Friday, February 19, 2010


Do you know what "nooch" is? Until a short while ago, I would have guessed that its meaning was dirty and not quite family-friendly. In reality, "nooch" is an abbreviation of "nutritional yeast," and there's nothing dirty about that.

Nutritional yeast is an inactive yeast, meaning that it won't rise. (Of course this makes my rather dramatic imagination instantly fill with what horrors could might ensue upon eating active, unbaked yeast. Did yours?) This supplement is apparently the newest food blog trend, and I'm only now cluing into the party. I live in Montana, though, so it's okay -- we're always behind the times on fads.

But what's so great about nooch anyway? Why has its popularity exploded across the blogosphere? I definitely wondered, and so I went a-Googling. I discovered that nutritional nooch is apparently quite the nutritional powerhouse, especially for vegetarians. Nutritional yeast has oodles of B-complex vitamins, which are difficult to find outside of animal products and can manage both stress levels and metabolism. Nifty, eh? I thought so.

Then I discovered May's humnut cheese sauce. This innovative blogger uses nutritional yeast to create a vegetarian/vegan-friendly topping to replace cheese on her pizzas. May's cheese-less, hummus-ful nooch sauce purportedly changed HEAB's life, and food bloggers across the web are swooning over the stuff. Who am I to argue with that? I decided to get my hands on some nooch. (See how dirty that sounds?!)

Large flaked nutritional yeast in hand, I set about making a pizza topped with humnut sauce for dinner last night. The two major components of this recipe are nooch (obviously) and hummus. I was hummus-less, so first I fixed that problem. I turned this (a can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed, 1 heaping spoonful of minced garlic, 2-ish T lemon juice, a squirt of sriracha hot sauce, and a bunch of paprika):

into this:

With half of the humnut sauce's ingredient list accounted for, I began prepping my pizza. I followed May's instructions to the letter, omitting only the tahini because I just don't like it. What I did like, however, was May's method of cooking the pizza in a skillet, and then broiling it for a few minutes in the oven. I loved the texture and crispiness of the resulting pizza.

As you can see, after spreading on May's tomato paste sauce, I added some broccoli and sliced apple before topping it off with hunnut cheese. It sizzled away in a skillet over medium high heat for about five minutes, and then I set it under the broiler for no more than two minutes.

As for the effectiveness of the nooch, I'm still unsure. Was it life-changingly tasty? No, but it wasn't bad, either. I'm just not quite decided on how good it was yet. I ended up adding some barbecue sauce to this pizza at the last minute beecause I was afraid the humnut cheese would be kind of gross. It certainly was not gross, and I'm going to try it again. I'm eager to test it out with nooch nachos.

The vitman B12-seeking chef is not limited to making humnut cheese with nutritional yeast, though. There are a number of other popular uses for the supplement. The option that I found cropping up most often during my searching was to sprinkle nooch on popcorn. Vegetarian Cuisine's Suite 101 website offers a bunch of other intriguing suggestions, as well as info on nutritional yeast's benefits and how and where to buy it.

Want to try some humnut sauce? According to May, combine 2-3 Tablespoons of your favorite hummus with 2 Tablespoons of nutritional yeast. Add a bit of water to thin the mixture and voila! -- you've humnuttered.

So what's your take on the latest and greatest foodie fad? Do you use nutritional yeast? Does it leave you saying "bah, humnut!" or do you belong to the nooch fan club? What's your favorite way to nooch? And if that doesn't sound dirty, I don't know what does.


  1. Your pizza looks so delicious!!! Oh my goodness!I love nooch nachos, I have a post for the recipe (eventually!)Have an awesome day!

  2. Thanks, May! I eagerly await your nooch nachos. :)

  3. hi beth! i bought some "nooch" a few weeks ago and made katie's pumpkin sweet/savory sauce. it was ok. im not impressed with nooch but am going to try it again. because i still have some left to use up, hehe!thanks a lot for the nooch info!


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