14 Delicious Ways to Use Nutritional Yeast

vegan eggplant parmesan

 The Spruce / Leah Maroney

Although the term nutritional yeast sounds like something from a science lab, it is a delicious way to add tons of flavor to savory vegetarian and vegan dishes. The yellowy dried flakes have an umami, cheesy taste and are healthy and low in calories. Add to pasta, snacks, vegetables, and tofu, incorporate it into breadings and sauces, and simply sprinkle it on top like grated Parmesan cheese. Explore the many ways to use nutritional yeast in these tasty recipes.

  • 01 of 14

    Easy Vegan Nutritional Yeast Pasta

    Easy vegan nutritional yeast pasta recipe

    The Spruce / Anastasiia Tretiak

    Made with just a few simple ingredients, this vegan pasta dish is similar to a cheesy Alfredo without all of the dairy, and the nutritional yeast adds lots of flavor at a fraction of the calories. Since most of the ingredients are shelf-stable, this pantry recipe is extra convenient. Add a sautéed or steamed veggie like broccoli, mushrooms, or peas for some color.

  • 02 of 14

    10-Minute Vegan Pesto Sauce

    Vegan Pesto recipe

    The Spruce

    Pesto is traditionally made using fresh basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese. This vegan pesto swaps the Parm for nutritional yeast, and it's such a seamless substitution that no one will notice. For a little extra brightness, add a squeeze of fresh lemon. Use the pesto to top pasta or as a spread on sandwiches.

  • 03 of 14

    Easy Vegan Crispy Fried Tofu

    Fried Tofu recipe

    The Spruce

    Transform tofu into a deliciously crispy main dish that may turn your meat-eaters into tofu fans. A coating of flour, garlic powder, and nutritional yeast adds lots of flavor and a golden crust. Serve the crispy fried tofu as you would chicken nuggets—with a dipping sauce like barbecue, honey mustard, or sweet chili.

  • 04 of 14

    Air Fryer Ranch Kale Chips

    air fryer kale chips recipe

    The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    Kale chips are a healthy and addictive snack, especially when cooked until perfectly crisp. Using the air fryer creates the ideal texture using only a little bit of oil, making this vegetable chip even healthier. In this recipe, a mixture of nutritional yeast, onion powder, garlic powder, and dill mimic the flavors of ranch chips. Once you get the hang of making your own kale chips, try different flavor combinations by switching out the spices.

    Continue to 5 of 14 below.
  • 05 of 14

    Easy Vegan Tofu Scramble

    Tofu scramble recipe

    The Spruce 

    Tofu can be cooked similar to eggs, creating a vegan dish with the look and texture of scrambled eggs. Nutritional yeast adds an umami factor and a pleasant yellow color. Stir in your favorite veggies or use the tofu scramble as a filling for a breakfast burrito.

  • 06 of 14

    Rich and Creamy Vegan Potatoes Au Gratin

    Vegan potatoes au gratin recipe

    The Spruce

    Potatoes au gratin is best-known as a baked dish of tender potatoes coated in a cream sauce and topped with cheese. This vegan version swaps the dairy for olive oil, vegan margarine, and nutritional yeast, creating a similar dish that is dairy-free. It may not look exactly the same as the original, but it has those comforting flavors you're looking for.

  • 07 of 14

    Vegan Eggplant Parmesan

    vegan eggplant parmesan recipe

     The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    Eggplant parmesan is a real vegetarian treat, with a crispy crust, tender eggplant, rich tomato sauce, and melted mozzarella. This vegan recipe uses nutritional yeast in the coating to add a savory, cheesy flavor, so you may not miss the gooey cheese topping, although you can sprinkle with vegan mozzarella if you like.

  • 08 of 14

    Vegan and Vegetarian Miso Gravy

    Creamy vegetarian miso gravy recipe

    The Spruce

    The deep flavors of traditional gravy are due to the drippings from the roasted meat, so it's off limits to vegans. You can make a delicious vegetarian gravy with the help of savory miso, soy sauce, and nutritional yeast, which mimic the richness of meat. If possible, use homemade vegetable broth for the best results. Serve alongside mashed potatoes or a vegan loaf.

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  • 09 of 14

    Vegan Gluten-Free Macaroni and Cheese

    Vegan Gluten-Free Macaroni and Cheese recipe

    Sara Lynn Paige / Getty Images 

    Please a variety of diets when you make this vegan and gluten-free mac and cheese. The sauce gets most of its flavor from nutritional yeast and a few spices, and the creaminess comes from your favorite non-dairy milk; top with vegan cheese if desired. You can also make this recipe using regular pasta if you're not gluten-free.

  • 10 of 14

    Creamy Vegan Chicken and Rice

    Creamy vegan chicken and rice recipe

    The Spruce / Anastasiia Tretiak

    Filling and nutritious, creamy vegan chicken and rice has all of the flavors and textures of the family-favorite dish without the meat or dairy. The rich and creamy sauce is made with nutritional yeast and silken tofu, coating the brown rice, seasoned firm tofu, asparagus, and mushrooms with creamy flavor. Perfect on a chilly winter night.

  • 11 of 14

    Vegan Gnocchi With Spinach Pesto

    vegan gnocchi with spinach pesto recipe

    The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    Homemade gnocchi is easier to make than you might think, and can be a fun family project. In this egg-free recipe, the potato gnocchi is tossed with a quick and easy spinach pesto made using nutritional yeast instead of Parmesan. It's a colorful vegan meal that's special enough for company.

  • 12 of 14

    Nachos With Homemade Vegan Cheese Sauce

    Nachos With Homemade Vegan Cheese Sauce recipe

    The Spruce / Laurel Randolph

    Create your own vegan nacho cheese by soaking cashews and blending them with spices, nut milk, and nutritional yeast. It's surprisingly close to the real thing and is tasty served over nachos or as a dip for chips or pretzels. You can also use it to top tacos or burritos.

    Continue to 13 of 14 below.
  • 13 of 14

    Vegan Impossible Swedish "Meatballs"

    Vegan Swedish Meatballs recipe

     The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    Impossible burger meat is a vegan beef substitute that's incredibly similar to the real thing. In this recipe, it's used to make vegan Swedish meatballs seasoned with nutritional yeast. The meatballs are cooked and then served in a flavorful sauce of coconut milk, soy sauce, Dijon mustard, and seasonings.

  • 14 of 14

    Vegan Lasagna With Cashew White Sauce

    Vegan lasagna recipe

    Brett Stevens / Getty Images 

    This vegan take on lasagna uses a cashew-based white sauce made of miso, soy sauce, and nutritional yeast, which adds delicious umami flavor to the baked dish. Spinach and tofu are the main fillings for this white and green lasagna (there is no tomato sauce), and the creamy sauce eliminates the need for cheese.