By now you've probably heard of nutritional yeast, or "nooch" as it's known by super fans. These bright yellow flakes are inactive, which means it doesn't have the ability to leaven like the kind of yeast you'd use to make bread. That also means you don't have to cook it to enjoy it—you can add it to your food straight from the container and dig right in. As for what it tastes like, it's famous for its distinctive cheesy flavor despite the fact that it's entirely dairy-free. Basically, it's the secret behind all those "cheesy" vegan recipes you've seen floating around.
Even if you're not dairy-free or vegan, nutritional yeast is an ingredient worth keeping in your pantry, because it tastes good in just about anything. From granola to popcorn, it can add a much needed umami boost to whatever you're eating. (In case you don't know, umami is that savory fifth taste found in mushrooms and cheese, and it will make your food taste amazing). Plus, as its name indicates, the ingredient is packed with nutrients. One quarter cup serving contains 8 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber, and B vitamins.
If you're not sure how to get started with nutritional yeast, let these 21 nutrition yeast recipes show you all that it's capable of. Many of the recipes are vegan and dairy-free, if that's something you're interested in, but they're worth trying even if you're not, because they're totally, freakin' delicious.