Nutritional Yeast: A Vegan Cheese Substitute

28 Oct


You might be wondering, “What exactly is nutritional yeast?” and “how can this flakey substance be used as an alternative to cheese?” At least, those were my thoughts when I first heard of nutritional yeast. This ingredient is common among vegans who are looking to replace dairy-rich cheese in their diets.

Nutritional yeast is grown from yeast, which is a tiny form of fungi. It is produced by culturing the yeast with sugarcane and beet molasses for seven days. After the seven days have passed, the yeast is then harvested, washed, dried and packaged.

Nutritionally, this yeast contains many essential nutrients. It is a great source of the B-complex vitamins, including vitamin B12. This makes it a great alternative for vegans as vitamin B12 is typically found only in animal byproducts. Nutritional yeast is also very rich in protein (a complete source containing all of the essential amino acids!), iron and folic acid. Additionally, it contains 15 minerals, specifically chromium. Chromium has been recognized in helping to regulate blood sugar, making this yeast great for diabetics and people with low blood sugar. It is also appropriate for those following gluten-free diets!

It can often be found in the health food section of your grocery store or even at bulk food stores. If you’re able to find it, give it a try! It can be used in many ways, such as: sprinkled on popcorn, added to gravies and sauces to add creaminess or used as a cheesy topping on pizza.If you’re looking for a simple and quick snack, this popcorn is perfect for you 🙂

Emily’s Famous Popcorn

Source: All Recipes


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup unpopped popcorn
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted (optional)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan or soup pot over medium-high heat. Add popcorn, and place the lid on the pan. Shake to coat kernels with oil. When the corn starts to pop, shake the pan constantly until the popping stops. Remove from heat, and pour popped corn into a large bowl.
  2. Drizzle the melted butter over the corn if using, and sprinkle with yeast, chili powder, cumin and salt. I like to give it a little stir before serving.

Other recipe suggestions:

Healthy Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip 
Vegan Easy Creamy Tomato Barley Risotto
Vegan “Cheese” Breadsticks
Vegetarian Gravy
Not So Queso Dip
Vegan Mac and Cheese 


2 Responses to “Nutritional Yeast: A Vegan Cheese Substitute”

  1. Madeleine Waddington November 1, 2011 at 11:23 pm #

    Wow! I’ve never heard of this before! Sounds like it’s very versatile… I’m going to see if my vegan friends know about this. I bet it would be really useful for them as I know a lot of them miss cheese!

    – Madeleine Waddington

  2. Sarah November 7, 2011 at 3:18 am #

    This recipe looks delicious! I never thought to try nutritional yeast on popcorn but I will definitely be giving it a try!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: