5-Minute Vegan Parmesan Sprinkle

Created by Laura Wright
5 from 7 votes

This savoury vegan parmesan is perfect for sprinkling over pasta, salads, and pizza. My entirely plant based parmesan that comes together in 5 minutes can also be made nut-free. All you need is a food processor and a handful of pantry ingredients.

A slight 3/4 angle image shows a glass jar filled with a vegan parmesan mixture made from nuts, seeds, spices, salt, and pepper.
An overhead shot shows a hand using a small wooden spoon to sprinkle vegan parmesan on top of a bowl of penne pasta with tomato sauce.
An overhead shot shows the measured out ingredients for a vegan parmesan recipe: sliced almonds, walnut halves, hemp seeds, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast.
An overhead shot shows the following ingredients in the bowl of a food processor: sliced almonds, walnut halves, hemp seeds, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast.

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.

An overhead shot shows vegan "parmesan" freshly mixed in the bowl of a food processor. The texture is like a fine meal consistency.
An overhead shot shows a vegan parmesan sprinkle in a dark ceramic bowl with a spoon sticking out.

Recipes that love a sprinkle of parm!

An overhead shot shows a bowl of penne pasta coated in tomato sauce and topped with two basil leaves and a nut/seed meal mixture.

5-Minute Vegan Parmesan Sprinkle

This savoury vegan parmesan is perfect for sprinkling over pasta, salads, and pizza. My entirely plant based parmesan that comes together in 5 minutes can also be made nut-free. All you need is a food processor and a handful of pantry ingredients.
5 from 7 votes
A slight 3/4 angle image shows a glass jar filled with a vegan parmesan mixture made from nuts, seeds, spices, salt, and pepper.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings 1 cup

Ingredients

  • 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

Notes

  • 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.

Instructions

  • 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.
An overhead shot shows a bowl of tomato sauce-dressed penne topped with a vegan parmesan mixture and two basil leaves. A fork is sticking out of the bowl as well.
23/05/2023 (Last Updated 05/01/2024)
Posted in: autumn, basics, gluten free, grain-free, pasta, raw, refined sugar-free, salty, spring, summer, umami, vegan, winter

6 comments

Recipe Rating




  • Susie

    5 stars
    I can’t believe how good this is on pretty much everything. I used nuts and seeds I had on hand (pumpkin seed, hemp seed, sunflower seed, cashews and pecans) and it’s perfect. This will be a staple in my kitchen forever!!!

  • Celia

    5 stars
    Just made my second batch! I put this on everything…it’s so flavorful!

  • Elise

    Just made this for our pasta dinner. Delicious! Thanks for the recipe. Because my husband is allergic to nuts, I used your seeds suggestion: sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and hemp seeds. I’ll be making this over and over again.

  • Heidi

    5 stars
    Previously had used a cashew version, then tried an almond one – just made this one and it’s definitely the winner with the great combo!! Delicious!

  • Hannah Weisman

    I often make the vegan parm from Minimalist Baker which used cashews. Looking forward to trying this version with different nuts! Yum! Is there a benefit to using sliced almonds over regular raw almonds?

    • Laura Wright

      Hi Hannah!
      I just find that the sliced almonds are a bit drier, and therefore they grind up a bit finer. This makes for a nicer sprinkling texture in my opinion! Of course, you could also use whole raw almonds–they just won’t grind up as fine.
      -L