Nutritional yeast is a popular food product that's known for adding a cheesy, nutty flavor to snacks and dishes without the dairy. And if you're vegan or just looking to eat a little more plant-based, nutritional yeast is full of vitamins and nutrients.
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For anyone who is trying to get more protein in their diets, nutritional yeast can help. "Nutritional yeast is a complete protein boasting 10 grams of protein per serving," Anna Rios, RDN and food blogger, says.
"Adding nutritional yeast to meals can help you meet your overall protein needs, which is linked to increased muscle mass. It is also a good source of vitamin B12 which many plant-based diets do not typically include," she adds.
According to Rios, the nutrients found in nutritional yeast are also associated with:
- Lower cholesterol
- Stabilized blood sugar
- Lower inflammation
- Protection from cell damage
You can tap into these health benefits by adding nutritional yeast to salads, pasta dishes, sauces and more. Let these 15 high-protein vegan dinners made with nutritional yeast inspire you.
1. Glorious Tofu Buddha Bowl With Creamy Soy Dressing
- Calories: 832
- Protein: 27 grams
This tofu buddha bowl with creamy soy dressing is truly glorious. It's easily customizable with your favorite vegetable fixings and a plant-based protein of your choice. Nutritional yeast adds protein and enhances the flavor of the tangy dressing, which is made with vinegar and tahini.
Get the Glorious Tofu Buddha Bowl With Creamy Soy Dressing recipe and nutrition info here.
2. Beet and Carrot Bowl With Savory Dressing
- Calories: 605
- Protein: 20 grams
Who doesn't love a good bowl filled with rice and delicious toppings? This bowl is equipped with nutritious additions like beets, carrots and roasted edamame.
On top of that, it's full of nutty flavor thanks to the addition of pine nuts, pistachios and a rich and slightly spicy dressing that combines ginger, garlic, nutritional yeast and several other ingredients.
Get the Beet and Carrot Bowl With Savory Dressing recipe and nutrition info here.
3. The Best Tempeh Veggie Burger
- Calories: 243
- Protein: 19 grams
This tempeh veggie burger might just be the best burger you've ever had. Unlike other plant-based burgers which can sometimes be soft and mushy, this tempeh veggie burger has a firm texture and is brimming with spices.
For this recipe, nutritional yeast is blended with garlic, chili powder, paprika, balsamic vinegar and other ingredients to help bind and season the tempeh.
The end result is a filling and hearty veggie burger that can even hold up on the grill.
Get the Best Tempeh Veggie Burger recipe and nutrition info at Eating Bird Food.
4. Gemelli Pasta With Zucchini Meatballs and Avocado Chimichurri
- Calories: 612
- Protein: 23.4 grams
This vegan take on pasta and meatballs has whole-grains, texture and a great mix of flavors. Nutritional yeast adds to nutritious ingredients like chickpeas, avocados and flaxseeds.
You can also swap the gemelli pasta for another whole-grain pasta that you love and switch up the sauce to give it a different taste.
Get the Gemelli Pasta With Zucchini Meatballs and Avocado Chimichurri recipe and nutrition info at Every Vegan Recipe.
5. Corn Chowder
- Calories: 243.1
- Protein: 11.2 grams
This corn chowder can be made as thick and creamy as you'd like and can be topped with hot sauce for a bit of extra spice. The ingredients are relatively simple, but nutritional yeast and miso paste help it to stand out from your typical bowl of corn chowder.
Get the Corn Chowder recipe and nutrition info at Every Vegan Recipe.
6. Vegan Mac and Cheese
- Calories: 472
- Protein: 11 grams
It's true: Meals can be both plant-based and comforting. Mac and cheese is a staple comfort food, and this vegan version is the perfect combination of creamy and a little tangy.
It's not only filling, but also comes with a helping of necessary vitamins and minerals like iron, selenium and zinc.
Get the Vegan Mac and Cheese recipe and nutrition info here.
7. Cottage Pie With Sweet Potato Mash
- Calories: 381.4
- Protein: 20.2 grams
This cottage pie with sweet potato mash is like shepherd's pie, without the meat. It's sweet potato topping adds nutrients and sweetness and it's stuffed with a nice variety of veggies like green peas, carrots, mushrooms and lentils.
Nutritional yeast adds richness to the savory gravy that's also made with miso and tomato paste.
Get the Cottage Pie With Sweet Potato Mash recipe and nutrition info at Every Vegan Recipe.
8. Cheesy Buttercup Squash Tortiglioni
- Calories: 643.2
- Protein: 23 grams
If you love mac and cheese, you'll love this cheesy buttercup squash tortiglioni. Roasted red pepper, squash and spinach make for a creamy and hearty pasta dish. Sprinkle some extra nutritional yeast on top at the end, for extra cheesy flavor.
You can swap out the buttercup squash for acorn, butternut squash or even sweet potatoes.
Get the Cheesy Buttercup Squash Tortiglioni recipe and nutrition info at Every Vegan Recipe.
9. Creamy Mushroom Pasta
- Calories: 873.2
- Protein: 21.4 grams
This creamy mushroom pasta is an update to regular alfredo. It's creamy, savory and a great way to use up any mushrooms you have on hand. And you can customize the recipe by adding herbs, chili and even non-dairy cheese, although it has a cheesy taste all on its own.
Get the Creamy Mushroom recipe and nutrition info at Every Vegan Recipe.
10. Blueberry Kale Caesar Salad With Smoky Chickpeas
- Calories: 325
- Protein: 12 grams
This isn't your average Caesar salad — it's much heartier and has interesting flavors throughout. The blueberry kale caesar salad with chickpeas is smoky and crunchy, bitter and tangy and just a little sweet, thanks to the blueberries.
The salad makes for a light standalone meal or can be paired with your favorite entree as a delicious side.
Get the Blueberry Kale Caesar Salad With Smoky Chickpeas recipe and nutrition info at Dishing Out Health.
11. Vegan Cauliflower Potato Pizza Crust
- Calories: 583
- Protein: 29 grams
This vegan cauliflower potato pizza crust only requires two ingredients and is gluten-free and super nutritious. It makes for a great base for all of the veggies that you love. Try it with basil pesto, chickpeas or greens. You can also add a vegan cheese sauce or tomato sauce and be generous with the nutritional yeast.
Get the Vegan Cauliflower Potato Pizza Crust recipe and nutrition info at Nutriciously.
12. Creamy Vegan Potato Broccoli Casserole
- Calories: 392
- Protein: 17 grams
This comforting and creamy vegan potato broccoli casserole is tasty while also being free of gluten and oil. The cheesy sauce is made from cashews and can be spiced up with herbs, cayenne pepper or soy sauce.
For an even cheesier casserole, feel free to add non-dairy cheese.
Get the Creamy Vegan Potato Broccoli Casserole recipe and nutrition info at Nutriciously.
13. Creamy Instant Pot Vegan Pasta
- Calories: 453
- Protein: 18 grams
It'll be hard to believe that this creamy Instant Pot vegan pasta is dairy-free. Penne, red peppers, spinach and a creamy, cashew rosé sauce make for the perfect recipe to help get you out of an Instant Pot rut.
Get the Creamy Instant Pot Vegan Pasta recipe and nutrition info at The Recipe Well.
14. Mac and Cheese and Peas
- Calories: 362
- Protein: 12 grams
Give boxed mac and cheese a break with this creamy, vegan version that has peas for extra nutrients. It's an uncomplicated recipe that requires just boiling your pasta shells and blending together cashews, almond milk, nutritional yeast and spices.
Get the Mac and Cheese and Peas recipe and nutrition info here.
15. Vegan Bean Pesto Pasta
- Calories: 423
- Protein: 26 grams
Pesto isn't typically dairy-free, but this vegan bean pesto pasta lets you enjoy pesto, sans dairy cheese.
It's full of veggies like asparagus, zucchini and peas. But you can customize many of the ingredients to your liking. For example, you can use other vegetables like spinach, eggplant, cherry tomatoes and more. You can skip the additional veggies since the pesto is made with leafy greens. You can also enjoy the dish hot or cold.
Get the Vegan Bean Pesto Pasta recipe and nutrition info at Nutritiously.