Vegan parmesan cheese? Say what? The one thing a lot of non-vegans say holds them back is the cheese. Some things you just eventually realize you don’t need – you “get over” it. Other food items you don’t want to get over. A particular food might hold an important memory, taste or texture that you truly don’t want to live without. For me, parmesan cheese was one of these! What is Italian food without parmesan cheese? The pasta? Pizza? The Lasagna?
Fortunately for plant-based eaters, there are parmesan cheese options that don’t use dairy or oil. It is so easy to whip up a vegan parmesan cheese made with cashews, a little garlic and salt, and the secret ingredient: nutritional yeast! (Nutritional yeast is not the same as brewer’s or baker’s yeast and can often be found in the health food section of grocery stores. You can also get it on Amazon.)
There are many recipes for vegan parmesan cheese on the internet. Some use other nuts such as walnuts. I like cashews because the flavor of the cashew lends blends perfectly with the flavor of the nutritional yeast to give that cheesey flavor. It’s important to use raw cashews to get the right texture. I have used roasted cashews before and it is a little coarser. If you do use roasted cashews, try to find unsalted – or don’t add the salt to the recipe; otherwise you will have an overly salty product.
It’s very important to start with a very dry blender! If any moisture gets into the blending process, your cashew parmesan cheese will end up more like a savory nut butter…and while I tried to like this particular flavor…it was nope for me! (Yes, I speak from sad experience.)
Put all your ingredients in a high speed blender or food processor and pulse a few times till you get the texture you like. If you pulse too long you’ll get too fine a powder.
I like to put mine in a fancy shaker! This is delicious sprinkled on any Italian dish! (To be honest, I’ve been know to just shake it in my mouth…really…)
Vegan parmesan cheese with cashews is the perfect topping for pizza! I use this vegan parmesan cheese to top:
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Parmesan Cheese with Cashews (Vegan)
- 1 cup cashew nuts raw
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Put all ingredients in a dry high-speed blender.
- In short bursts, blend or process a few times until mixture resembles a slightly chunky parmesan cheese.
- Put in sealed container to store.