- 1 What Is Nutritional Yeast?
- 2 Best Substitutes for Nutritional Yeast
- 2.1 Brewer’s Yeast
- 2.2 Yeast Extract
- 2.3 Cashew Nuts
- 2.4 Dried Mushrooms
- 2.5 Spices & Herbs
- 2.6 White Miso Pasta
- 2.7 Vegetable Bullion
- 2.8 Products to Replace Nutritional Yeast Texture
- 2.9 Nutritional Yeast Alternatives: Wrapping up
- 3 Conclusion
There are often times when you want to cook something, rile up and start getting prepared, but then discover that you don’t have a required ingredient. Yeah, we’ve been there too. There was a time when we wanted to make some tofu scrambles that required yeast. But there was none available, neither at home nor in the market. So that raised the question – what can I use instead of nutritional yeast? So we decided to investigate this topic a bit further to be prepared in the future.
As it turns out, there are plenty of nutritional yeast substitutes: brewer’s yeast, yeast extract, dried mushroom, mashed chickpeas, and so many more. Thus, we’ve decided to share all this knowledge with you, and teach you a bit more about the different varieties of nutritional yeast substitutes and share our list of nutritional yeast alternatives.
What Is Nutritional Yeast?
Nutritional yeast is made from inactivated yeast, and it can be in powder or flakes form. And in the process of our investigation, it turned out that nutritional yeast became more and more popular. That is mostly due to the fact that it’s gluten-free and has a lot of vitamins – B1, B3, B12, as well as zinc and potassium. Because of these vitamins, especially B12, nutritional yeast is becoming one of the essential ingredients in vegan recipes, since vegans often lack this vitamin.
What Does Nutritional Yeast Taste Like?
Most people say that nutritional yeast tastes similar to cheese. So it’s no wonder that nutritional yeast is the most popular vegan substitute for parmesan. However, due to its strong taste, not everyone may find it appealing.
What Is Nutritional Yeast Used For?
People often use nutritional yeast as a substitute for brewer’s yeast. However, as we mentioned, it is also a great substitute for cheese, or you can use it as a vitamin supplement. If you don’t mind the strong taste, it is highly recommended for people who suffer from vitamin B deficiency.
Nutritional Yeast Benefits and Nutritional Facts
There are so many health benefits of nutritional yeast. First of all, this ingredient is enriched with many vitamins, especially the B group – B1, B3, B6, B9, and B12. These are good for overall well-being, especially neural cells, skin, hair, and nails.
One more benefit of nutritional yeast that goes in favor of vegans is that it is high in protein, iron, potassium, and other minerals.
As for the nutritional value, according to USDA data, nutritional yeast has the following nutritional values per 16 grams:
Reasons to Replace Nutritional Yeast
There are many reasons why you might look for nutritional yeast alternatives. The obvious one is that you’re allergic or insensitive to it. However, you might also don’t have any available and need to look for something else. Or you could just don’t like the taste.
So let’s sort this out, and look at the most common reasons why you might need a nutritional yeast substitute.
- Allergies: A lot of people are allergic and sensitive to yeast. And that could be a pretty good reason to look for a substitute for nutritional yeast. However, if you have this condition, it’s still important to consult with a doctor to ensure that the nutritional yeast alternative is completely safe for you and your condition.
- Different Taste Options: As we mentioned before, nutritional yeast has the taste of strong cheese, such as parmesan. Thus, many people love it, and many find it gross. If you’re in the latter category, it’s good to look for a sub for nutritional yeast.
- Shortage of nutritional yeast: In recent years nutritional yeast became very popular in vegan and vegetarian circles, and yes, sometimes it is not easy to find it on the market. Usual food shops mostly sell brewers yeast, and the suitable and bio shops do not always have it available. In that case, you may look for nutritional yeast replacement.
- You need other nutrients: Nutritional yeast has various health benefits. However, sometimes people need specific nutrients that this yeast doesn’t contain. For example, some people need more fat in their diet. In that case, you need to search for a nutritional yeast replacement – such as tofu.
Best Substitutes for Nutritional Yeast
While we were looking for the best alternative to nutritional yeast, we were thinking about different features.
There are differences in the texture, taste, nutrients, etc. So let’s dive into details.
If you need nutritional yeast replacement for preparing the dough, brewer’s yeast is on top of the list. Brewer’s yeast is also full of nutrients (B1, B3, B6, B9) and is very efficient for dough. Still, if you have a B12 deficiency, you’ll have to take this vitamin additionally and make sure to consult with your doctor.
Other than that, brewer’s yeast is our top recommendation for every pastry.
Yeast extract is a good option when you have to prepare a meal quickly. The best yeast extract on the market is marmite and vegemite extracts. We have a piece of advice for you here! Pay attention when you add yeast extract to the meal because it’s exceptionally salty. That’s why we would recommend you to put in smaller quantities – the less is better. After all, you can always fix the taste and add more, but if it’s already too salty, there’s nothing else to do.
Cashew nuts are a very good nutritional yeast alternative for sauces and even as a pasta topping. They have a similar cheese taste and, blended, they can be a good enough substitute. Some vegans also use blended cashew nuts as a parmesan substitute.
Moreover, cashew nuts are also well known as nutritional yeast substitute vegan products.
Dried mushrooms are the perfect substitute for nutritional yeast in recipes in both vegan and non-vegan cooking. With the help of the best blender, you can easily make powder from dried mushrooms. And powder-dried mushroom is the finest substitute for nutritional yeast.
The flavor of the mushrooms depends on what type you choose. Mushrooms can provide a whole scale of different flavors – from mild to delicate and extremely strong taste.
Shiitake mushrooms are the perfect choice if you want to replace nutritional yeast with something that brings a delicate taste combined with a soft texture.
In powder form, they can give a sophisticated touch to your sauces and complex dishes. Additionally, shitake is commonly known as a treasure trove of nutrients and antioxidants.
It is an excellent yeast substitute if you want a good taste and health benefits such as an improved immune system. They are rich in fiber and rare minerals like selenium which are good for chronic illness prevention. Some people don’t like their distinctive taste, so our advice is to try a little bit first before adding to the meal.
Spices & Herbs
If the main purpose of using nutritional yeast is to add flavor to vegetables, then you can substitute nutritional yeast with spices, herbs, or a mixture of both. Spices are mainly salty, but you can trick the palates into feeling the taste of cheese with the right combination.
Paprika powder or smoked paprika adds a nice color to your dish. Moreover, it’s taste can add a spicy touch to your dish. But if you prefer a more mild and salty taste – choose sweet paprika.
Oregano and Basil
We like the combination of oregano and basil. It has a fresh and strong taste, perfect for crispy bread or pasta seasoning. We highly recommend using fresh basil because it comes with a more potent taste.
White Miso Pasta
White miso paste is ideal for soups, sauces, and vegetable pottages. But be aware that white miso paste is very salty, and you have to add just a little bit. You can also add white miso paste to mushroom pasta because it can increase the flavor additionally.
Vegetable bullion is our favorite nutrition yeast substitute for vegetable soups. Still, for some people, the taste is too plain and sharp. We suggest that you check with guests in advance how they feel about vegetable bullion.
Products to Replace Nutritional Yeast Texture
Nutritional yeast gives a uniquely rich texture to the meals. If you don’t care a lot about the taste but you obsess about its specific texture, you can also check these:
Tofu is the best-known nutritional yeast substitute for cheese. You can add little pieces of tofu to the meal and gain a nice texture. For extra flavor, we suggest smoked tofu or tofu with herbs. The tip from a professional chef is that you can quickly fix a meal that is too spicy by using tofu. For this, you will need neutral plain tofu, and you should add it after cooking. In that way, you will get 2 in 1, improving the texture and the taste.
Tofu is actually pretty close to nutritional yeast in terms of nutrition value. Hence why it makes a very good substitute for nutritional yeast. Other than that, tofu is rich in proteins, minerals (Iron, Zinc, Calcium, Phosphorus, and Manganese) and contains all nine essential amino acids. High nutritional value is one of the reasons we always suggest tofu as one of the best substitutes for nutritional yeast. However, if you look for a good source of vitamin B12, then you might want to consider other alternatives for nutritional yeast.
With mashed chickpeas, you will improve the texture of the meal. Professional chefs say that it is best to soak chickpeas in the water during the night. That way, they can be well cooked.
If you don’t have time to prepare chickpeas in advance, look for canned chickpeas. Plus, canned chickpeas are very easy to add to a meal, and you can even use the sauce. When you have a full schedule, canned chickpeas can save your day and meal.
We also would like to point out that chickpeas are an excellent source of iron. So if you’re anemic, consider including chickpeas in your diet more often.
You can use sunflower seeds as a yeast substitute for many meals. It has a nutty, salty, and a little bit cheesy taste. Some vegan cheeses are made from sunflower seeds and are a scrumptious substitute for cheese. They are rich in vitamin B, Iron, and different minerals.
Sunflower seeds can also be used in different ways and forms. Plus, they are pretty versatile. For example, you can blend, and use them as sunflower butter. You can also fry, roast or just eat them raw as per your preferences. We suggest sunflower butter as a good yeast substitute for better texture. For soup seasoning, blended sunflower seeds are a good option. In a raw variant, sunflower seeds are perfect for salads. Whatever form suits you, one thing is sure – sunflowers are a tasty and healthy choice.
Nutritional Yeast Alternatives: Wrapping up
Take a look at the chart to overview the nutrients of the proposed substitutes for nutritional yeast.
|Substitute||When to Use||What to Expect|
|Brewer’s Yeast||For dough||Fast-growing dough|
|Yeast Extract||For complex meals||It’s very salty|
|Shiitake Mushrooms||Sauces and vegetable dishes||Strong taste|
|Oyster Mushroom||Sauces and spreads||Delicate taste|
|Paprika||Soups||Salty and spicy|
|Oregano & Basil||Crispy bread, pasta, salads||Fresh|
|White Miso Pasta||Soups, pasta, and pottages||The salty and distinct taste|
|Vegetable Bullion||Soups||Sharp and simple|
|Mashed Chickpeas||Vegetable and spicy dishes||Good for neutralization of spicy meals|
|Sunflower Seeds||Salads, spreads, and soups||Nut taste|
With that said, we hope that now you know more about the substitute for nutritional yeast, and what would suit you and your meals better!
So have you tried any of these options before? Or perhaps you even have your own best substitute for nutritional yeast? Then feel free to share your favorite options in the comments below! We would love to learn from you.