broccoli cheese soup

Vegans are crafty—both by necessity and let’s call it…sheer awesomeness. Food is not something we take lightly, and while there are many food products we avoid, the ones we do embrace are usually pretty special. Like nutritional yeast. Or as some like to call it: Nooch.

Similar to brewer’s yeast in taste and texture, but nutritional yeast is deactivated—meaning it won’t make your bread rise. It has a bevvy of nutritional benefits. For vegans, the main boost comes by way of B12—an essential nutrient for health (which is not usually inherent to the yeast, but added for vegans).

If you’ve ever wondered what in the world we do with the flaky yellow stuff, you might be surprised at just how many ways nutritional yeast gets around the vegan kitchen. Personally, I put nutritional yeast near the top of my kitchen essentials along with olive oil, salt and pepper. It’s a creamy, cheesy super versatile food that makes everything yummier. Here are some of my favorite uses for nutritional yeast:

  1. Here’s the best and easiest vegan macaroni and cheese ever: mix ½ cup nooch with ¼ cup warm water, lots of olive oil, salt and pepper and serve over a plate of warm pasta. (Bonus: add sautéed kale for a super nutrient dense boost.)
  2. Grilled vegan cheese is easy when you make a cashew-nutritional yeast cheese spread.
  3. Make kale chips. There are many kale chip recipes out there…my favorites are the nacho-y cheesy kinds, which usually get their flavor from nutritional yeast and cashews.
  4. Whip up a cheesy, delightful dip with cooked, pureed white beans, nutritional yeast, olive oil and a dash of lemon.
  5. Vegan gravy isn’t vegan yummy until you’ve added some nooch to your recipe.
  6. Homemade seitan is way easy and so much less expensive than the store-bought stuff. You’ll need a good amount of nutritional yeast to make it perfect.
  7. Add a few tablespoons of nutritional yeast into your mashed potatoes along with olive oil and a splash of vegan milk for a healthier side dish.
  8. Transform popcorn by spraying with olive oil and generously sprinkling with nutritional yeast. Toss until well coated and you’ll never miss the gnarly movie popcorn again.
  9. Warm up with a bowl of vegan broccoli cheddar soup by adding nutritional yeast to your soup broth for a thick and cheesy treat.
  10. Add to salad dressings for thickness and flavor.
  11. Sprinkle atop virtually anything! One of my favorites is atop bread smeared with fresh avocado, sundried tomatoes and a drizzle of olive oil. It’s great on top of pizzas, salads, sandwiches and homemade chili, too.

Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

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