Nutritional yeast (AKA nooch) has gained popularity as a vegan-friendly source of protein and vitamin B12. However, not everyone can consume it due to allergies or dietary restrictions, or you just might not have any in the cupboard! Luckily, there are many nutritional yeast substitutes available that can provide a similar flavor profile and nutritional benefits. In this article, we will explore some of the best nutritional yeast substitutes to help you create delicious and nutritious dishes, even if you can't use nutritional yeast.
🤔 What is nutritional yeast?
Nutritional yeast is a type of inactive yeast that is commonly used as a flavor enhancer or additive - especially in vegan cooking.
It has a slightly nutty and cheesy flavor and is often used as a dairy free cheese substitute. It looks a bit like fish food.
Nooch is also a great source of protein, fibre, and essential vitamins, including vitamin B12. It's actually a complete protein with a unique taste. So, when it comes to nutritional yeast substitutes, we're unlikely to be able to find close matches but they will be just about good enough.
However, it is a super ingredient for those of us following a vegan diet, and it can actually be quite addictive sprinkled on pasta or risotto. It even makes dishes with creamy sauces even cheesier, like in this vegan fish pie or carbonara.
It's sold in most supermarkets or grocery stores, but can also be found on Amazon and at health food stores. Check out nutritional yeast on Amazon.
🙋♀️ Benefits of nutritional yeast
Nooch is a highly nutritious food that offers a range of health benefits. It is a complete protein source, providing all nine essential amino acids that the body needs.
It is also an excellent source of vitamin B12, a nutrient that is typically found in animal products and can be difficult for vegans and vegetarians to obtain through their diet. Nutritional yeast is also rich in other B vitamins, including thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and folate. Source.
Additionally, nutritional yeast is low in fat and calories, making it a great addition to a varied diet. Anyway, let's get to it and find out what the best nutritional yeast substitutes are...
🌟 Best Nutritional Yeast Substitutes
1. Brewer's Yeast
Brewers yeast is similar to nutritional yeast, but it has a slightly bitter taste. It can be used as a substitute in recipes that call for nutritional yeast, but you may need to adjust the amounts to account for the difference in taste. Obviously, it's usually used in the beer brewing process, so if you're not a home brewer, it's probably unlikely that you'll have this ingredient in the cupboard!
Brewer's yeast is often recommended as a top nutritional yeast substitute due to its similar texture and mouthfeel. However, some may find that brewer's yeast falls short in terms of taste.
Although both ingredients offer nutty and earthy flavors, brewer's yeast can have a slightly beer-like taste, which may not be preferred by all. As a result, it may not be the best choice for recipes that require more than a tablespoon of nutritional yeast. Nevertheless, brewer's yeast can work reasonably well when used sparingly.
As a nutritional yeast substitute, use 2 teaspoons of brewer's yeast for 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast.
2. Raw Cashews
Ground cashews can be used as a great substitute for nooch. It's especially good in vegan cheese sauce recipes. When blended with other flavourings, such as garlic granules and onion salt, cashews can help to create a cheesy flavor in a similar way to nutritional yeast.
Cashews will, naturally, contain more calories and fat than nutritional yeast. However, as far as nutritional yeast substitutes go, it is one of the best. It's also great for anyone following a dairy free diet.
Use in a 1:1 ratio as a nutritional yeast substitute.
3. Yeast Extract
Yeast extract, such as marmite or Vegemite, makes a good substitute for nutritional yeast, especially for the flavor. However, as it is a thick gloopy liquid rather than flakes, it will only really work in things like sauces, soups or stews. Basically anything where the nooch would dissolve into a sauce. This means yeast extract is a great nutritional yeast substitute, that's fab for enhancing the flavor of liquid based recipes.
However, if the nutritional yeast flakes are needed to sprinkle on top of a dish, as part of a crumble or a dairy free parmesan cheese, then marmite won't work.
As yeast extract has a strong and rich umami flavor, it has a stronger flavor. Therefore, it can't be used like-for-like.
As a nutritional yeast substitute, use 1 teaspoon of yeast extract for 1 tablespoon of nooch.
4. Soy sauce
Soy sauce can be a fantastic nutritional yeast substitute. It's made from fermented soybeans, and while it is a liquid and not flakes, it is obviously a very different ingredient to nutritional yeast, both texturally and nutritionally.
However, that being said, both are great flavor enhancers and soy sauce is a common cupboard ingredient that's used in many non-vegan and vegan dishes. That means it can be an easy nutritional yeast alternative, if you're in a pinch.
In addition, if soy sauce can't be used as the nutritional yeast substitute needs to be soy free or gluten free, use liquid aminos, coconut aminos or tamari instead. by the way when we refer to soy sauce, we mean light soy sauce, not dark (which wouldn't work at all!).
Use 0.5 tablespoon of soy sauce in place of one tablespoon of nutritional yeast.
5. White Miso Paste
Miso is an ingredient that offers a strong umami flavor. Although any type of miso paste can be used, white miso paste has a nutty taste that makes it an excellent replacement for nutritional yeast. Miso paste is made with fermented soybeans, resulting in a salty, savory and slightly sweet umami flavor as well as a thick texture.
It is best used in recipes where it can dissolve, such as soups and sauces, rather than as a garnish. Since miso paste is quite salty, it is crucial to reduce the amount used in a recipe. As a general rule, only about a third of the amount should be used. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast, use only ⅓ tablespoon of miso paste.
As far as nutritional yeast substitutes go, this is probably one of the best.
Use ⅓ tablespoon of white miso paste, for every 1 tablespoon of nooch needed.
6. Chickpea Flour
When considering substitutions for nutritional yeast, it's essential to understand the ingredient's role in your recipe to choose the most suitable swap. Chickpea flour can be an excellent choice for recipes that require more than just the flavor of nutritional yeast. It's actually quite a common ingredient in vegan recipes, like in this vegan omelette.
However, it's worth noting that chickpea flour will also act as a thickener, so be aware of that. If you're only replacing a tablespoon of nooch, you can be more flexible with your substitutions. Still, for larger quantities, substituting with a dramatically different ingredient can alter the dish's flavor and texture.
Chickpea flour is an OK choice for those seeking a similar texture and consistency to nooch. To achieve a cheesy, umami flavor, you can add spices such as onion salt or onion powder and garlic granules (or garlic powder) to the mixture. This substitution works well in larger amounts, such as in pasta sauces or as a topping for added flavor. It's important to make sure that the chickpea flour is good, so it shouldn't be used in anything that isn't first cooked.
Use 0.5 tablespoon of chickpea flour mix in place of one tablespoon of nutritional yeast.
7. Sunflower seeds
When blended with other ingredients such as salt and garlic granules, sunflower seeds can provide a similar cheesy and nutty flavor to nooch. It can be a great substitute but they have a milder flavor. Sunflower seeds are also a great source of protein and healthy fats.
We would recommend toasting them and then using a spice grinder or food processor to create ground sunflower seeds, to recreate a similar nutty flavor.
As a nutritional yeast substitute, use 1 tablespoon of ground sunflower seeds in place of 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast.
8. Vegan Parmesan Cheese
Nutritional yeast substitutes can be tricky to find, depending on the flavour that you're looking to create. If you're looking for something that is cheesy and salty, then plant-based parmesan cheese is a great option. It can be use in sauces or in dry mixtures to add cheesy flavors or to create a cheesy sauce.
It is usually saltier than nutritional yeast so be cautious of that. It's also great for vegan recipes too! of course, this is great for those following a vegan or dairy free diet.
As a nutritional yeast substitute, use in a 1:1 ratio.
9. Dried mushrooms or mushroom powder
Dried mushrooms, or mushroom powder has a umami, savory flavor that is similar to nutritional yeast. It can be used in place of nooch to add depth of flavor to dishes such as soups, stews, and gravies.
If you're in search of a healthy alternative to nutritional yeast that adds an earthy, savory umami flavor to your dishes, dried mushroom powder can be an excellent choice. In contrast to nutritional yeast, it is a fine powder, but nooch consists of flakes rather than powder.
Finely chopped or ground dried mushrooms can be easily incorporated into recipes, imparting a complex, earthy taste. However, it's important to note that the mushroom powder works best in dishes where it can dissolve. In things like sauces or soups, rather than in uncooked garnishes.
It's worth noting that the flavor of dried mushrooms don't quite match the cheesy or salty taste of nutritional yeast. So it may not be the ideal substitute in recipes that require a cheesy flavor, such as vegan cheese sauces.
10. Vegetable Bouillon Powder / Cubes
Vegetable bouillon paste is a great alternative to nutritional yeast in cheese sauces and soups. It adds a rich, savory flavor to dishes. It's important to note that it's quite salty, so use it sparingly when substituting. Vegetable bouillon cubes are also a suitable substitute.
If you're in a hurry and don't have vegetable bouillon, you can use vegetable broth instead. Although it has less flavor concentration, it still provides the savory, umami taste that the recipe requires. Keep in mind that as a liquid, vegetable broth will alter the consistency of your dish. It is best used in curries, soups, and stews that require a lot of liquid.
Use 1:1 ratio for substituting nooch, however, adjust the salty flavor of the dish by using less salt overall.
11. Dried onion flakes
Finally, our last suggestion to substitute for nutritional yeast is dried onion flakes. They have a texture similar to nooch and offer a savory onion taste. However, using dried onion flakes adds a tangy flavor to your dish and lacks the cheesy undertones that nutritional yeast provides. If you're in a bind, using some onion flakes can work, but be cautious not to use too much.
Use in a ratio of 0.25 dried onion flakes to 1 nutritional yeast.
It depends on the recipe. Nutritional yeast adds a savory and nutty flavor that can be missed from a final dish. If you can, try to replace nutritional yeast with one of the options listed above like ground cashews, brewer's yeast, marmite or white miso paste.
Not to worry! Depending on the recipe, there are many options that you can use to replace it. Try cashews, soy sauce, coconut aminos, liquid aminos, tamari (gluten free option), brewer's yeast, white miso paste, or even vegetable broth to replace nutritional yeast.
It adds a savory, nutty flavor that can really improve the depth of flavor in a recipe. When a recipe calls for nooch, try not to skip it, or try to use a nutritional yeast replacement!
Yes, well, it can be left out but it depends on the recipe. Nooch is often used in vegan cheese sauce recipes, and in homemade vegan parmesan cheese. It can't be used like for like for a hard cheese but can be used to help create a savory flavor profile and cheesy taste in dishes.
Nooch is a great source of protein and essential vitamins, but some people may not be able to consume it or, you simply may not have any on hand. It is a fantastic ingredient for those of us that follow a vegan diet.
Luckily, there are many nutritional yeast substitutes available that can provide a similar flavor profile. White miso paste, brewer's yeast, yeast extract, and cashews are all great substitutes for nutritional yeast.
If you're in a bind, you could also try vegetable broth, sunflower seeds or chickpea flour. So, whether you're vegan or just looking for nutritional yeast substitutes, these options can help you to create delicious and nutritious dishes.