Why hello there, nutritional yeast. You may have a homely name. You may have a strange appearance. But people really should get to know you, because you have so much goodness to offer.

You taste like grated Parmesan cheese minus the dairy. Some call you a superfood, and it's easy to see why: each tablespoon of nooch delivers 2-4 grams of protein and 1-2 grams of fiber per tablespoon depending on the brand, and often is fortified with essential nutrients such as iron, folic acid, and energizing B vitamins. And I'm not alone in my admiration.

"The reasons I recommend it are numerous," says Mary Purdy, a registered dietitian, nutritionist, and adjunct professor at Bastyr University outside Seattle. "I'm often recommending it to people who have dairy allergies and sensitivities. It's something you can sprinkle on top of pasta, on top of vegetables, or on top of soup to get that umami flavor."

It's also popular among vegans, who dodge dairy entirely. Nutritional yeast can lend cheesy goodness to sauces and dressings and casseroles, such as macaroni and cheese or a Caesar-like salad.

11 Recipes that Feature Nutritional Yeast

"The most important benefit of all is that it's highly delicious," Purdy says. "I put it on my eggs every morning. It's like having a little bit of cheese on top of your eggs." She also recommends it for baking non-dairy savory treats (think cheesy biscuits).

Are you nutritional yeast curious? Find it at health food stores and food cooperatives. #Protip: Look for a bulk foods section if you want to just try a tablespoon or two of it at a time. Store it in the fridge.