If you’re looking for a dairy free, plant-based alternative to Parmesan cheese, you’re in luck. This vegan Parmesan is just perfect to cover all your favorite pasta or other dishes with it’s cheesy, tangy pizzazz!
Parmesan cheese is nearly the most popular cheese used as a final flavor accent to countless foods, second only to mozzarella in it’s appeal. No wonder that so many of us following a plant-based diet still crave that cheesy, tangy, and savory goodness.
Growing up, we always had a shaker container of grated Parmesan cheese in the kitchen, and I would spread a generous dusting of it on to my pasta or pizza. I loved the stuff! As an adult and after my family when vegan, we went without Parmesan, or any other cheese for a long time.
Eventually, vegan Parmesan-like offerings started to show up at the grocery store. We would occasionally try brand after brand, finding some that were pretty tasty and close to what we remembered Parmesan to taste like. They weren’t cheap though, so it wasn’t a regular item we bought.
We then started trying various vegan Parmesan recipes and found a couple we liked. They were tasty, easy, and relatively cheap to make. They seemed to lack something, though. That’s when I decided to see if I could come up with a recipe that had more of that Parmesan umami.
I finally came up with a recipe that had more of the cheesy, tangy, nutty, and savory flavor that seemed to be missing from the other recipes we tried. It’s plant based and easy to make.
It is true, this recipe isn’t Parmesan cheese. Original Parmesan (authentic Parmigiano Reggiano from Italy) is made from cow’s milk and rennet from calves, and takes as long as a year to age before it’s ready. My dairy free, animal free alternative takes just 20 minutes to make!
Vegan Parmesan Ingredients
- Nutritional Yeast – it provides the cheesiness and slight nutty flavor to this vegan Parmesan. It’s rich in many vitamins including B12 and folic acid. It also is a source of complete protein and some fiber.
- Garlic powder – It’s bold, slightly pungent, spiciness adds to the overall flavor fusion. It is full of nutrients including heart healthy and anti-cancer compounds.
- Onion Powder– It pairs with garlic to give more overall richness. Closely related to garlic, it has most of the same health benefits as well.
- Cashews – Gives a chewy, granular texture and adds a mild nutty sweet flavor. Cashews also provide protein, and heart healthy magnesium, as well as other beneficial nutrients.
- Salt – Parmesan is a fairly salty cheese, as part of it’s flavor profile.
- Lactic Acid – A small amount of vegan lactic acid to add the tanginess that is part of the Parmesan flavor.
- Almond Flour – Adds another kind of nutty sweet flavor and richness.
- Roasted Oats – Adds additional flavor complexity and helps with the powdery texture.
Place ¼ cup oatmeal in a shallow baking pan or on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes at 350o F until golden brown.
Place the baked oats in a food processor or blender to pulverize before adding the rest of the ingredients to the blender.
Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor or blender and mix until it has a uniform light yellow color and powdery consistency.
The blended vegan Parmesan should look like the last photo above, and some minor clumping of the powder is normal until you remove it from the blender:
Sprinkle this vegan Parmesan on your favorite pasta dishes, roasted asparagus, broccoli, or any other cooked vegetables to add a delicious savory accent. It’s also great on popcorn!
Frequently Asked Questions
You can store it in the refrigerator for two to three months in an air tight container, or freeze it for up to 6 months.
You can use a variety of other nuts such as walnuts or pecans. The flavor of the Parmesan may be slightly different but still delicious.
Sunflower, hemp, or pumpkin seeds can be used in place of the nuts. The flavor will vary somewhat depending on the seeds used.
Looking for other oil free cheese recipes?
- Oil Free Vegan Mozzarella
- Vegan Pepper Jack Cheese
- Vegan Cheddar Cheese
- Baked Vegan Mac & Cheese
- Cashew Cheese Sauce
- Vegan Ricotta
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Vegan Parmesan Cheese
- ¼ cup Oats
- ½ cup Cashews
- 5 tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
- ¼ cup Almond Flour
- ¾ teaspoon Garlic Powder
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ½ teaspoon Onion Powder
- ¼ teaspoon Vegan Lactic Acid
- Add 1/4 cup raw oats to a baking dish or pan and place in an oven at 350°F for 10 to 15 minutes until the oats are lightly toasted.
- Place the toasted oats in a blender or food processor and blend until powdery.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the blender or food processor and blend all till the mixture is a uniformly coarse powder, light yellow in color.
- Place contents in an air tight container for storage in the refrigerator