23 Tasty Recipes Featuring Nutritional Yeast

By Lisa Esile, MS,

Nutritional yeast is a beloved flavor booster among plant-based eaters. Also known as "nooch," this gold-hued dust has a rich, fermented, "cheesy" flavor, that, when blended with ingredients such as nuts, beans, and cooked starchy vegetables, perfectly mimics a creamy, cheese sauce. Whether you're a nutritional yeast-newbie or a fan from way back, these 23 hand-picked recipes showcase its ability to enhance savory flavor in a variety of dishes. All the recipes are plant-based and oil-free, which means they're deliciously healthy too!

Want to know more about nutritional yeast? Check out our beginner's guide.

Sweet Potato Vegan Mac and Cheese

Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese

In this vegan take on a comfort food classic, a hearty dose of nutritional yeast blended with plant milk, garlic, and boiled sweet potato makes a velvety sauce with cheesy flavor. Don't be surprised if this one creeps into your weekly rotation! One reader notes: "Made many times and [it] will continue to be a staple." Check out more Healthy, Delicious, Vegan Mac and Cheese Recipes here.
Crispy Potato Vegan Mozzarella Cheese Sticks on a platter with a ramekin of marinara, atop a blue tablecloth

Crispy Potato Vegan Cheese Sticks

This healthy vegan take on fried cheese sticks uses blended potato and nutritional yeast to recreate a mozzarella-like interior; nooch is also used to season the crispy coating. Prepare to be amazed, or as one fan puts it, "These are stupid good." Note: This recipe calls for the cheesy-potato filling to be frozen overnight before baking, so be sure to allow time for this.

Faux Parmesan

Chef AJ’s dairy-free Parmesan is so darn good you’ll find yourself adding it to everything from stews to veggie bakes, salads, and even air-popped popcorn. Made with nutritional yeast and raw nuts, this must-have condiment is also free of added salt. Make plenty and store in the fridge in an airtight container so it's ready to bring out at mealtimes. 
New American Veggie Cheeseburgers topped with a cheesy sauce, jalapenos, and pickled onions on a white plate

New American Veggie Cheeseburgers

These sublime, open-faced vegan cheeseburgers are a testament to how far WFPB cooking has come. Featuring tender, beautifully seasoned quinoa-veggie patties drizzled with a mouthwatering potato "cheese" sauce and a tangy red onion and bell pepper medley, they are a culinary triumph. Note: These burgers take some time to prepare and are better suited to nights when you're not scrambling to get dinner on the table.
Homemade Vegan Pesto in a glass jar on a white marble table

Homemade Vegan Pesto

Homemade basil pesto is affordable, convenient, and just as good as store-bought. Nutritional yeast and cashews sub in for Parmesan cheese while the usual tricksters, garlic and lemon juice, give pep and body. Add a dollop to pastas, salads, grain bowls, sandwiches, or pizza, and instantly create a cafe-quality meal. Pro tip: Make plenty and use for multiple meals; it'll keep for a few days in the fridge. 
Vegan Loaded Potato Skins

Loaded Potato Skins

Sun-dried tomatoes, capers, and nutritional yeast add tangy cheese flavor to these twice-baked potatoes. Garnished with scallions and a simple lime-tahini dressing, they're fancy enough to serve to guests and are kid-friendly as well. Note: This recipe takes 90 minutes to make, but that's mostly passive potato baking time.

Cheesy Vegan Veggie Pizzette

When you start eating a healthy plant-based diet it's natural to wonder how you'll eat pizza again. What about the cheese?! But then you discover recipes like these easy pita pizzas, which are topped with a nut-free, vegan cheese spread made from blending nutritional yeast with white beans. Insert sigh of relief! Our Air Fryer Mini Pizzas also get their cheesy flavor from a nooch-infused white bean spread.
Vegan Polenta Pizza

Polenta Pizza Pie

A dusting of nutritional yeast over this rustic, gluten-free pizza adds a cheesy layer of flavor to the herb-scented tomato sauce and fork-tender veggies.

Herb-Crusted Asparagus Spears

Looking for a fabulous appetizer to impress both vegans and non-vegans? Enter: asparagus spears coated with a mix of hemp seeds, nutritional yeast, garlic, and breadcrumbs. No one will know they're healthy! One reader writes: "We’ve made this recipe numerous times and love it. Don’t forget to drizzle the lemon juice on top because it really adds to it."
You can make this creamy, delicious (and very authentic-tasting) vegan Caesar dressing recipe as is, or add nutritional yeast for a cheesy twist!

Cheesy Caesar Dressing

Nutritional yeast joins a toothsome lineup of ingredients including chia seeds, capers, lemon juice, kelp granules, and maple syrup to create a full-bodied, oil-free caesar dressing. Pro tip: When eating out, especially when you suspect there will be few vegan options, bring along your own dressing; now you can transform even a basic green salad into a satisfying meal.
Creamy White Cauliflower Side Dish Topped with Almonds, Bread Crumbs

Creamy Cauliflower Bake

This fabulous side dish of baked "cheesy" cauliflower brings back happy memories of veggies bathed in a rich cheese sauce—only this time, it's healthy! Perfect for family supper or festive gatherings, this scrumptious bake also works with broccoli substituted for some, or all, of the cauliflower. One reader remarks, "This was a slam-dunk for me. I loved the creaminess of the sauce and really appreciated how low key the prep was."
Vegan Lasagna

Vegan Butternut Squash Lasagna Roll-Ups

For the full, cheesy, melt-in-your-mouth flavor extravaganza that only lasagna can give, these vegan roll-ups really deliver. A herb-infused butternut squash "cheese" sauce, flavored with nutritional yeast, white miso, navy beans, garlic, and tahini, mingles with layers of whole grain lasagna noodles and marinara sauce. One reader writes, "So good! One of my new faves."
vegan alternative

Chickpea Nuggets

A whole-food, plant-based take on chicken nuggets, these crispy-on-the-outside, tender-on-the-inside bites are perfect for a snack, appetizer, or kids birthday party. With a well-seasoned center made with chickpeas and rice, they taste great dipped into ketchup, barbecue sauce and/or hot sauce. For another delish "cheesy" appetizer, check out these Chickpeazella Sticks.
Vegan White Bean Fettuccine Alfredo with Peas and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

White Bean Fettuccine Alfredo with Peas and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Fettuccine Alfredo is normally a cream-heavy dish, but this vegan version gets its cheesy richness from blended cannellini beans, nutritional yeast, almond butter, and garlic. "So simple and yummy,"  notes one reader. For more cheesy vegan pasta dishes, check out our collection of mac and cheese recipes or this yummy Green Bean Pasta with Cashew Pesto.
taco-spiced seasoned tortilla Chips - snacks for working from home

Taco-Spiced Tortilla Chips

In combination with a medley of spices, a touch of nutritional yeast goes a long way to make these oven-baked tortilla chips seriously addictive. Whip up a batch and serve as a side dish or a snack.
Vegan Cheese Sauce Recipe

No-Cheese Sauce

In this dairy-free cheese sauce, a whole cup of nutritional yeast is blended with onion, red bell pepper, and cashews (optional) to delicious effect. Add veggies, pasta, or a veggie bake, for a tasty meal the whole family will enjoy. Other delicious nut-free vegan cheese sauces that you can use to brighten up your cooking include: our oat-based Vegan Queso Sauce; or this incredibly versatile Cauliflower Béchamel.
Layered Vegetable Salad

Layered Vegetable Salad

This gorgeous layered veggie salad is so much more than your ordinary salad. Thinly sliced veggie ribbons are layered with a "cheesy" white bean spread, while a seasoned balsamic dressing adds tangy goodness. You'll want to savor every bite. Note: To really let the flavors mingle, chill for at least an hour before serving.

Mushroom and Green Pea Risotto

The best thing about this fabulous brown rice risotto, aside from the creamy, rustic nooch-enhanced flavor, is you don't need to spend hours at the stove trying not to burn it! Mayim Bialik's scrumptious Winter Vegetable Risotto also features nutritional yeast.
Vegan Chili Cheese Fries in a casserole dish

Vegan Chili Cheese Fries

In this healthy version of a greasy, fast-food classic, chunky potato wedges are topped with a zesty bean chili and a creamy potato sauce. Incredibly satisfying and packed with robust flavors, this hearty whole-food, plant-based dish forever dispels the myth that vegans live on raw lettuce and sprouts!
Hearty Vegan Lentil Nachos

Loaded Lentil Nachos

For a 30-minute weeknight meal that consistently knocks it out of the park, serve baked tortilla chips with seasoned lentils, pico de gallo, and a creamy potato-based nacho "cheese." Garnish with scallions and cilantro.
Creamy Corn Butter

Creamy Corn Butter

Oil-free and absolutely delicious, there's no need to be sparing with this creamy, golden butter. Corn lends sweetness, nutritional yeast adds a savory note, and agar powder (a seaweed-derived alternative to gelatin) binds it together. Spread on bread, crackers, or slather on ears of piping hot corn. Note: You can use fresh or frozen corn to make the butter.
tofu and veggie frittata

Tofu and Veggie Frittata

Perfect for a lazy weekend brunch, this tofu-based veggie frittata has a delightful lightness thanks to the airy qualities of aquafaba (canned chickpea liquid), while a selection of spices and nutritional yeast yield a tantalizing cheesy, egg-like flavor.
Vegan Fondue

Vegan Cheese Fondue

Sick of serving up the same old appetizers? Gather your guests for some vegan fondue fun—you'll be amazed at the perfectly gooey texture of this veggie-laden "cheese" sauce. Plant-based dippers that work well include: tofu or bread cubes, bell pepper, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, asparagus, small whole mushrooms, snow pea pods, and pita triangles. Now where is that fondue pot?

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About the Author

Headshot of Lisa Esile, MS

About the Author

Lisa Esile, MS

Lisa Esile is an author, illustrator, blogger, vegetable gardener, and whole-food enthusiast with a special fondness for potatoes. She has a master’s degree in human nutrition and is passionate about showing people how to live happier, healthier lives. She is the author of Reach Your Big Calm and the co-author of Whose Mind Is It Anyway? Find her on Facebook.
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