With just a few ingredients and less than five minutes, you can mix up a batch of delicious vegan parmesan cheese worthy of sprinkling over everything! Plus, this recipe is naturally gluten-free and can be made nut-free. There is no cooking involved, and it even adds extra nutrition to your meals!
What Is Parmesan Cheese?
Parmesan is traditionally a hard, dry cheese made from cows milk with a hard rind and a salty, sharp flavor. It’s neither vegetarian nor vegan friendly. Traditional Italian parmesan ‘Parmigiano-Reggiano’ is a type of parmesan produced within specific locations in Italy. It is highly regulated, including being aged for at least two years.
Used primarily for grating, this cheese has become a firm favorite globally. However, it is also very expensive. So much so, that there is now ready-grated generic ‘parmesan’ that doesn’t melt and sprinkle over pizza and pasta dishes. It can be bought reasonably cheap in stores.
Here I have a delicious alternative for you that uses pantry ingredients. It takes just a few minutes of your time to make before being ready to sprinkle over all your savory meals!
In terms of texture, this parm sprinkle mimics generic parmesan, as it doesn’t melt. However, it has a deliciously cheesy, tangy, salty flavor that works well with so many dishes.
It is also budget-friendly in comparison to store-bought alternatives. It has no nasty additives or preservatives, is low-effort, and quick to prepare.
This vegan parmesan cheese is so utterly delicious that you may just spoon it straight from its container. And I definitely wouldn’t judge you for it!
The Parm Ingredients
I’ve been making homemade vegan parmesan cheese for years now, with it appearing in recipes, as far back as 2017 on my Instagram page and one year later on my blog, like these Vegan Parmesan Potato Wedges.
Through the years of experimenting and tweaking, though, I finally have a dairy free parmesan cheese. It has become an absolute household staple and pretty much my go-to ‘vegan seasoning’. It’s made up of just 5 base ingredients (not including salt):
Raw, Blanched Almond Flour: This almond parm recipe is super customizable. You can use a whole variety of nuts and seeds. However, after lots of experimentation, my absolute favorite option is almonds.
You can buy blanched almond flour in-store or alternatively make it at home. Simply blanch some raw almonds in boiling water for one minute, leave to cool slightly then remove the skins. Once dry, the nuts can be ground into a powdery consistency.
Nutritional Yeast: This is the key to delicious cheesy flavor. Nutritional yeast (also called nooch), has a nutty, cheesy flavor. It is often used instead of dairy for a variety of vegan products like nut cheese. Plus, it is often fortified with B vitamins!
Onion & Garlic Powder: These ingredients help to add some complexity to the overall flavor of the vegan parmesan.
Smoked Paprika: A personal favorite of mine. I think this adds a lovely extra layer of flavor to the cheese sprinkle.
Salt: An absolute must for mimicking the salty flavor of dairy cheese.
Lemon juice or lime juice: I’ve marked this as optional. However, adding lemon juice to your vegan parmesan cheese helps to mimic the sharp tang of traditional parmesan. You could also use a tsp of white vinegar, as well.
Refer to the Tips & Variations section for more recipe notes and top tips!
A Nut-Free Version Using Your Favorite Seeds
As much as I love this almond parmesan, for anyone unable to eat nuts, then there are a few substitutes that you can try.
My personal favorite nut-free option is probably hemp seeds (the hemp hearts). These seeds are incredibly nutritious and have an earthy, nutty flavor, and crunchy texture.
Other options include ground sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, or pumpkin seeds. Just note that each seed will change the flavor significantly.
How To Make The Vegan Parmesan Cheese?
This almond parmesan is so easy to prepare as the steps basically consist of mixing the ingredient together- that’s it! No cooking, no hard-to-follow steps, just mix and sprinkle onto your favorite dishes!
If you have no almond flour available, then you’ll need to follow one additional step at the beginning. But this entire recipe is made up of a maximum of two steps!
(Optional) Step One: To blitz the nuts/seeds into a powdery consistency, pulse them in a food processor/blender or coffee grinder until you reach the desired consistency. Be careful not to leave the machine running, or else you will end up with a paste/butter.
Step Two: Combine all the ingredients and mix well. Adjust seasonings as necessary and feel free to add more nutritional yeast for an even ‘cheesier’ flavor. Once ready, transfer the mixture to a jar or other airtight container.
For the full ingredients list, ingredient measurements, and nutritional information, then please find the printable recipe card below.
How To Store?
Once ready, your dairy free parmesan cheese can be easily stored. Store it in an airtight container for up to four weeks in the fridge. It is freezer-friendly, too, and can be stored for between 3-4 months in the freezer.
If you omit the lemon juice or any ‘wet’ ingredients, then you could also store it at room temperature.
How To Serve?
Use this almond parmesan just as a dairy-free parmesan substitute. Or liberally sprinkle it over anything and everything as your go-to vegan seasoning. There are in fact tons of ways to enjoy this flavorful sprinkle.
Take pasta dishes to the next level – Like any of these 16 Vegan Pasta Dishes. My particular favorites include Vegan Lentil Bolognese, Vegan Lasagna Roll Ups, Mushroom & Spinach Pasta Bake, Roasted Red Pepper Pasta, or even this Healthy Mac And Cheese.
You can also sprinkle the parm over salads, dips, baked vegetables, and even popcorn and other tasty snacks and sides!
Useful Tips & Variations
- You can swap out almonds for other nuts, including cashews (to make cashew parmesan), pine nuts, or brazil nuts. You could also make this recipe nut-free as mentioned above.
- I prefer to use raw blanched almonds. However, you can use roasted nuts – just adjust the salt as needed and note that flavor will vary.
- This nut cheese mix is incredibly versatile and can be made into batches of different ‘flavors’. For example, with the use of Italian herbs, chili flakes, dry basil, etc.
- You can add up to a tsp of white vinegar to further enhance the ‘tang’ element found in regular parmesan.
- Miso can also be added to enhance the flavor profile of the sprinkle.
- If you are making the nut/seed powder from scratch, then you can freeze your nuts pre-blending. This will reduce the risk of you ending up with a paste.
- However, if you do happen to over blend the almond parmesan lightly, you may still be able to use it. E.g. as a vegan ‘breading’ OR mix into a smooth paste. Then press into a small pie tin/mold to make a cheese ‘block’ that you can grate like actual parmesan. Simply leave to set in the fridge for a few hours or freezer until it firms up. Then grate over meals, as needed, awesome right? Keep stored in the refrigerator or freezer between uses.
This Vegan Parmesan Cheese Is
- Quick and easy
- Budget-friendly (in comparison to store-bought options!)
- Additive & preservative-free
- Naturally gluten-free
- Can be made nut-free
- Super customizable!
- An all-round delicious vegan seasoning
If you give this recipe a try, I’d really appreciate a comment and rating below. Also, don’t forget to tag me in re-creations on Instagram or Facebook with @elavegan and #elavegan.
Vegan Parmesan Cheese
- Add all ingredients except the lemon juice to a bowl and stir with a spoon.
- If you like a tangy touch also add some lemon juice or lime juice (white vinegar is fine too). Stir again.
- Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt, onion powder, garlic powder, etc. to taste. For a cheesier flavor add more nutritional yeast.
- Sprinkle over pasta dishes of choice, for example, this Lentil Bolognese. Enjoy!
- Almond flour is 100% ground blanched almonds. You can use any other ground nuts (nut flour) or ground seeds of choice, for example, cashews, pine nuts, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, sesame seeds, or a combination. To make your own nut flour (ground nuts) simply grind the nuts (or seeds) for some seconds in a coffee grinder or food processor. Do not over process, otherwise, the mixture sticks together.
- More tips & helpful information, including substitutes, are mentioned in the blog post above.
If you are using Pinterest, feel free to pin the following photo: