What is a good substitute for nutritional yeast? Well, there are a few good options. But some things first. Nutritional yeast is a great cheese alternative that I personally love it! I am obsessed with nutritional yeast. I use it in quite a few recipes. In homemade pie recipes, Pizza recipes, Pasta, risotto, and much more.
Nutritional Yeast in Vegan Diet
Nutritional yeast is a popular ingredient in vegan diets due to its unique flavor and nutritional profile. Here’s why nutritional yeast is commonly used in vegan cooking:
- Flavorful and Cheesy Taste: Nutritional yeast has a distinctive flavor often described as savory, cheesy, or nutty. This flavor profile can help enhance the taste of vegan dishes and provide a satisfying umami note, particularly in recipes that aim to replicate cheesy or dairy-based flavors.
- Nutritional Content: Nutritional yeast is a valuable source of several nutrients, making it a beneficial addition to a vegan diet. It is often fortified with vitamin B12, which is typically scarce in plant-based foods and is essential for nerve function and red blood cell production. Nutritional yeast is also rich in other B vitamins, protein, fiber, and minerals like zinc, selenium, and manganese.
- Vegan Cheese Substitution: Nutritional yeast is commonly used as a key ingredient in vegan cheese recipes. When combined with other plant-based ingredients like cashews, tofu, or vegetables, it can help create a creamy, cheesy texture and flavor. Vegan cheeses made with nutritional yeast can be used in sandwiches, pasta dishes, or as a topping for pizzas.
- Flavor Enhancer: Nutritional yeast can be used as a versatile flavor enhancer in various vegan dishes. It can be sprinkled over popcorn, salads, roasted vegetables, or cooked grains to add a savory kick. It can also be added to sauces, dressings, soups, and stews to provide depth and complexity.
- Protein Source: Nutritional yeast is a plant-based source of complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids. This makes it a valuable addition to a vegan diet, as it can help meet protein needs.
What is nutritional yeast?
Nutritional yeast is a product of natural fermentation and it comes from the natural fermentation of Saccharomyces cerevisiae in a sugar-rich medium, such as molasses or beetroot. It is then heated to turn off, washed, pasteurized, dried, crushed, and packaged. The cells in the dough are inactivated during its preparation and processing so they are not alive in the final product.
What is the nutritional value of Yeast?
It is an excellent source of protein, vitamins, and minerals. Its enriched form contains many B-complex vitamins, such as vitamins B6 and B12 but also thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin. It is rich in trace elements such as zinc, selenium, manganese, and molybdenum.
What are its health benefits?
Nutritional yeast offers several potential health benefits due to its nutrient content. Here are some of the key health benefits associated with nutritional yeast:
- Rich in B vitamins: Nutritional yeast is a significant source of B vitamins, including thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), and folate (B9). B vitamins play crucial roles in energy production, supporting brain function, promoting a healthy nervous system, and aiding in the metabolism of nutrients.
- Source of complete protein: Nutritional yeast contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein source. This is particularly beneficial for individuals following plant-based diets, as it can help meet their protein needs.
- Fortified with vitamin B12: Many varieties of nutritional yeast are fortified with vitamin B12, a nutrient that is predominantly found in animal-based foods. This fortification is especially valuable for vegans and vegetarians, as vitamin B12 is essential for red blood cell production, nerve function, and DNA synthesis.
- Provides minerals: Nutritional yeast contains various minerals, including zinc, selenium, manganese, and copper. These minerals play important roles in immune function, antioxidant defense, bone health, and enzyme activity.
- Potential immune support: Some studies suggest that certain components of nutritional yeast, such as beta-glucans, may have immunomodulatory effects and help support immune function.
- Fiber Content: Nutritional yeast is a source of dietary fiber, which aids in digestion, supports gut health, and promotes a feeling of fullness.
How is it consumed?
When stored properly, in a tightly closed food container or bag, it can be stored for up to two years. It can help sauces and soups bond as it gives them a more creamy texture. You can use it in soups or sauces and savory creams such as béchamel or mashed potatoes, and other vegetables. Sprinkle your salads, whether raw, grilled, or boiled, to add extra nutrients and more flavor. Try it on popcorn as an evening snack to avoid butter and salt. Add it to pasta and risotto instead of parmesan.
Is nutritional yeast the same as yeast extract?
While nutritional yeast and yeast extract are both derived from yeast, they are not the same product and have some differences.
Nutritional yeast is made from the deactivated strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast. It is typically sold in the form of flakes or powder. Nutritional yeast is known for its distinct savory, cheesy, or nutty flavor and is often used as a seasoning or flavor enhancer in various dishes. It is also valued for its nutritional content, including B vitamins, protein, and minerals.
Yeast extract, on the other hand, is a concentrated paste or liquid made from yeast cells, often including various strains of yeast such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The production process involves breaking down the yeast cells and separating the soluble components from the cell walls. This process results in a concentrated mixture of flavors, amino acids, and other compounds.
Yeast extract is commonly used as a flavoring ingredient in processed foods, such as soups, sauces, and savory snacks. It is known for its rich umami taste and is often used to add depth and complexity to food products.
One key difference between nutritional yeast and yeast extract is the presence of inactive or live yeast cells. Nutritional yeast contains deactivated yeast cells, while yeast extract is produced by breaking down yeast cells, resulting in a cell-free product. Additionally, the production processes for these two products differ, leading to variations in flavor and culinary applications.
It’s important to read ingredient labels carefully to differentiate between nutritional yeast and yeast extract as they can have distinct impacts on flavor and usage in recipes.
Substitute for Nutritional Yeast
A great substitute is ground cashews. Grid them, add salt and herbs, mix and you have a great alternative. Alternatively, if you want to use them in a cheese sauce, soak them for 4-5 hours and blend them with the herbs of your choice. Use raw unsalted Cashews from Jiva.
If you want to make thick consistency soups just use a little bit of chickpea flour. To add more flavor, mix the flour with herbs and salt. It’s better to use an organic one for better taste. I recommend Anthony’s Organic Chickpea flour.
Dried porcini mushrooms
Dried porcini mushrooms can be used as a flavorful substitute for nutritional yeast in certain dishes. While they do not provide the same cheesy or nutty flavor profile, they offer their own unique umami-rich taste and can add depth to various recipes. Here’s how you can use dried porcini mushrooms as a substitute for nutritional yeast:
- Homemade Stocks and Broths: Dried porcini mushrooms can be an excellent addition to homemade vegetable stocks and broths. Simply rehydrate the mushrooms by soaking them in hot water until they become soft and pliable. Then, add the rehydrated mushrooms and their flavorful soaking liquid to your stock or broth base. The mushrooms will infuse the liquid with a rich umami flavor.
- Sauces and Gravies: Incorporate dried porcini mushrooms into your sauces and gravies to enhance their taste. Finely grind the mushrooms into a powder using a spice grinder or food processor. Add the mushroom powder to your sauce or gravy mixture, or create a mushroom-infused liquid by steeping the powdered mushrooms in warm water and straining the liquid before adding it to your recipe.
Soy sauce is made by fermenting soybeans with salt. Although soy sauce it is not the best alternative, it can give a great taste to your recipes. Choose a gluten-free sauce with less salt. Use half the amount of soy sauce that your recipe requires for nutritional yeast. I normally use this excellent soy sauce.
There are also a few more ideas on how you can use soy sauce as a substitute for nutritional yeast:
- Sauces and Marinades: Incorporate soy sauce into sauces and marinades to enhance their flavor. The rich umami taste of soy sauce can provide a similar savory quality to dishes. Use it as a base for stir-fry sauces, glazes, or dressings to add depth and complexity.
- Stir-Fries and Asian-inspired Dishes: When preparing stir-fries or Asian-inspired dishes, soy sauce can be used to impart a savory element. Add it during the cooking process to infuse the dish with its distinct flavor. Keep in mind that soy sauce is salty, so you may need to adjust the overall salt content of your recipe accordingly.
- Seasoning and Seasoning Blends: Use soy sauce as part of your seasoning or spice blends to provide a savory note. Combine it with other herbs, spices, and seasonings to create a versatile blend that can be used on various dishes. Experiment with different ratios to achieve the desired flavor profile.
You can use it exactly like the cashews. Grid them, add the spices of your choice, and add them to your favorite dishes. Otherwise, you can soak them to make “cheesy” sauces.
It has slightly a bitter taste than nutritional yeast but it’s a great alternative for your recipes. Use 2 teaspoons of this brewer’s yeast for every tablespoon of nutritional yeast that your recipe requires.
Dried chopped mushrooms
You can buy ready-chopped mushrooms or buy whole and grind them. I personally prefer to buy whole, dry them, and grind them. I noticed that the flavor is much better than the ready ones.
Here are the three mushrooms that you can use:
- oyster mushrooms
They are all great alternatives.
A great alternative for nutritional yeast. I often use this Organic Vegan Bouillon with reduced sodium. It contains Carrots, Celery, Onion, Tomato), Maltodextrin, Salt, Cane Sugar, Concentrated Vegetable Juice, Yeast Extract, Potato Starch, and Garlic Powder. Be careful with the amount you use. It’s very salty!
Onion flakes can be used as a substitute for nutritional yeast in certain dishes, particularly when you are looking to add flavor and aroma. While onion flakes do not provide the same cheesy or nutty taste as nutritional yeast, they offer a savory and slightly sweet onion flavor that can enhance the overall profile of your recipes. Here’s how you can use onion flakes as a substitute:
- Seasoning Blends: Onion flakes can be included in homemade seasoning blends as a flavor component. You can combine them with other herbs, spices, and seasonings to create a versatile blend that can be used on roasted vegetables or sprinkled on popcorn. Adjust the ratio of onion flakes based on your preference for onion flavor.
- Soups and Stews: Add onion flakes to soups and stews to infuse them with an oniony taste. You can include them at the beginning of the cooking process to let the flavors meld or sprinkle them towards the end for a more pronounced onion presence. Onion flakes work well in a variety of soups, including vegetable, lentil, or bean-based soups.
- Sauces and Dressings: Incorporate onion flakes into your homemade sauces and dressings to add depth and flavor. They can be included in sauces, marinades, salad dressings, or creamy sauces to provide a hint of onion essence. Adjust the amount of onion flakes according to your preference and the desired intensity of flavor.
- Casseroles and Baked Dishes: When preparing casseroles, baked pasta dishes, or gratins, you can sprinkle onion flakes on top of the dish before baking. This will add a savory onion taste and a pleasing texture to the finished product.
- Sautéed and Pan-Fried Dishes: When sautéing vegetables, meats, or tofu, you can incorporate onion flakes for additional flavor. Sprinkle them into the pan along with other seasonings to infuse the ingredients with a delicious oniony note.
Nutritional Yeast Recipe
In case you do not want to use any of these alternatives you can make your own yeast. Dry store-bought brewer’s or baker’s yeast in a food dryer at high temperatures until the yeast is dead.