substitute for cheese in pasta

When it comes to enhancing the flavor and texture of pasta dishes, cheese has always been a beloved ingredient. However, if you’re looking to explore healthier options or accommodate dietary restrictions, there are fantastic alternatives to traditional cheese that can work wonders. In this article, we’ll dive into five excellent substitutes for cheese in pasta dishes, highlighting their benefits, nutritional values, and how to incorporate them into your recipes.

Purpose of Exploring Cheese Substitutes

  1. Dietary Diversity: Embrace a wider range of flavors and textures.
  2. Health Consciousness: Opt for lower calorie and healthier options.
  3. Lactose Intolerance: Cater to individuals who are lactose intolerant.
  4. Vegan Lifestyle: Accommodate those following a vegan diet.
  5. Creative Cooking: Experiment with new ingredients and culinary techniques.

Why Replace Cheese in Pasta?

  1. Reduced Saturated Fat: Many cheese substitutes have lower saturated fat content.
  2. Lower Caloric Intake: Cheese alternatives can contribute to weight management.
  3. Heart Health: Some substitutes promote heart-healthy fats and nutrients.
  4. Diverse Nutrients: Alternatives offer different vitamins and minerals than cheese.
  5. Dietary Preferences: Cater to various dietary needs and preferences.

Substitutes for Cheese in Pasta

1. Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast, often referred to as “nooch,” is a popular cheese substitute known for its cheesy, nutty flavor. It’s rich in B vitamins and protein. To use, sprinkle it over cooked pasta for a savory kick.

Nutritional Values Calories Total Fats Carbohydrates Proteins
Per Serving (1 oz) 80 0.5g 5g 9g

To make the substitute: Sprinkle nutritional yeast over your pasta or mix it into your sauce for a cheesy flavor boost.

2. Cashew Cream

Cashew cream is a creamy, dairy-free option that adds richness to pasta dishes. Soak cashews, blend with water, and use it as a creamy pasta sauce or topping.

Nutritional Values Calories Total Fats Carbohydrates Proteins
Per Serving (2 tbsp) 90 7g 4g 3g

To make the substitute: Soak cashews, blend with water until smooth, and use as a creamy sauce or topping for your pasta.

3. Tofu Ricotta

Tofu ricotta is a plant-based alternative that mimics the texture of traditional ricotta cheese. Blend tofu, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and herbs to create a creamy ricotta-like topping for pasta.

Nutritional Values Calories Total Fats Carbohydrates Proteins
Per Serving (1/2 cup) 70 4.5g 2g 6g

To make the substitute: Blend tofu, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, garlic, and herbs until creamy. Use as a ricotta substitute in pasta dishes.

4. Vegan Parmesan

Vegan parmesan is a simple yet flavorful alternative made from nuts, nutritional yeast, and garlic powder. Sprinkle it over your pasta dishes for added umami and a cheesy taste.

Nutritional Values Calories Total Fats Carbohydrates Proteins
Per Serving (1 tbsp) 45 3.5g 1g 2g

To make the substitute: Blend nuts (such as almonds or cashews), nutritional yeast, garlic powder, and a pinch of salt. Sprinkle over pasta for a parmesan-like flavor.

5. Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Roasted red pepper sauce is a vibrant and flavorful alternative to cheese-based sauces. Blend roasted red peppers, almonds, olive oil, and seasonings for a creamy pasta sauce.

Nutritional Values Calories Total Fats Carbohydrates Proteins
Per Serving (1/4 cup) 120 10g 6g 3g

To make the substitute: Blend roasted red peppers, almonds, olive oil, garlic, and seasonings until smooth. Use as a pasta sauce or mix into your pasta dishes.

Nutrition Facts Summary

Substitute Calories Total Fats Proteins Carbohydrates Source Works Best In
Nutritional Yeast 80 0.5g 9g 5g Inactive Yeast Various Pasta Dishes
Cashew Cream 90 7g 3g 4g Cashew Nuts Creamy Pasta Sauces
Tofu Ricotta 70 4.5g 6g 2g Soybean Lasagna, Stuffed Pasta
Vegan Parmesan 45 3.5g 2g 1g Nuts, Nutritional Yeast Various Pasta Dishes
Roasted Red Pepper Sauce 120 10g 3g 6g Red Peppers, Almonds Flavored Pasta Dishes


Q: Can I use nutritional yeast in place of grated Parmesan cheese?

A: Yes, nutritional yeast can be a great substitute for the cheesy flavor in pasta dishes, including as a topping similar to grated Parmesan.

Q: Are these substitutes suitable for a vegan diet?

A: Absolutely! All the mentioned substitutes are dairy-free and suitable for a vegan lifestyle.

Q: Can I combine these substitutes for a more complex flavor?

A: Certainly! Feel free to experiment and combine different substitutes to create unique and delicious pasta dishes.

Q: Can I use cashew cream in both hot and cold pasta dishes?

A: Yes, cashew cream works well in both hot and cold pasta dishes, adding creaminess and flavor.

Q: Are there any nut-free alternatives among these substitutes?

A: Yes, nutritional yeast and tofu ricotta are nut-free options that still offer a rich and cheesy taste.


Exploring cheese substitutes for pasta opens up a world of culinary possibilities. Whether you’re looking to cut down on calories, follow a vegan diet, or simply try new flavors, these alternatives provide exciting options. By embracing nutritional yeast, cashew cream, tofu ricotta, vegan parmesan, and roasted red pepper sauce, you can create delicious pasta dishes that cater to diverse tastes and dietary needs. So go ahead and experiment – your taste buds will thank you!

Yuki Tanaka

Written by Yuki Tanaka

I'm from Utashinai and I love tasty food and nice words. I also write blogs, take pictures of food, and create recipes. Cooking and baking are my favorite things to do!

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