10 Ways To Cook With Nutritional Yeast, The Vegan Superfood

Registered dietitian Emily Kichler offers up 10 easy ways to use this tasty, nutrient-packed ingredient.

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nutritional yeast recipes
“Cheesy” vegan broccoli and cauliflower bites Photo, Erik Putz

Nutritional yeast is super trendy right now—and for good reason. It tastes cheesy (yet contains no dairy), enhances the flavours of foods and provides a boost of protein, fibre and loads of B vitamins.  Here are 10 of the best ways to use it.

1. Popcorn
Drizzle 8 cups plain, popped popcorn (from about 1/3 cup kernels) with 1 tbsp olive oil, coconut oil or melted butter. Sprinkle with 2 tbsp nutritional yeast and a pinch of salt (you can add a dash of smoked paprika, cumin or your favourite spice blend too) then toss well to coat.

2. Risotto
Bring 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth to a simmer in a small pot, then keep warm on low. Saute a finely chopped onion in 2 tbsp olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat until soft, 4 minutes. Add 1 cup arborio rice and 3/4 tsp salt and cook 1 minute. Pour in ½ cup dry white wine and simmer until evaporated, 1–2 minutes.

Add 1/2 cup of the hot broth at a time and simmer, stirring occasionally until rice has absorbed the liquid, about 3 minutes after each addition. When all the broth has been added and rice is just tender, about 25–28 minutes, remove from heat and stir in ¼ cup nutritional yeast. Use this basic risotto as a canvas for other flavours! Try sautéed mushrooms and thyme, or roasted squash and sage.

3. Oven-roasted potatoes
Toss about 4 cups halved mini new potatoes with a little oil, salt and pepper on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast at 425F until tender inside and browned on the edges, about 15 minutes, turning halfway. Sprinkle with 2–3 tbsp nutritional yeast before serving.

4. Oven-roasted brussels sprouts
Toss about 4 cups halved brussels sprouts with a little oil, salt and pepper on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast at 425F until edges are crispy and lightly charred, about 12 minutes, turning halfway. Sprinkle with 2–3 tbsp nutritional yeast before serving.

5. Oven-roasted broccoli
Toss about 5 cups broccoli florets with a little oil, salt and pepper on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast at 425F until slightly charred, 20 to 25 minutes, turning halfway. Sprinkle with 2–3 tbsp nutritional yeast before serving. Or, make “cheesy” vegan broccoli and cauliflower bites.

6. Creamy Caesar dressing
Mince 2 garlic cloves with 2 anchovy fillets (or 1 tbsp capers) to a fine paste and place in a bowl. Whisk in 2 egg yolks, 2 1/2 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp Dijon, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Slowly pour in 2/3 cup canola oil, while whisking constantly. Whisk in 3 tbsp nutritional yeast.

7. Tahini dressing
Whisk ¼ cup tahini, ¼ cup lemon juice, 3 tbsp water, 2 tbsp nutritional yeast, 1 minced garlic clove, 2 tsp honey, 1/4 tsp cumin and a pinch of salt in a bowl until smooth. Serve on grain bowls, as a dressing for kale salad, or as a sauce for roasted cauliflower.

8. Polenta
Bring 4 cups water or vegetable broth and 3/4 tsp salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Slowly whisk in 1 cup cornmeal and whisk until mixture comes to a boil and starts to thicken. Simmer over medium-low, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, to completely absorb liquid, 2 minutes. Whisk in another 1 cup of broth and 1/3 cup nutritional yeast.

9. Pasta or pizza topping
Sprinkle nutritional yeast right onto your classic spaghetti with marinara sauce or homemade Tuscan pizza, or pulse 1/2 cup nutritional yeast in a food processor with 1/3 cup toasted sesame seeds and a pinch of salt (optional: add a dash of garlic powder) until finely ground for a richer, nuttier topping.

10. Stir into soup
Nutritional yeast works really well in creamy soups like potato-leek or or broccoli-cheddar. It also adds a boost of flavour when stirred into broth-based soups, such as this quinoa minestrone: Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pot over medium. Add 1 chopped onion, 2 chopped carrots, 2 chopped celery stalks and 2 minced garlic cloves. Cook, stirring often, until softened, about 10 minutes.

Crush a 796-mL can of whole tomatoes, then add to the pot with 4 cups water or vegetable broth, ½ cup quinoa and 1 tsp salt. Bring to a boil, then simmer over medium-low, covered, until vegetables are tender, 12–15 minutes. Stir in a 540-mL can drained and rinsed navy beans and cook until warmed through, 2 min. Divide into bowls and sprinkle each with 1 tbsp nutritional yeast.