If you’ve been following me for a while, you may be familiar with this refrain in my recipes (especially vegan pasta dinners): “Sprinkle with vegan parmesan cheese if you like and serve!” I’ve included it in the notes of recipes for years, but felt called to bring it up to official status!
Calling this a cheese is definitely a stretch, but this vegan parm sprinkle adds a tangy and salty finishing touch that compliments most savoury foods. The perfect salad, pizza, and pasta topper!
I simply mix it up in my food processor in one go. From here, you can store this dairy free parmesan cheese in a sealed container in the fridge for about a month. My cookbook features a similar recipe that’s pine nut-based and made in a spice grinder, which works perfectly for last minute mini batches.
Vegan Parmesan Cheese Ingredients:
- Vegan parmesan is made from a mixture of nuts and seeds, nutritional yeast, a couple pantry spices, salt, and pepper.
- I like to use a particular mixture of nuts and seeds, my favourite combination being: raw walnuts, sliced almonds, and hemp seeds. You can mix this up however you like, but it’s important to note that some nuts can be quite “wet” and clumpy in this mixture ie pecans, pine nuts, and walnuts. For this reason, I limit them to a third of the total volume. Sliced almonds and raw cashews grind up into more of a “dusty” consistency that’s perfect for even sprinkling. I always leave a third of the total volume as seeds because I like the milder flavour in the mix.
- Nutritional yeast is an inactive yeast that is also a source of B vitamins and trace minerals. It has a pleasantly savoury and nutty taste. Some folks describe it as cheesy-tasting!
- I use garlic and onion powders to bump up the flavour and make this sprinkle a bit more robust.
- A lot of vegan parmesan recipes call for salt alone, but I think that both salt and pepper are necessary. Pepper helps to bring those peppery piquant qualities that real parmesan is known for.
In essence, this is a ground up nut and seed seasoning mixture. For this reason alone I have to make it clear: this “cheese” recipe will not melt. It’s meant to be used as a finishing sprinkle or topping. It’s a savoury accent that makes a dish feel a bit more special and complete!
I’ve tried the store bought options and a bunch of different ratios in this homemade version. What we have here (to me!) really is the best vegan parmesan.
Recipes that love a sprinkle of parm!
- Vegan Skillet Lasagna
- 30-Minute Easy Lentil Bolognese
- Pizza Night Salad
- Easy Vegan Instant Pot Mushroom Risotto
5-Minute Vegan Parmesan Sprinkle
- 1 cup mixed unroasted nuts/seeds (see note)
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¾ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- For the nut and seed mix, my favourite combination is: ⅓ cup raw walnuts, ⅓ cup sliced almonds, and ⅓ cup hemp seeds. You get the buttery richness of the walnuts, the “dusty” and even sprinkling qualities of the almonds, and the grassy-fresh flavour of hemp seeds is just really nice!
- A mix of hemp seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds is delightful for a nut-free version.
- In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the “S” blade, combine the nuts/seeds, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Pulse until you have a mealy and slightly “dusty” mixture.
- Transfer the vegan parmesan sprinkle to a sealable jar or other container and close the lid on top. This will keep in the fridge for a month.