16 Best Ways to Utilize Nutritional Yeast

16 Best Ways to Utilize Nutritional yeast. #8 just might surprise you! www.alexismathews.com

What is nutritional yeast?

Nutritional yeast in the vegan community is the number one vegan cheese alternative. More specifically however, nutritional yeast is a microorganism that grows on sugar cane and beet molasses. Once it is harvested, it is deactivated and crumbled into large flakes.

The uses of nutritional yeast are nearly endless.

Health Benefits of Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast is an excellent source of B vitamins including thiamine, folate, B-6, and niacin. These important vitamins are critical in converting energy from the food you eat and in producing red blood cells. Most sources of nutritional yeast are also fortified with vitamin B-12 which is only found in animal protein. Vegans who regularly enjoy nutritional yeast need not worry about being deficient in B-12. 

Nutritional yeast is also gluten free, soy free, dairy free, and low in sodium. These delicious and creamy flakes will also not aggravate gut fungal infections, otherwise known as candidiasis.  

Additionally, nutritional yeast is a complete protein meaning it contains 9 of the 18 amino acids that your body can not produce on its own. Compounds in nutritional yeast have also been associated with cancer prevention, enhanced immunity and reduced cholesterol levels. 

Lastly, nutritional yeast contains a significant amount of iron, selenium, zinc, and fiber.

So what are you waiting for, go grab some nutritional yeast today!

16 Ways to Utilize Nutritional Yeast

1. Popcorn There is a reason I have this use for nutritional yeast first, I absolutely love it on my stove top organic coconut oil popped popcorn. Popcorn with a creamy nutty topping is the perfect guilt free evening snack whether you are a vegan or not.

2. Beans I always have 2-3 different types of beans cooked and ready for quick easy meals. Preparing food ahead of time is a huge time and sanity saver for any busy family. My family all love a hot and fresh bowl of beans, regardless of the variety. To add some additional flavor and nutritional value I sprinkle a little nutritional yeast on top of their beans and happily watch them gobble it all up.

3. Vegan cheese sauce In our home vegan cheese sauce is known as cashew cream. We always have a huge bowl of it prepared and ready to enjoy in our refrigerator. When we want an svn creamier cheese flavor to our cashew cream I add some nutritional yeast, it is simply amazing!

4. Steamed veggies Forget the butter, oil, or any other topping you add to steamed vegetables. Add a sprinkle of nutritional yeast and you have not only saved yourself a ton of fat and calories but you have also added a ton of flavor and nutritional value.

5. Bread crumbs Bread crumbs can be costly when you purchase them in the store, especially if you are gluten free. Save yourself time and money, substitute nutritional yeast in place of your bread crumbs. 

6. Kale Chips When you make kale chips sprinkle a little nutritional yeast in the bowl and you will end up with an amazing flavor on your delicious chips.

7. Veggie burgers If you’ve read my blog for any length of time you already know how much my family and I love veggie and bean burgers. Although I don’t always list it as an optional ingredient in my burger recipes, nutritional yeast can always be added to the mix to add flavor and nutritional value. Nutritional yeast creates a vegan cheese burger of sorts, it is amazing!

8. Pasta No matter how you like you pasta you can always make it tastier with some nutritional yeast. It adds a creaminess just like if you had added traditional dairy cheese.

Are you catching on to the theme yet? Not only can you add nutritional yeast to everything, but adding nutritional yeast makes everything taste better.

9. Mashed potatoes If you enjoy the creamy butter taste in your mashed potatoes, fear not, nutritional yeast has come to your rescue. Add as much or as littles as you please, you will end up with a delicious creamy taste in your creamy fluffy potato goodness.

10. Thicken sauces Just like the traditional sauce thickeners you are used to, nutritional yeast will do the same thing but with more nutrition and flavor. Just add a sprinkle at a time, stir as the flakes dissolve and add more until you reach the desired thickness.

11.Soups My family adds nutritional yeast to all of their soups, even our favorite ginger and turmeric carrot soup. I will also occasionally sneak it in some of our broth based soups to add nutritional value, they love it.

12. Vegan pizza Yes, vegans can still enjoy pizza. Regardless of whether you add vegan cheese crumbles or not to your pizza, you can always add nutritional yeast on top of pizza for flavor and nutrition.

13. French fries Who doesn’t love cheese fries? You can still enjoy the cheese fry taste without the animal protein, heart disease, and cancer causing properties. Just bake your fries as usual but sprinkle some flakes on top before or after baking for a fun cheesy taste.

14. Sandwiches Be it vegetable sandwiches or wraps, I always add a sprinkle or two of nutritional yeast. I love the taste that it adds to my veggies and the nutritional benefits are to boot.

15. Salads Whether you add nutritional yeast to your favorite salad dressing or as a topping on your greens, you can’t go wrong with these delicious flakes. It is just like adding cheese to your salad but without all the nasty properties in dairy.

16. Smoothies Yes, you can even add nutritional yeast to your favorite smoothie. Of all of the options I have listed here, you will taste the nutritional yeast the least in your smoothie. In my experience, the fruits and other veggies in my smoothie mask the creamy cheese taste of the yeast more so than any other way. However, I know I am still getting all of the nutritional benefit of the yeast despite the lack of taste.

Do you have any additional uses for nutritional yeast that you would add to this list?

Vegan Cheese Alternatives

vegan cheese

When you live a vegan lifestyle there a few things that you just have to do without. Well, at least until you come up with or find a recipe to replace the commercially available non-vegan alternative. When my family and I first started eating vegan, cutting out all animal products from our diet, cheese was something we just eliminated. I avoided every recipe I found that called for cheese, found other snack options for my incessantly hungry toddlers, and essentially resolved to the fact that we just wouldn’t enjoy cream sauces or cheese dip platters. The benefit of our health was worth the sacrifice and honestly if I hadn’t of found the vegan cheese alternatives listed below we would still be “cheese less” and just as healthy. Now however, our range of recipes and taste options is just a big larger because of these amazing cheese replacement options.

Here are the three vegan cheese alternatives I use in my home most frequently:

  1. Cashew Cream: Unlike other lists of this kind I am putting my most favorite, delicious, and versatile option first. Honestly, the day I made my first batch of cashew cream time stood still. I was in awe of how delicious something so simple could taste. I use cashew cream anywhere I need a creamy texture or a cheese like spread. You can blend the soaked cashews into just a simple cream and add it to sauces or curries for a cream sauce. Add a hefty spoonful on top of noodles for an alfredo sauce. Or better yet, add some lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and salt for a vegan sour cream. Spread this sour cream on top of baked potato slices and top with cilantro, viola you have a delicious appetizer. Cashew cream is so incredibly simple to make, you will kick yourself for not thinking of it earlier. Simple soak your cashews in filtered water over night (or in HOT water for 1 hour if short on time). Place in a high speed blender or food processor and cover slightly with water. Blend until creamy and smooth. Nothing more and nothing less. You will end up with a cream that is so smooth and delicious! You can thank me later or throw donations my way.
  2. Vegan cheese: If you’ve been a vegan for more than a couple of days surely you have already seen the vegan cheese options in your local grocery or health food store. This option does not act completely like non-vegan cheese but when you need a crumbly cheese alternative these are pretty tasty options. I use vegan cheese in sweet potato enchiladas and any other dish where I want cheese but have to bake the dish. Thankfully, most of the larger bands of vegan cheese are not full of nasty chemicals which you might initially expect. When eaten on occasion, this is a great option not laden with nasty fillers and additives.
  3. Nutritional Yeast: Truth be told before switching to a vegan lifestyle I had never heard of nutritional yeast. Honestly, doesn’t the name sound a bit odd and offensive. Why would anyone want to possibly eat something that sounds so repulsive? Oh but wait until you’ve tried it. You will regret waiting so long to enjoy its amazing flavor. What exactly is nutritional yeast? Well friends, it is simple an inactive yeast. What it lacks in simplicity though it makes up for in taste. It has a nutty cheesy taste and is amazing on popcorn, garlic bread, added to soups, stir-fry veggies,  or on top of pasta. You might find nutritional yeast in your health food store labeled as nutritional yeast flakes or powder or even as savory yeast if you live outside of the United States. Nutritional yeast is also a great source of B12 which is an important vitamin for vegans.

So, whether you are a long-time vegan or are contemplating making the change in your lifestyle cheese taste is not something you have to do without. What are some of your favorite dishes that include vegan cheese options?