We were first introduced to nutritional yeast years ago when a vegan friend pulled some out to sprinkle on her cheese-less pizza. We hadn’t seen it before, and it seemed to be a well-known staple in vegetarian and vegan diets.
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Since then, nutritional yeast has become more and more popular, so much so that it even has a nickname, Nooch. In the spirit of creativity, we thought we would look at different easy-to-use nutritional yeast on homemade pizza.
You don’t have to be vegan or vegetarian to enjoy nutritional yeast. It is commonly used as a cheese substitute and incorporates well into a lot of different diets, like the Mediterranean and plant-based diets that both focus on less dairy.
Nutritional yeast is an excellent way to get more vitamins and minerals in your weekly diet, so even if you only do meatless Mondays, you can try out this unique pantry staple.
What is Nutritional Yeast?
Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast meaning it won’t make your bread rise if you were to try and sub out regular yeast. It’s the same strain of yeast used for making bread and beer but without the leavening agent.
Nutritional yeast has a savory flavor that resembles cheese, making it an excellent alternative for adding flavor without salt, sugar, or fat. It has a light nutty taste giving it an umami flavor, which it gets from glutamic acid, just like Parmesan cheese.
It is sold in packages and bulk at health food stores and some grocery stores. It comes in yellow flakes, and you can get mini flakes, medium flakes, and large flakes. You can also find it in powder form. It is panty stable, so it doesn’t need to be refrigerated.
Besides adding a cheesy taste for people that do not consume dairy or just want to consume less dairy, it has a host of health benefits. It is a plant protein that contains all of the nine essential amino acids.
It is also packed with vitamin B12, which is only found in meat, fish, and dairy, so adding nutritional yeast to other foods helps vegans and vegetarians get enough B12. Plus, it is high in antioxidants and boosts the immune system.
So you can see it’s pretty good stuff to start eating. We can all use more vitamins and minerals in our diets.
Why Use Nutritional Yeast on Homemade Pizza?
Homemade pizza is amazing food, and you can customize it however you want. Carnivores can top it with meat, vegetarians can load up on the veggies, and vegans can eat it with nutritional yeast and nutritional yeast cheeses.
Nutritional yeast, while commonly just sprinkled on foods or into sauces, is the key ingredient in making vegan cheese. There are a lot of different ways to use it for pizza, and we are going to share a few of our favorites.
Just for the record, we aren’t vegetarian or vegan, but we have some friends that are, and it would be great to have other options and ways to include them in pizza night. Plus, we like to try new things, so let’s look at some amazing ways to use nutritional yeast on homemade pizza.
Ways to Use Nutritional Yeast on Homemade Pizza
Non-Dairy Cheese for Homemade Pizza
So traditionally, mozzarella cheese is the go-to cheese for pizza, but this non-dairy version is pretty darn good. Our friend who is vegan said it’s the best she has tried. We haven’t tried too many, so we will take her word for it.
- 1 ½ cups of water
- ½ raw cashews or white beans
- 5 Tablespoons of nutritional yeast
- 4 cloves of garlic
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- 1 Tablespoon of white miso paste
- 2 ½ Tablespoons of arrowroot powder to thicken
You will actually need to start the night before this recipe by soaking the cashews overnight. If you are using white beans, then you can make it the day you plan to use it. Add all of the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. It will be thin and runny.
Pour into a saucepan and cook low and slow, whisking the whole time. It takes a while, but it will start to thicken. Now, this part is important, do not walk away from the stove and get distracted by your pet, computer, or neighbor. It will burn quickly. Stay close to the stove and keep whisking.
Once it has thickened, remove it and let it cool. You can use it right away or put it in the refrigerator to harden more. If you use it the next day, the cheese will be hard enough to pull apart and shred with your hands.
Nacho Cheese Pizza Dipping Sauce
Nutritional yeast is the key ingredient in this non-dairy cheese sauce. It looks and tastes just like that bright orange nacho cheese sauce from the movie theatre, convenience store, and any school cafeteria. The first time we made this, we were stunned by how good it was.
We made it to use as a dipping sauce for homemade pizza. But it is good on nachos and tacos, and you can even use it to make non-dairy mac and cheese.
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 2 cups cold water
- 1/4 cup Vegetable oil
- 1 tsp mustard
You only need a whisk and a pot to make this non-dairy cheese sauce.
Whisk together nutritional yeast flakes, flour, and salt in a saucepan on medium heat. Whisk in the cold water. Bring to a boil and keep whisking, then reduce heat and cook for one minute. Whisk in vegetable oil and remove from heat. That’s it.
Once it cools, the consistency gets a bit thicker, so make it and use it at the moment.
Sprinkle on Top for Umami
Lastly, the easiest way to use nutritional yeast on homemade pizza is just to sprinkle it on. That’s it, easy peasy.
Can you use Nutritional Yeast to Make Pizza Dough?
Although nutritional yeast is a popular ingredient in vegan and vegetarian cuisine, and it is often used as a substitute for cheese due to its nutty and savory flavor, it is not a suitable substitute for yeast in pizza dough.
As we mentioned above, nutritional yeast is an inactive yeast, which means that it does not have the ability to ferment and create gas like active yeast does. The gas created by active yeast is what gives pizza dough its characteristic rise and texture.
Therefore, using nutritional yeast in pizza dough would not produce the same result as using active yeast. To make pizza dough, the core ingredients are water, flour, salt, and active yeast. The yeast feeds on the flour to create gas, which causes the dough to rise and become airy. This is what gives pizza crust its desirable texture
While nutritional yeast is not a suitable substitute for active yeast in pizza dough, it can be used as a flavor enhancer in other pizza-related dishes, such as vegan parmesan cheese or a vegan cream sauce for pizza.
We have heard that you can make pesto with nutritional yeast; just swap out the Parmesan cheese and use nutritional yeast instead for a non-dairy pesto. We haven’t tried that yet, but we will keep you posted when we do.
Other Ways to Use Nutritional Yeast
Sprinkle on all kinds of things like:
Have you tried nutritional yeast on homemade pizza? What’s your favorite way to use it?