If you happen to have a vegan friend these days (which, we basically all do) or perhaps are vegan yourself – you likely have heard all about nutritional yeast, also known as “nooch”. Flakes of nutty, cheesy flavor that packs so much iron, protein, and b12, it’s nature’s answer to the lack of meat in a vegan diet. But nooch isn’t just for vegans. If you’re someone watching your calorie intake, or hoping to up your protein (without the carbs) nutritional yeast is incredibly low in calories (20 calories per 2 tbsp, on average) and packs 3 grams of protein. 3 grams of protein in 20 calories, and it tastes like CHEESE? What is this sorcery?

On its own, nutritional yeast is quite strong, but it’s mixed and topped onto so many different foods, and you’ll be so surprised at how authentic it tastes. Just yesterday I whipped it up with some almond milk, and a little salt & pepper on the stove and voila – it was a thick, creamy, “cheese” sauce. Incredibly versatile, we’re going to dive into the best ways to use nutritional yeast!

1. Vegan Queso

When it comes to trying out nutritional yeast, the best way to try it is with a recipe that utilizes it in the best way possible – in a creamy, cheesy dip near perfect to real queso.

Using soaked raw cashews blended with salsa, bell pepper, turmeric (for that cheesy color), a little bit of salt and of course, nutritional yeast, you have a recipe you will be making again and again. It only takes 10 minutes to create.

2. Cheeto Chickpeas

Forget the fake orange cheese of your childhood, and come into a more refined, healthier version with these healthy Cheeto-inspired chickpeas as a snack.

Another vegan recipe, they take minimal ingredients and minimal effort to make these at home!

3. “Cheesy” Paleo Crackers

I guess these are a revamped, updated, healhtified version of the cheezy crackers of your childhood. You know the kind, nearly neon orange and a distinct flavor that we’re not even sure was the taste of cheese.

Regardless, now in an effort to clean up our cracker eating ways, this recipe comes along and with the help of some nutritional yeast, is easily made it’s cheezy flavor come to life.

4. Oil-Free Pesto Sauce

This recipe is great, especially for those watching their fat intake. With many vegans participating in high-carb, low-fat diets it’s key to be mindful of things like oil in recipes.

This delicious oil-free pesto sauce doesn’t need the traditional additive of parmesan cheese, since nutritional yeast gives you all that nutty, cheesy flavor!

5. Vegan Parmesan Cheese

This is simply a recipe you’ll be pulling out again and again. Once you make it, you’ll have it in stock in your cupboard for months.

Combining simple ingredients like nuts, seeds and of course, nutritional yeast – you have a parmesan cheese ready to shake onto your next pasta dish.

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6. Creamy Cauliflower Wild Rice Soup

No matter how long you’ve been vegan or dairy-free, that craving for something warm and creamy still seems to hit and hit hard.

This recipe keeps in tone with your diet and lifestyle while delivering that perfect creamy texture you crave, along with a cheesy flavor that of course again comes straight from nutritional yeast.

6. Chickpea Scramble

Not eating eggs doesn’t mean you need to give up a breakfast favorite like the scramble! Served alongside toast or on it’s own, it’s a classic that deserves to remain in your meal plan!

Using protein-rich chickpeas, and nutritional yeast for flavoring, you can create a breakfast that is customizable to your own preferences day after day.

7. Creamy Vegan Risotto

Another creamy dish you’ve likely been missing, but with nutritional yeast – you can have this in your life again.

A risotto is well paired as a side dish with a variety of foods. Or, perhaps, you can try it as the base to a warm buddha bowl. However you choose to serve it up, just make sure you try this recipe for a vegan risotto!

8. Crispy Baked Tofu Fingers

It was a year into my own plant-based diet that someone ever mentioned to me the idea of crusting tofu with nutritional yeast. When I tried it, I knew I would never go back.

Creating finger-bite tofu with a crisp outer shell, the flavors are so well finished with the use of nutritional yeast. It’s insane how amazing these turn out. Dip em in your favorite sauce, or eat them on their own. But make sure you make lots, you’re going to want leftovers!

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9. Smoked Cashew Vegan Cheese

While a plant-based diet doesn’t need to be expensive at all, often times some of the specialty foods such as vegan cheese can really break the bank!

With a recipe like this, you can create your very own vegan artisan cheese that’s smoky and rich in protein (thanks, cashews) and it’s all thanks to that cheesy flavor of nutritional yeast, once again!

10. Kale Chips

Kale chips are one of those things you truly can’t knock until you try it. They’re crispy, customizable, and hardly any calories at all. The perfect snack!

Coating them with nutritional yeast brings them next level, reminding you of your favorite cheese-coated chips, but much much healthier. No snacking guilt here!

11. Vegan Sour Cream

Make it once, enjoy it for days… but you definitely need to make this vegan sour cream to have on hand for your next meal.

Whether you add a dollop to your veggie chili, your vegan tacos, or even use it as the base for dips or to make a sauce a little more creamy – surprisingly, nutritional yeast makes this sour cream have that really authentic flavor, along with another few ingredients.

12. Vegan Potato Leek Quiche

Quiche may have been something from your egg-laden past, but you can bring it back again with recipes like this!

While quiche is traditionally made with eggs, milk, and cheese as it’s base in a pastry crust, this recipe makes for a replica that you can not only enjoy but feel good about!

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13. Twice Baked Vegan Whole-30 Potatoes

I’ll admit, it’s been years since I’ve had a twice baked potato. I didn’t even really think through making them now that I adhere to a vegan diet, but this recipe has changed all of that!

With nutritional yeast lending itself once again in flavor, you can whip up and bake up these potatoes to serve up for dinner tonite! I think I might, too

14. Vegan Bacon

The ongoing theory that so many feel they could never stay on a vegan diet because they love bacon too much just got shot down with this recipe.

Uniquely made with a series of key ingredients including nutritional yeast, these rice paper crisps mimic bacon so much…you might just be able to serve it up to your carnivorous friends.

15. Miso Sweet-Potato Pie

This recipe is a two-parter, with a “cheese” sauce you can make again and again because it goes with soooo many meals, including this layered sweet potato pie.

Crusted with crispy onions, this recipe will serve you well at your next family gathering because no one will even know or care that it’s vegan. It’s delicious, so the labels won’t matter!

Sarah Nicole

Since successfully losing 100lbs by changing her relationship with food and her body, Sarah has taken her passion for food and balanced it between cucumbers and cupcakes. When she's not bustling her way around a kitchen, you can find her working out or winding down at home with her 3 kids and pug. Follow Sarah's journey on Instagram @TheBirdsPapaya.

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