Garlic and Walnut Herb Sauce with Nutritional Yeast

Garlic and Walnut Herb Sauce with Nutritional Yeast

Garlic and Walnut Herb Sauce with Nutritional Yeast

Garlic walnut herb sauce with nutritional yeast

Garlic and Walnut Herb Sauce with Nutritional Yeast

This sauce is a creamy pesto-like sauce with parsley, walnuts and extra garlic but instead of cheese or added salt, it uses nutritional yeast.   Some people call this “nooch”, to give it a more affectionate, shorter name. Despite the technical, yet correct, ingredient name or its cutesy nickname, nutritional yeast offers authentic nutrient benefits and culinary options as a cheese substitute, low-sodium ingredient and thickener.   I don’t typically use products to substitute for authentic or “real food” ingredients, but I make an exception periodically with nutritional yeast. In addition to its great amino acid and fiber profile, has surprising savory, umami notes when cheese isn’t an option (see the tasting section below).

Garlic and Walnut Herb Sauce with Nutritional Yeast

 Makes 1 cup


  • 5-6 garlic cloves, peeled and the hard stem base is removed
  • ⅔ cup unsalted walnut pieces
  • 1½ cup tightly packed fresh parsley ( 1½-2 ounces w/ stems)
  • ½ cup tightly packed fresh basil (a bit over ½ ounce w/ stems)
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast (picture posted below)
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil (plus 2 tablespoons if a more liquid sauce is desired)
  • 1½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Optional: ⅛ teaspoon cayenne (resist the temptation to add a lot more cayenne since it will mute the herb and nutty flavors)

Prep Steps:

  1. Add the garlic and walnuts to a blender and pulse a few times for a course mixture.
  2. Rinse and dry the herbs. Destem the herbs, but some of the thinner parsley stems won’t be a problem.
  3. Add the herbs, nutritional yeast, olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Blend until sauce is smooth.
  4. Serve immediately. If storing in the refrigerator for later use, place plastic wrap directly on the exposed surface area to reduce oxidation which will turn the bright green color to a more muted army green color.

Garlic and Walnut Herb Sauce

  • Nutritional yeast provides the full range of essential amino acids, but most importantly (since it has to taste good!), it offers savory umami attributes due to glutamic acid.
  • In this recipe, the perception of umami is further triggered by the use of walnuts, also high in glutamatic acid.
  • Nutritional yeast adds salty notes to the sauce despite its minor sodium contribution of 5 mg for 3 tablespoons. Three tablespoons of this brand also offers a nice fiber boost at 5 grams.

I used KAL Brand of Nutritional Yeast Flakes purchased from Whole Foods and available in bulk at some grocery stores. I have no preference for brands; however, there are some taste, texture and quality differences.

  • Serve as a topping for roasted veggies
  • Excellent as a dip for roasted cauliflower florets or raw vegetables
  • Use as a sauce for pasta, rice, salmon, sautéed tofu or poultry
  • Use to garnish tops of creamy soups
Nutritional yeast spoon

“A nickel will get you on the subway, but garlic will get you a seat.”

~Old New York Proverb

    About Me

    The pleasure of food, good health and well-being through simple habits for eating well and flexitarian low-key cooking.
    Michele Redmond

    Michele Redmond

    French-trained Chef, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist & Food Enjoyment Activist

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