! Here is yet another fantastic - and easy - recipe from my pal,  The Happy Go Lucky Vegan. Enjoy your Nooch!

Recipe!

If you’re like me, you’re always on the lookout for a healthy snack, or an alternative to a crunchy, salty potato chip. Although some potato chips are low calorie - consuming white, starchy foods on a regular basis can weaken the immune system and raise blood glucose levels. Have you jumped on the bandwagon and made your own kale chips yet? If not, run don’t walk! They are full of vitamins and anti-oxidants, and have considerably less calories than a bag of Lays. They also have a nice crunch and flavor that’s wonderfully addicting, yet they don’t require the frying and oils of potato chips. If you’re looking for a fresh take on traditional kale chips - or perhaps want a Super Bowl snack fans will not forget, try Cheesy Kale Chips. The combination of nutritional yeast, cashews and roasted red peppers create a zippy flavor that’s cheesy, tangy and full of crunch. Move over, Doritos!

Cheesy Kale Chips

1 bunch curly kale 1 cup cashews, soaked for a few hours 1/4 cup jarred roasted red peppers with garlic 1/2 cup nutritional yeast juice of 1/2 lemon 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Method: Preheat oven to 200 degrees F., and lightly grease a large cookie sheet. After washing thoroughly, remove the stems and tough parts of the kale, and rip the leaves into bite-sized pieces. Add the torn kale to a large bowl. Using a blender, combine all ingredients except for the kale, and blend for 1 minute or until smooth. Slowly pour the cheese sauce on the kale, carefully adding just enough to lightly coat the kale. The trick here is to massage the cheese into the kale without drowning the kale with sauce. This will ensure your kale has a nice crunch after baking. Place the kale pieces on a cookie sheet and bake for 45 minutes, or until the kale is crispy. Remove the kale with a spatula, and serve as you would potato chips.

About the author: Jesse Nattamai lives, writes, gardens and feeds her ravenous appetite in Tucson, Arizona with her spicy-food loving husband and adorable dog. She taught middle school history for five years, and currently runs her own food blog at Happy Go Lucky Vegan while freelancing for other related websites. On the side, Jesse enjoys leading tours and workshops at Tucson Botanical Gardens, and writing short stories.

HappyGoLuckyVegan.blogspot.com