Some of you might be thinking, "what on earth is nutritional yeast??" Others of you might keep hoards of it in your kitchen and sprinkle it on absolutely everything (yes, I mean everything). For any of you out there contemplating nutritional yeast, here is everything you need to know: what is it, exactly, and is nutritional yeast gluten free?

What is nutritional yeast?

flour, cereal, yeast, sweet, wheat, ginger, bread
Hailey Tom

Nutritional yeast is exactly what it sounds like. Typically described as having a cheesy, nutty, salty, or generally savory taste, it is simply a strain of deactivated yeast loaded with nutrients. It is typically sold as a powder or in flakes and is rich in protein as well as essential vitamins and minerals.

In particular, it is a vegan source of vitamin B-12, an essential vitamin that cannot be obtained from any other natural source on a plant-based diet. Two tablespoons of "nooch" (an affectionate nickname for the powder) pack in 9 grams of complete protein, meaning it contains all essential amino acids (that's over 1/5 of the recommended daily protein intake for women and over 1/6 for men).

So, is nutritional yeast gluten-free?

spaghetti, pasta, sauce, macaroni, basil, carbohydrate
Jocelyn Hsu

If you're avoiding gluten or are gluten intolerant, I have some good news: nutritional yeast is entirely gluten free! Gluten is a complex of two proteins found in grains such as wheat, barley, and rye. Thus, because nutritional yeast is simply a deactivated form of yeast, it is safe to eat on a gluten-free diet. If your allergies are very severe, you may want to double check that the nooch you decide on isn't processed in a factory that also processes gluten products, but the product itself is A-ok.

Where can I get some of this "nooch"?

Caty Schnack

You can find nutritional yeast at most grocery stores in either the spices, baking supplies, or health food sections. If you usually shop at natural food stores or want to check one out, most sell it in the bulk foods section. When all else fails, you can also find it online. Some brands opt to fortify their product with extra vitamins and minerals for a nutritional boost, and others choose to keep their product as natural and unfortified as possible. If you're unsure what to get, first consider your own nutritional needs and do some research to make sure you're getting the nooch that is best for you.

And finally...what do I do with it?

vegetable, pepper, feast, tea
Vicky Nguyen

So now you know what nutritional yeast is and where to get it, but you might still be wondering what to do with it. Here are some pro tips to get you started. Sprinkle it on everything (we already went over this...yes, I mean everything). Use it as a substitute for cheese on pizza, in pasta, or in some homemade pesto, or you can even try it as a substitute for salt if you're on a low-sodium diet. Reach for it to use as an extra seasoning on anything from scrambled tofu to mashed potatoes and more. Try incorporating it into your workout routine to pack in some high quality protein before, during, or after a workout. When in doubt, nooch it out.