Nutritional yeast is an ingredient that is gaining a lot of popularity lately, especially in the vegan world. It is used a lot to add savory flavors to various recipes. So, if you have run out of nutritional yeast, this article has the best nutritional yeast substitutes for you.
Although this ingredient is very preferred by vegans, there still are chances you won’t be able to find it too easily. If you use it regularly but have issues finding it, you can use a lot of the best substitutes for nutritional yeast that are also vegan and have a similar flavor.
Coming directly to the point, what are good substitutes for nutritional yeast? The best nutritional yeast substitutes are brewer’s yeast, parmesan cheese, soy sauce, white miso, coconut aminos, dried mushrooms, chickpea flour, marmite, and cashews.
However, I know a lot of people may be new to the whole concept of using nutritional yeast. So, let me give you some information about this yeast. Once you have a better understanding of the ingredient, it will be easier for you to pick your substitute.
Quick Peek: Nutritional Yeast
This section is full of information about nutritional yeast. You will get to understand what the ingredient is, what its texture is and how it tastes, and also the uses of nutritional yeast. Moreover, I will also give you some information about its nutritional values.
What Is Nutritional Yeast?
Nutritional yeast is a type of deactivated yeast, usually a strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. This yeast, once ready, is deactivated with heat and then dried, washed and packed, and sold commercially.
The yeast gets its name from the nutrients it contains, which are plenty. Although nutritional yeast comes from the same strain as baker’s and brewer’s yeast, it has significant differences. Nutritional yeast, as it is deactivated, will not work in bread-making or brewing.
Nutritional yeast comes in two types, fortified and unfortified. Unfortified nutritional yeast only contains the nutrients that are naturally present in yeast. However, fortified nutritional yeast has added vitamins during the manufacturing process and is more commonly used.
Describing Nutritional Yeast: Flavor And Texture
The texture of nutritional yeast is in granular form. It is yellow in color and usually sold in flakes. You may also find it in granular or powdered form. The flavor of nutritional yeast is best described as cheesy, nutty, and savory, also with an umami tone to it.
Uses Of Nutritional Yeast
Nutritional yeast is most commonly used in vegan recipes. It is a very common stand-in for cheese in most vegan recipes that require a cheesy flavor. Other than that, nutritional yeast is also used in various recipes.
Due to its salty and cheesy flavor, nutritional yeast is often sprinkled on popcorn in pastas, sauces, and casseroles to give them a savory flavor. Moreover, it can also be used as a thickener to thicken sauces and can be added to smoothies too.
Nutritional Yeast On The Health Radar | Looking Through The Wellness Telescope
Nutritional yeast, as the name suggests, is high in nutritional value. This yeast is a great source of protein, B vitamins, and certain vital minerals. Let me tell you all about the exact nutritional values of nutritional yeast.
A measure of 5 grams of nutritional yeast has around 20 calories, out of which most are from protein. It has no amount of fat or sugar in it. Other than that, it is rich in fibers, vitamins B2, B3, B6, B9, and B12.
Nutritional yeast is also a great source of zinc, selenium, and manganese. There are also certain health benefits linked to nutritional yeast. Some of these are boosting immune health, lowering cholesterol levels, and reducing the risk of heart disease.
Why Use A Substitute For Nutritional Yeast?
As nutritional yeast is a great source of protein and packed with nutrients, many vegans, especially, may wonder why there is a need to use a substitute for nutritional yeast. There are many reasons to use nutritional yeast, but there also are reasons why you can use a substitute.
Firstly, although nutritional yeast has gained a lot of popularity now, it still is not as readily available. So, a lot of you may have trouble finding nutritional yeast at your nearby supermarkets.
So, let me tell you this, just for nutritional yeast, you don’t have to go running to a specialty store. You can use various substitutes that will give you the same nutty and cheesy flavor that nutritional yeast does.
Over that, in case you usually have nutritional yeast stocked at your house, but have just run out of it this one time, just use a substitute! A substitute will give you an equally great flavor and may either be more easily available or be present in your pantry.
I think this much information on nutritional yeast will suffice. Now, let me take you directly to the main attraction of this article, the various substitutes you can use in place of nutritional yeast.
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10 Best Nutritional Yeast Substitutes
This section has the best substitutes you can use in place of nutritional yeast. You will get to understand the flavor profile of each substitute and how they will add to the flavor of your recipes. You will also get to know the ratio of substitution for each ingredient.
1. Brewer’s Yeast
The core ingredient of brewer’s yeast is the same as nutritional yeast, which is Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Brewer’s yeast is also dried into flakes, similar to nutritional yeast, and can work as a substitute for the same.
Brewer’s yeast has a similar texture to nutritional yeast, however, there is a little bit of a difference in their flavors. Nutritional yeast has more of a nutty and cheesy flavor, whereas as brewer’s yeast is mostly used to make beer, it can be a tad bit bitter.
However, brewer’s yeast has the same qualities as nutritional yeast and makes a great thickener. So, brewer’s yeast can be used in recipes where you would like to make a thick sauce. Use two teaspoons of brewer’s yeast for every tablespoon of nutritional yeast.
2. Soy Sauce
Nutritional yeast, along with having a cheesy flavor, also has hints of umami flavor. As soy sauce has a similar note of umami in it, it can be used as a substitute for nutritional yeast in certain recipes.
Soy sauce is a good option for a substitute where you add nutritional yeast, just for the added flavor. It won’t really work in recipes where you are looking to substitute the cheesy flavor and texture that nutritional yeast gives to sauces.
Moreover, there are chances that soy sauce may be a tad too salty compared to nutritional yeast due to the extra sodium. So, you will have to adjust the amount of salt you add to your recipe. All in all, use half the quantity of soy sauce as compared to nutritional yeast.
3. Coconut Aminos
Coconut aminos is a condiment that is similar to soy sauce in color and texture, however, it has a milder flavor. It does have a similar umami flavor like that of nutritional yeast and can work in its place as a substitute.
Coconut aminos is a very popular ingredient amongst vegans and people who have certain food allergies. It is soy-free and gluten-free and is also healthier than soy sauce as it has a much lower sodium content.
As far as application goes, coconut aminos is best used in recipes like soups or broths in place of nutritional yeast. It won’t give a thick texture, however, it will deliver a nutty and umami flavor. Use half the quantity as compared to nutritional yeast as a substitute.
4. Parmesan Cheese
Parmesan cheese has the same nutty and cheesy flavor as nutritional yeast does. Moreover, it also has a similar flaky and crumbly texture and is often used in sauces, making it a great substitute for nutritional yeast.
Nutritional yeast is often used as a substitute for parmesan cheese in most vegan recipes. So, that makes these two ingredients pretty interchangeable. Yes, parmesan cheese does have dairy, so this substitute may not be preferred by vegans.
However, if you do not have a problem with consuming dairy products, parmesan cheese is a great alternative to add to sauces, broths, stews, salads, and even popcorn. However, do remember that parmesan cheese is less healthy as compared to nutritional yeast.
5. Dried Mushrooms
Dried mushrooms have an earthy and umami flavor. Though they don’t have the cheesy and nutty undertones like nutritional yeast, their umami flavor makes up for it. Hence, you can use them as a substitute in certain recipes.
Dried mushrooms will not work as a substitute for nutritional yeast in recipes where you would like a cheesy flavor. It is best suited for recipes like soups and broths where you just want the savory flavor of nutritional yeast.
As far as application goes, you can either chop up dry mushrooms or puree them and follow a 1:1 ratio for substitution. However, do make sure you pick the mushroom based on how pungent you would like the flavor, as some mushrooms have a stronger flavor than others.
Marmite is a spread quite popular in various parts of the world made from yeast extract. As marmite is made from yeast, it does share salty and savory flavors with nutritional yeast with a cheesy undertone. So, you can use it as a substitute.
Marmite may be present in your pantry if you are an adventurous eater. Though marmite is not liked by everyone due to its intense flavor, for those who do like it, you can use it in recipes like sauces, soups, and broths.
Marmite will give a cheesy undertone to your food, however, do remember that it will not thicken your sauces. For all the Aussie folks reading this, you can also use vegemite in place of marmite. Use two teaspoons of either for every one tablespoon of nutritional yeast.
7. White Miso Paste
Miso paste is made from fermented soybeans and has a thick texture with a salty and umami flavor. White miso, in particular, is milder than red miso and has nutty undertones, making it a good substitute for nutritional yeast in certain recipes.
Technically, you can also use red miso paste if you would like to, considering it is more easily available than white miso paste. However, red miso does have a very intense flavor and not as much of a nutty undertone as white miso.
White miso paste, being a paste, is best used in recipes where it is dissolved, such as soups, stews, and sauces. It will also help give a thick consistency to your food. For substitution, use ⅓ the amount of white miso paste as compared to nutritional yeast.
8. Chickpea Flour
Chickpea flour does not really have a strong flavor of its own. However, for recipes where you need a large amount of nutritional yeast to thicken sauces, chickpea flour can be used as a substitute.
Chickpea flour is a good option as a substitute in recipes where you just want a thickening agent in place of nutritional yeast. It will not really provide the cheesy and nutty flavor that you are looking for out of nutritional yeast.
However, chickpea flour can be combined with a variety of spices to achieve that sort of flavor profile. You can add it to pasta sauces and soups, but start by using half the quantity as compared to nutritional yeast.
Raw cashews are a staple in many vegan recipes. When these cashews are ground, they produce a paste that is thick and creamy and can give a similar consistency to sauces that use nutritional yeast, making them a decent substitute.
Cashews will again not give a cheesy or umami flavor like nutritional yeast. However, using ground cashews as the base for various thick sauces with some added spices can definitely do the trick.
While you can use a cashew paste as a base for sauces, you can also use semi-ground cashews to be sprinkled on different recipes to give them a nutty flavor. For this purpose, you can do a direct swap between the two.
10. Vegetable Broth
Vegetable broth is actually poles apart from nutritional yeast, especially from a consistency standpoint. However, when using vegetable broth cubes, they have a concentrated salty flavor and can work as a substitute in a few recipes.
This option of substitute will work in very few recipes. It won’t really thicken your sauces, but in fact, make them thinner. So, vegetable broth is best used in recipes where you need only a small amount of nutritional yeast, just for the flavor.
The best part about using vegetable broth is that you will not have to worry about it being vegan-friendly. You can add small amounts of it to soups or sauces just to get an umami flavor. A direct swap generally works.
Short Recap For Best Nutritional Yeast Substitutes
Nutritional yeast may seem like a difficult ingredient to think of a substitute for. However, after reading this article, I am sure you have picked what works best for you. But, for some of you that haven’t, I have made it easier by dividing them into different categories.
Best Substitutes In Terms Of Flavor:
- Parmesan Cheese
- Dried Mushrooms
- Coconut Aminos
Best Substitutes In Terms Of Texture:
- Parmesan Cheese
- Brewer’s Yeast
- Chickpea Flour
Substitutes To Be Considered Last:
- Vegetable Broth
- Soy Sauce
How To Substitute Nutritional Yeast
Nutritional Yeast Substitutes
- Brewer's Yeast
- Soy Sauce
- Coconut Aminos
- Parmesan Cheese
- Dried Mushroom
- White Miso Paste
- Chickpea Flour
- Vegetable Broth
- Go through the substitutes and see which one seems fit for the recipe.
- Collect your ingredients and use your preferred substitute.
- Use the substitute in the required amount and proceed to make the dish according to the recipe.
Most vegans swear by nutritional yeast as it not only adds flavor but also adds depth to most recipes. So, a lot of people may find this ingredient irreplaceable. But, there is good news, there are a lot of substitutes that will work equally well in its place.
Having said that, all the above-given substitutes work well in place of nutritional yeast in different ways. You can pick your substitute based on what property of nutritional yeast you are trying to mimic.
Now that you know what property each substitute works best for, I am sure it must be easier for you to pick your substitute. Most of the options given are also vegan-friendly, so you will not have to make any changes to your diet!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can nutritional yeast help with weight loss?
There are certain properties in nutritional yeast that have been linked to helping with weight loss.
Is nutritional yeast good for you?
Yes, nutritional yeast is a great source of various vitamins and minerals, along with protein.
Does nutritional yeast contain MSG?
No, nutritional yeast does not contain MSG.
Do you need to store nutritional yeast in the refrigerator?
You can store it in the refrigerator, however, it is not necessary. A cool and dark place will work equally well.