You may have cooked with nutritional yeast before or heard about it from a vegan food-loving friend.
Many of us know this yellow-hued wonder is often used in vegan mac and cheese, but what exactly is it and how do you cook with it?
As it turns out, there are many ways to use nutritional yeast while cooking. It’s an excellent ingredient to keep on hand for vegan cooking, as it provides a wonderful cheese-like taste (without any cheese at all).
Vegan or not, nutritional yeast is a wonderful and tasty thing to add to your kitchen! Let’s take a closer look at some of the surprising nutritional yeast uses and see how you can start incorporating it into everything from popcorn to risotto.
What is Nutritional Yeast
Different from active dry yeast, nutritional yeast (or “nooch” as it’s sometimes called) is an inactive form of a particular yeast strain called Saccharomyces cerevisiae. You can find nutritional yeast flakes or yellow nutritional yeast powder in health foods stores and natural markets.
At Bob’s Red Mill, our Nutritional Yeast Flakes offer a pleasantly cheesy flavor and provide 8 grams of protein per serving. They are rich in vitamin B12 and are a wonderful vegetarian dietary supplement.
How to Use Nutritional Yeast
- Oven baked chicken
- Baked potato chips
- Vegan artisan cheese
- Vegan sour cream
- Baked potatoes
- Creamy risotto
- Baked chickpeas
- Cheese soup
- Scrambled eggs
- Vegan hollandaise sauce
- Kale chips
- Roasted veggies
- Biscuit batter
- Vegan pesto
Nutritional Yeast Recipes
If you’re ready to cook, bake and create sauces with nutritional yeast, check out some of the delicious recipes below, from burgers to breads to dog treats!
These Hemp Burgers utilize ingredients like tofu, Hulled Hemp Seed, Shelled Sunflower Seeds, dried bread crumbs and nutritional yeast to form their delicious base. Soy sauce, garlic, basil, parsley, thyme and garlic powder are added for an extra flavor boost. After forming the mixture into 32 small meatballs (or 16 large) bake your burgers on a prepared baking pan at 325°F for 10 minutes, then flip and cook another 5-10 minutes until the burgers are evenly browned. Top them with tomatoes, lettuce and the accompaniments of your choice for a fantastic alternative to meat burgers.
Cashew No Cheese Sauce
Not into dairy cheese? No problem! This rich, cheesy Cashew No Cheese Sauce is made without the dairy from just six ingredients. Nutritional yeast combines with cashews, salt, garlic powder, water and lemon juice for a flavorful and delicious “cheese sauce” that can be used on everything from broccoli to nachos to noodles. In fact, it’s so good, you might be tempted to dip your spoon in and eat it on its own!
Vegan Quinoa Mushroom Risotto
This hearty Vegan Quinoa Mushroom Risotto is perfect for the cooler months. It’s easy to prepare and offers a healthy spin on a classic Italian comfort food. It comes to life with shallots, garlic, mushrooms, Tri-Color Quinoa, Cashew Milk, vegetable broth, salt, pepper and nutritional yeast. To make it extra creamy, make your own cashew milk by blending 1 cup of whole cashews and 1 cup of water on high until smooth. If you’d like to make this dish with meat, try a mix of spicy and sweet chicken sausage.
Almond Meal Bread
Nutritional yeast can be added to breads, too, like in this recipe for Almond Meal Bread. It’s made with warm water, Whole Wheat Flour, Almond Meal, evaporated cane sugar, sea salt, vegan butter, acting yeast and nutritional yeast. For a lighter bread, use unbleached white flour in place of the whole wheat (or do a mixture of half whole wheat and half unbleached white flour). For a tasty breakfast on the go, serve your bread toasted with a spread of coconut oil and homemade berry preserves.
Popcorn Three Ways
With this recipe for Popcorn Three Ways, you can fine-tune your popcorn depending on what you’re in the mood for (cheesy, sweet or savory). The vegan cheesy popcorn is made with popped popcorn, olive oil, nutritional yeast, sea salt and fresh chives for a bit of greenery. It’s an easy snack to throw together for movie night—just combine popcorn and add-ins in a bowl and toss by hand to combine and evenly coat the popcorn. Once you’ve tried the cheesy version, make sure to opt for the cinnamon dusted and parmesan parsley versions, too.
Vegan Mozzarella Cheese
In this Vegan Mozzarella Cheese recipe, ingredients like Almond Flour, coconut oil and Tapioca Flour combine with nutritional yeast for a cheese that slices, grates and melts. Use it on a pizza, for a caprese salad, or just on its own. It also makes for a nice vegan addition to a charcuterie spread or cheese plate. To create it, add ingredients to a blender, blend until smooth, heat until thick, wrap the cheese in plastic and use the method listed in the instructions to turn the mixture to mozzarella!
Vegan Smoked Gouda Cheese
While we’re on the topic of vegan cheese, Shea Cope of A Plant Based Soul taught us how to make this Vegan Smoked Gouda Cheese at the Bob's Red Mill Cooking School. It’s rich,
creamy and spreadable—and it tastes wonderful when spread on crackers or sliced fruit. To create it, you’ll need cashews, water, salt, coconut oil, onion powder, nutritional yeast, agar agar (a thickening agent you can find at natural foods stores or online), Tapioca Flour, white vinegar and liquid smoke. You’ll want to set aside the cheese a day or two to “age” it before serving, and keep in mind, this cheese isn’t meant for slicing or grating.
These Dog Treats are something your four legged friend will adore. Show your pup how much you love them by whipping up a batch of these whole grain, fruit and veggie treats. They’re made with Organic Brown Rice Farina, Organic Whole Wheat Flour, Barley Flour, Whole Grain Oat Flour, Wheat Germ, Nutritional Yeast, Organic Quick Cooking Rolled Oats, water or broth, pure peanut butter, eggs, molasses, diced apples and shredded carrot. After combining the ingredients, roll out to 1/4-inch thickness on a well floured surface and cut into desired shapes. Place 1 inch apart on the prepared baking pan and bake 20-25 minutes. Cool and serve to your canine friends!
Nacho Cheese Dip
If you have a hankering for a guilty pleasure turned healthy, consider this Nacho Cheese Dip your new best food friend. This divine dip is actually made with cashews, nutritional yeast, salt, paprika, chili powder, ground cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, water and lemon juice. After your cashews are blended into a fine powder, add the nutritional yeast, salt and spices, followed by lemon juice and water. Serve your dip warm with good store bought tortilla chips or make your own by following our recipe for Homemade Tortillas. To make this into a meal, add an assortment of beans to your tortilla chips, some shredded chicken, guacamole and pico de gallo. Top your dinner with a drizzle of nacho cheese dip, and you’ll be in heaven!
BBQ Gluten Strips
This meatless option for BBQ Gluten Strips is made with a mixture of Vital Wheat Gluten, nutritional yeast, marjoram, onion powder, sage, salt, water, tamari and vegetable oil, as well as a mixture ofchopped onion, vegetable oil, paprika, tahini and salt. Blend together the gluten, yeast and spicess before mixing in the liquid ingredients to create a spongy elastic ball. Once you’ve kneaded this, set it aside and prepare your tahini mixture. From there, you’ll blend the two mixtures together in a food processor, push them into a baking pan and cut into strips once baked. Spread with BBQ sauce, baking for an additional 20 minutes, and enjoy! Serve these tasty strips with a side like this Roasted Beet and Tomato Salad with Burrata and Toasted Pepitas for a well-balanced meal.
With its cheesy and nutty flavor, nutritional yeast is a great vegetarian or vegan substitute that boasts the nutritional benefits of B12 vitamins and high protein content.
Whether you’re using your nutritional yeast flakes for popcorn, hemp burgers, or as a cheese sauce, we hope these recipes have you excited to incorporate it into your recipes.
Have any favorite ways you use nutritional yeast at home? Feel free to share them with us in the comments below! We’re eager to know how you utilize this unique and tasty food in your diet. Because although we’re big fans of vegan mac and cheese, we know this food has endless potential!