what the heck is nutritional yeast? with a recipe for raw pizza bites!

Hello dear readers and happy Friday!

In my last post I asked which recipe you would all rather see first- pizza bites or the curry salad. The pizza bites won by a landslide. I’m glad the salad got a few votes, I was starting to feel bad for it!

I also got a request from a reader a few weeks back to do a post on nutritional yeast- what exactly it is and how to use it. I’ve been a little slow in responding, mainly because I wanted a killer recipe to go with my explanation. Well now I have one so hear goes!

What is nutritional yeast?


Nutritional yeast, or “nooch” as it’s lovingly referred to in the vegan community, is a deactivated yeast. It is not the same as Brewer’s yeast so please don’t go out and buy it to use in my recipes! You will get quite a shock when you taste it ;)

Nutritional yeast is grown on a mixture of can and beet molasses for about 1 week during which B-vitamins are added to help it grow. It then gets pasteurized, washed and dried. It is an excellent source of almost all B vitamins and is a wonderful source of complete protein. Many brands will fortify their flakes with B12 so definitely check for this when purchasing. B12 can be a hard to find nutrient in vegan diets so having your nutritional yeast fortified with it is a bonus!

What does it taste like?

Basically it tastes amazing ;) The flavour is the main reason I use it, the nutrients are a bonus! Nutritional yeast has a slightly nutty and cheesy taste, which makes it a popular ingredient in many vegan dishes to add a cheesy, savoury or eggy flavour.

How do you use it?

I like using it in so many ways! Some of my favourites include:

  • sprinkling it on pasta dishes as a parmesan cheese substitute
  • adding it to non-dairy sauces for a cheesy taste
  • using it in tofu scrambles to give it an eggy flavour
  • as a topping on baked potatoes or in mashed potatoes
  • anywhere where you want to enhance flavour like salad dressings, in beans, etc.
  • sprinkling on popcorn
  • add it to smoothies
  • basically, sprinkle it on everything ;)

Here are some recipes on the blog that use nutritional yeast:

IMG_3595 gluten free feedIMG_0583 finding veganIMG_1434 compressedIMG_0596 compressed

Now, when I was thinking about what recipe I would create to go along with this post I wanted to keep away from “cheese” sauces. There are so many amazing ones on the internet. I wanted to bring something a little different.


Enter these Raw Pizza Bites.

I created these one day when I wanted to make something up that I could use as snacks during the week that wasn’t sweet. Usually one of my go to snacks are a raw nut/date snack bite, but as these are sweet they weren’t really an option. Or so I thought. I started to try and think of a way I could make a bite out of nuts or seeds that would hold together without dates.


star ingredients!

Then it hit me- sundried tomatoes! When blended they act exactly like dates in that they help things stick together. Not to mention they have fantastic flavour. Combine their savoury tomato flavour with nutritional yeast’s cheesy one and you get a snack bite that tastes surprisingly like pizza!


either way they are delicious

Combined with some Italian spices and sunflower seeds these make the perfect portable snack. You can dehydrate them for a snack that is a little crisp on the outside and soft on the outside, or just skip this step completely. They taste awesome either way! They are really tasty eaten at room temperature making them very portable!


Raw Pizza Snack Bites (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-free, Raw)

Makes ~8 bites, but easily doubled.

  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds (soaked and dehydrated is possible)
  • 2 tbsp hemp seeds (or more sunflower seeds)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp sundried tomatoes (try and use ones without sulphites)
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • pinch sea salt
  • pinch red pepper flakes

First process the sunflower seeds and hemp seeds in a food processor until finely ground. Add everything else except the water and process until everything is sticking together. Add the water if needed to help it stick.

Roll into little balls and either store immediately in the refrigerator or dehydrate at 105°F for 4 hours. Try one warm from the dehydrator is you have have one!


My mind is just spinning with all the flavour combinations possible! This is probably closest to a cheese pizza, but what about a Hawaiian with some dried pineapple in there? Or maybe a Mediterranean pizza with some black olives? Endless possibilities!




Have a great weekend everyone!

I am submitting this post to Allergy Free Wednesdays, Allergy Friendly Friday and Wellness Weekends!

66 thoughts on “what the heck is nutritional yeast? with a recipe for raw pizza bites!

  1. Pingback: “Cooking” Class at Bean | VegCharlotte

  2. YES so happy to see this recipe (my vote was for both the salad and the bites!) they look so incredible – don’t you just love those aha moments when you create something amazing :)

  3. OMG best idea ever Gabby! I’m definitely making these. I can see them on a bed of zucchini noodles and tomato sauce. I looove nutritional yeast!

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  4. Nutritional yeast is just so great! I love the idea of making little pizza bites with them! These would make great meatballs to go with zucchini pasta. Man, oh man, I just got hungry!

  5. This is such a unique recipe! The more I visit your blog, the more I’m impressed by you and your recipes! I can’t wait to give this a try…especially if it tastes like pizza!

  6. I love nutritional yeast – so does MIsty he is OBSESSED with broccoli sprinkled with nooch (man oh MAN is he MY son or what?!) I bet he (and I) would LOVE these pizza bites – awesome recipe :)

  7. Nutritional yeast is one of my favorite things I have discovered thanks to the blog world. I LOVE it. Especially in salads.

  8. Dear lord I love nutritional yeast enough that it’s almost unholy. Particularly because I’ve been without it for a month – iHerb was sold out of my favourite and now it’s too soon to when I leave to justify ordering it.

    Love the idea of savoury nut bites!

  9. I remember being completely mystified when I first heard of nutritional yeast. Since then I’ve discovered it improves just about any savoury recipe – and I fear it may not be long until I try it in a non-savoury one too! It’s just so versatile :) These bites look fantastic!

    • It seems like such a scary ingredient but once you’ve tried it, there’s no going back! I’ve used nutritional yeast in my raw almond butter cups and it’s crazy good! I should try and use it in another sweet recipe- it adds a richness unlike anything else. Glad you like the look of the bites! Thanks for stopping by :)

  10. I’ll be making these babies this weekend! I love nooch too! I love it in my spicy cheesy cauliflower mash! Once in a blue moon I will pop some organic popcorn in coconut oil with sea salt, nooch and Maca – delicious! I will even sprinkle some in my dog and cat’s food bowls – they love it too! This whole family adores it! Thanks for recipe and info.

  11. Mmm… I love nutritional yeast on… everything! Honestly, I can eat it with a spoon! ;-) Those pizza bites look delicious!

  12. Hi Gabby, I just bought a pack of “nooch” 2 days ago, for the first time, as I have been reading a lot about it lately, Thanks for the info, links, and recipes. I am looking forward to testing out this favourite in lots of different ways.

  13. Crazy, amazing recipe, Gabby! Beautifully demonstrates my personal little theory on meat- vs. plant-based recipes and that is: that it’s the FLAVORS that people crave – and flavors come from spices, herbs, etc. rather than (to put it crudely) animal flesh – and it is a fairly simple matter to recreate, cruelty-free, the flavors involved in favorite meat-based foods. Not the most succinctly put, but hoping you get my meaning.

    • Thanks Annie, you are so sweet! I completely agree with you- it can be frustrating when people suggest vegan versions couldn’t possibly be as good because they are missing a key animal product. But you’re exactly right- when I made vegan sausages once I found that the addition of chili and fennel made them taste exactly like their counterparts and that’s what people taste when they eat a sausage, not the meat itself! We will just have to keep making vegan treat and slowly we will show them the light ;)

  14. I love nooch so much!!!!! Just had some for dinner last night on my cauliflower. : ) This is such a brilliant idea. It might take some getting used to—little raw balls trigger “SWEET! DESSERT!” in my brain, so we’ll see how it goes with a savory twist. : )

    • Noooch is veggies’ best friend that’s for sure! I often sprinkle a little Bragg’s and nooch on my veggies and I’m good to go!

      I know what you mean about your brain automatically thinking sweet- just think of them as raw crackers, but in ball shape ;)

  15. Wow! These look so good…I was wondering what ingredients you could possibly use to make a “pizza” bite but you did it. The use of the sun dried tomatoes is genius!

    I love, love, LOVE nooch and can’t get enough! I never in a million years thought I’d like something that had the word yeast in it ;-) I’ve read conflicting things about how to store it. I keep mine in the fridge because I read to preserve the B12 content (if you have a fortified one) you must refrigerate. But I’ve also read that you don’t need to refrigerate…what do you do?

    I can’t wait to make these Gabby…oh, and you know you just tugged at my heart when you mentioned the Hawaiian pizza using pineapple! ;-)

    • Thanks Shelby! I was really proud of my “a-ha!” moment on the sundried tomatoes. These bites really pack a flavour punch with them included!

      Haha I remember when I first heard about nutritional yeast I thought it sounded gross. Luckily though that was during a cooking class and she had some for us to try. I went out and bought some the next grocery trip! I don’t refrigerate mine, I’ve actually never heard of needing to. I’ll have to do some of my own research! My best guess would be to check the brand’s website and see what they say. But I mean the fridge won’t hurt it so might as well keep it in there just in case?

      Hehe I was TOTALLY thinking about you when I suggested the Hawaiian pizza ;) I just knew it would appeal to you! I so wish I still had some of that dried pineapple you sent me so I could try it. If you do, let me know how it goes!

  16. I looooooooooove me some nooch! ;) Especially on tofu scrambles. It is such a versatile ingredient! You are right, it is also awesome on popcorn! Yum! I’m curious about the nooch in the raw almond butter cups too. That sounds so interesting!

    This recipe looks DELICIOUS! These would be a perfect snack to bring when I’m working weddings. The sound so savory and delicious and the B-6 vitamins will certainly help too :) I have such a long list of your recipes to try! I’ll have to start chipping away at it ;)

    Hope you are doing well! So close to the weekend, hope you are able to relax and recharge a bit!

    • Isn’t nooch amazing! I sprinkle it on/in sooo many things I make! It’s really good in the raw almond butter cups- it gives it that token “Reeses” taste!

      It’s definitely savoury in the most satisfying way and they travel really well! I recommend dehydrating them too- you’ll love them a little warm :)

      Yes hopefully you get a chance to do that too! Sorry you have to work tomorrow, but Sunday will feel SOOO good!

  17. great information on nutritional yeast! i bought some months back and couldn’t find too many good resources on it online. so this is great for newcomers to the product. i honestly haven’t used it too much – but whenever i do i really enjoy it! need to start experimenting with it more.

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