Many people say they can’t “go vegan” because they’ll miss cheese too much. Trust me, I hear you–Parmesan and brie will always be in my heart. However, apart from your taste buds acquiring different cravings as your diet shifts, there are plenty of vegan alternatives to make your cheese-loving self happy.
One of which is nutritional yeast.
What actually is nutritional yeast, anyway?
Known to some as “nooch,” nutritional yeast is a dried, dairy-free, gluten-free deactivated fungus that is sold in canisters at health food stores and jars in more traditional grocers. It looks like dry yellow flakes and tastes like a nutty, salty cheese.
It’s basically a healthy cheese you can sprinkle on whatever you want (think dried canned Parmesan but vegetarian and vegan). Try over popcorn or on roasted kale chips for easy snacks.
One tablespoon of nutritional yeast (from Bragg’s, which is also kosher) will get you a heaping serving of protein, riboflavin (B2), pyridoxine (B6), vitamin B12, zinc, thiamine, niacin, folic acid, pantothenic acid, and selenium. A serving of nutritional yeast atop any dish will automatically amp up your nutrient intake and make it all the more flavorful and delicious. While nutritional yeast is certainly healthy given its name, dairy-free and gluten-free eaters genuinely love it for its savory and cheesy flavor.
Added bonus: Nutritional yeast has a refrigerator or shelf life of two years.
Still unsure how to use nutritional yeast? Check out some recipes featuring it below.
Crispy Oil-Free Noochy Potatoes
Make this simple side dish featuring nutritional yeast, fresh dill, chives, garlic, and onion powder. Side note: A convection oven is recommended. Get the recipe.
Paper Bag Popcorn
Save money and add flavor by making your own microwavable popcorn at home. Add olive oil, salt, and nutritional yeast, and you’re good to go. Get our Paper Bag Popcorn recipe.
Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese
This gluten-free and nut-free dish won’t have you missing dairy one bit. Mix nutritional yeast into the cheesy sauce, along with the crumbled, crispy topping. Get the recipe.
Versatile Vegan Quiche
This egg-less brunch dish uses tofu instead of the latter. Flavored with nutritional yeast, spinach, and tomatoes – feel free to fill with this version with mushrooms, sun-dried tomato, basil, or wild mushroom with truffle oil and thyme instead. Get the recipe.
No, vegan lasagna is not an oxymoron. Cook this cheesy dish for dinner with star ingredients like nutritional yeast, eggplant, capers, and parsley. Get our Vegan Lasagna recipe.
Loaded Enchilada Pizza Pie
It’s like a DIY for California Pizza Kitchen. This Mexican-inspired pizza is topped with a cheezy cashew cream sauce (with nutritional yeast), bell peppers, yellow onion, corn, and cilantro. Yum. Get the recipe.
Vegan Eggplant Meatballs
Get the meat-like texture you may enjoy by combining chickpeas, eggplant, and tempeh. Oh yeah, of course nutritional yeast is in there too. Get the recipe.