Last updated on August 2nd, 2021 at 09:55 pm

Using healthy, nutritious substitutes in your dishes is the best way to stay healthy without sacrificing your favorite taste.
Over the last years, nutritional yeast has become popular especially in the vegan community because of its flavor and texture.

This article helps you find many choices of nutritional yeast substitutes and their different health benefits.

What is nutritional yeast?

Nutritional yeast is an inactive form of yeast known as Saccharomyces cerevisiae, grown on molasses. Nutritional yeast consists of dead yeast cells, unlike the active yeast used in baking bread and brewing, so it will not cause bread or dough to rise or ferment.

Since it is a great source of vitamins and minerals, it is considered an excellent way to add flavor to meals without causing health problems. Nutritional yeast can be used as a perfect cheese replacement in vegan dishes, for being cheesy and nutty.

nutritional yeast substitutes

For that, it is a good choice for vegetarians because it is a dairy-free alternative. 

Nutritional yeast Benefits

  • It’s a great source for complete protein 
  • It contains B vitamins like B1, B2, B6, and B12 which are important for the human body
  • Low in sodium, sugar, and fat
  • Full of micronutrients, like Zink, iron, and selenium
  • It’s a good option for vegetarians for being rich in vitamin B12 which is only available in animal products like eggs and milk
  • It contains (beta-glucan) which helps reduce cholesterol levels and chronic inflammation, that studies have shown that they are causes for heart disease and cancer
  • It’s a good source of antioxidants, which help to eliminate free radicals from the body
  • It promotes healthy hair, skin, and nails
  • It could help in weight loss 
  • It does not contribute to candida yeast infection
  • It has zero sodium so, it contributes to reducing blood pressure
  • It supports a healthy pregnancy
  • It improves glucose levels in the blood

Is nutritional yeast gluten-free?

Gluten is a protein found in grains, wheat, rye, and barley. Nutritional yeast is 100% gluten-free. Since nutritional yeast is an inactive form of yeast, it’s safe to be used on a gluten-free diet. But you should be sure that it has been processed in a gluten-free facility.

Why to substitute for nutritional yeast?

There are many reasons for using substitutions to nutritional yeast:

  • Simply, it may not be available in your local grocery stores
  • Many people are allergic to yeast
  • It may cause some digestive problems due to its high fiber content
  • Some individuals suffer from headaches and migraines that’s because some yeast products contain compounds like Tyramine
  • If you don’t like its taste, of course, you may need a replacement

Best nutritional yeast substitutes

1: Chickpea flour

It is gluten-free flour ground from whole garbanzo beans. Since it is a good source of iron and fiber, it could be a good replacement for nutritional yeast by giving your dishes a nutty flavor. You can add it to baked potatoes and popcorn. 

Researches show that chickpea flour helps promote heart health by reducing bad cholesterol levels. In addition, it helps reduce blood sugar levels. Also, it contains minerals that are important for the immune system, nerves, and strong bones and teeth.

chickpea flour

It’s important to mention that you should avoid adding chickpea flour to your diet if you have an allergy to it.

2: Brewer’s yeast

It is mainly extracted from beer. It could be used instead of nutritional yeast by adding it to soups and cheese sauce. It’s rich in vitamin B, chromium, and selenium. It helps reduce blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.

Brewer’s yeast

Additionally, it may help prevent infections that may happen after surgeries.

3: Soy sauce

It is a liquid condiment that was discovered in China. It’s a good addition to a wide variety of dishes by adding a savory flavor.

Soy sauce contains antioxidants that can help prevent cardiovascular diseases. Researches have shown that soy sauce is a good source of minerals like potassium, sodium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc.

Soy sauce

It contains antibacterial properties, which help in the digestion process. In addition, it has lots of health benefits including reducing blood pressure, boosting immunity, and lowering cholesterol levels.

4: Cashews

They can be used instead of nutritional yeast for being rich in minerals especially copper, which is essential for brain function, strong immune system, controlling diabetes, and boosting energy.

cashews nuts

Cashews can be an excellent substitute for nutritional yeast by grinding them into powder and sprinkling them on pasta or adding them to vegan cheese sauce to have a cheesy texture.

5: Sunflower seeds

They are healthy and nutritious substitutes to nutritional yeast. They are rich in vitamin E, selenium, and zinc that help reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases.

sunflower oil with seeds

6: Paprika

It is a kind of spice that is rich in capsaicin which has anti-inflammatory properties. Paprika has been proved that helps prevent nerve damage and digestive problems.

paprika

Also, it helps reduce blood pressure. It can be added to soups, eggs, beans, chicken, and many dishes, so it can work as a great substitute for nutritional yeast.

7: Avocados

They are very nutritious for containing a variety of nutrients like potassium, vitamin C, Vitamin D, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, vitamin E, and many more nutrients. 

Avocados

8: Yeast extract

It can be used in different dishes as a replacement for nutritional yeast, such as soups and different sauces. It is rich in vitamins, minerals, and protein. Due to its high vitamin B12 content, it helps fight weakness and fatigue.

Yeast extract

9: Basil and oregano

Spices and herbs are tasty nutritional yeast substitutions. They add a fresh flavor to your recipes.

parsley, basil and oregano

10: Dried and fried onion flakes

They can substitute nutritional yeast in a variety of ways because of their strong and special flavor. You can use them in the dressing of salads and in some dishes like burgers and omelets. 

Dried and fried onion

11: Dried Mushroom

They can be used instead of nutritional yeast in a variety of ways. They give your dishes a nutty and smoky flavor that adds a perfect flavor and texture to soups and sauces.

They contain antioxidants, selenium, and polyphenols. In addition, they provide your body with vitamin D, which is essential for healthy bones.

Dried mushroom

We should mention that they contain potassium, which helps to reduce blood pressure. Additionally, they have been proven to lower cholesterol levels for containing (beta-glucans).

12: Garlic

It is a good replacement for nutritional yeast by providing your recipes with a perfect flavor. It would be difficult to mention all the benefits of garlic because it is considered a super healthy ingredient.

Garlic and oil

Studies have shown that garlic is good for flu and colds, strong bones, improving memory, skin health, and reducing the risk of heart disease, and many more health benefits.

13: Cumin

It is a spice used in many dishes. It can be used as a substitute for nutritional yeast for its nutty, earthy, and spicy flavor.cumin

It has lots of health benefits, including promoting the digestion process, supporting the growth of young children, improving blood sugar control, promoting weight loss, and many more health benefits.

Once again, you should remember that you have many options for nutritional yeast substitutes that can mimic the texture and flavor of it.
My advice to you is simply, to try to get more health benefits by adding healthy substitutes to your dishes.

I have been a Registered Dietitian for over 11 years, working in many different capacities. The majority of my experience has been working as an outpatient dietitian. I have had a lot of experience in the areas of research, general wellness, weight loss, oncology, CKD/renal failure, celiac disease, diabetes (I and II) and gastrointestinal concerns.

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