Homemade vegan parmesan cheese is a great alternative to store-bought vegan cheese, and it’s excellent for sprinkling on pasta or other dishes where parmesan is required.
It adds a savory flavor to your dishes, and you can make it easily with a few simple ingredients.
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The best thing about this vegan parmesan cheese recipe is that you can make it in about 10 minutes with four simple ingredients: nuts, soy sauce, nutritional yeast, and salt.
Essentially, this is a nut blend, not a cheese, and is more similar to an Italian-inspired Dukkah than real parmesan.
We call it that way to give you an idea of its use. You can sprinkle it on pasta, risotto, parmigiana, and other recipes you would typically use grated parmesan.
What it does well is adding texture and a pleasant savory and slightly cheesy flavor to your dishes; however, don’t expect it to melt because it won’t.
You can make this with raw cashews, almonds, or walnuts.
It’s best to buy raw and unsalted nuts and then toast them in the oven for a few minutes before blending them.
If you are allergic to nuts, we have a nut-free vegan parmesan recipe in the variations chapter below.
If you like, you can substitute raw sunflower seeds and pepitas for half of the nuts and add a couple of tablespoons of hemp seeds for extra healthy fats.
Nutritional yeast flakes add a slightly cheesy and umami flavor to this vegan parmesan cheese. You can add more or less nutritional yeast based on your preference.
Nutritional yeast is NOT brewer’s yeast; it has NO leavening or proofing abilities. It’s made with inactive yeast and comes in yellowish-colored flakes or granules.
You can find it in most supermarkets and food stores as it’s become a popular condiment among vegans and vegetarians. It contains b vitamins (especially if B12 fortified), and it’s a good source of protein with all nine amino acids.
Soy sauce adds umami and saltiness to this plant-based parmesan cheese.
For a soy-free recipe, you can replace soy sauce with sun-dried tomatoes; however, you’ll need to add more salt if you do so.
To make the vegan parm gluten-free, you can substitute tamari sauce or coconut aminos for soy sauce.
You can also add half a teaspoon of miso to add even more umami, but that’s optional.
We like adding a pinch of sea salt to our fake parmesan to make it taste more like real parmesan.
Adjust salt based on your taste and dietary preferences. You can even keep the salt out if you are on a low-sodium diet.
Garlic is optional. If you like adding a tangy and slightly sharp flavor to your vegan parmesan cheese, add one clove of fresh garlic.
Substitute garlic powder or onion powder for fresh garlic.
You’ll need a blender or a food processor to turn the nuts into a parmesan-like texture.
Preheat the oven to 350°F or 180°C. Arrange the nuts on a baking sheet and bake them in the oven for about 8 to 10 minutes, moving them around the baking sheet halfway through cooking.
Let the nuts cool down for 10 minutes, then add them to a food processor with salt and nutritional yeast.
Pulse a few times to turn the nuts into coarse nut flour that looks like grated parmesan cheese.
When you are happy with the texture, add soy sauce while blending.
Taste and adjust for salt and ensure not to over-blend the nuts, or they might turn into cashew butter.
Spread the parmesan on the baking sheet and let it dry at room temperature for 30 minutes before using it or storing it in a jar in the fridge.
You can serve it on your favorite pasta dish.
Soy-free Vegan Parmesan
If you are allergic to soy or have run out of soy sauce, sun-dried tomatoes are a great alternative to add umami. Use sun-dried tomatoes that are sold dry, not in oil.
Sun-dried tomatoes are packed with flavor, and if you blend them with the nuts, you add that umami punch to your fake cheese.
Add about 1 ounce (30 grams) of sun-dried tomatoes for every 2 cups of nuts (300 grams) of almonds.
Note: your parmesan will be slightly red when you use sun-dried tomatoes.
Nut-free Vegan Parmesan
We have a great alternative recipe for vegan parmesan cheese if you are allergic to nuts.
Our nut-free fake parmesan is made with stale bread (or breadcrumbs) instead of nuts.
This is an ancient Italian recipe used in the past by poorer farmers in the south of Italy that did not have access to expensive parmesan cheese from the north.
To make it, stir together ¾ cup (120g) breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons (30g) extra virgin olive oil, ½ teaspoon dried thyme, 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, 1 teaspoon garlic powder or a minced garlic clove, ½ to 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper.
You can even add some grated lemon zest if you like.
Sprinkle this vegan parmesan on your favorite pasta, risotto, soup, salad, or roasted vegetables.
- Pasta Pomodoro (canned pelati tomatoes, spaghetti, garlic, fresh basil, parsley, etc.)
- Vegan mushroom pasta (portobello mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, garlic, parsley, etc.)
- Homemade orecchiette (semola flour, water, broccoli rabe, red pepper flakes, etc.)
- Lemon pasta (spaghetti, spinach, garlic, lemon, red pepper flakes, etc.)
- Mushroom risotto (arborio rice, onion, mushrooms, broth, butter, cheese, etc.)
- Tomato risotto (canned tomatoes, vegetable broth, onion, parsley, butter, etc.)
- Asparagus risotto (white wine, onion, asparagus, lemon, arborio rice, etc.)
- Zucchini risotto (lemon, thyme, shallot, zucchini, butter, white wine, etc.)
- Sweet potato salad (canned lentils, roasted sweet potatoes, cumin, maple syrup, oil, etc.)
- Roasted cauliflower salad (cauliflower, parsley, hazelnuts, lentils, lemon, tahini, etc.)
- Eggplant salad (chickpeas, eggplant, zucchini, olives, bell pepper, tomato, lemon, etc.)
- Caponata (canned tomatoes, eggplant, capers, olives, pine nuts, celery onions, etc.)
- Tuscan soup (white beans, carrot, onion, curly kale, canned tomatoes, thyme, etc.)
- Lentil soup (dried lentils, onion, carrot, celery, vegetable broth, canned tomato, etc.)
- Potato leek soup (potato, leek, yogurt, onion, chives, thyme, vegetable broth, etc.)
- Lentil vegetable soup (lentils, carrot, onion, celery, spinach, canned tomatoes, cumin, etc.)
No. Almonds and nuts, in general, are healthy foods.
They should be consumed daily to increase longevity and overall health, and this vegan parmesan is a convenient way to increase your consumption of almonds. Learn more here.
No. While almonds contain a good amount of calories, there is substantial evidence that consuming nuts helps you keep your weight in check. Learn more here.
Yes. You can scale this recipe up or down, but always taste it and adjust for salt based on your preference.
Unless made artisanally by small producers, we think most vegan cheese fall under the ultra-processed food category, which means they are basically junk foods made with refined oil and starches.
This vegan cheese recipe is made with wholesome ingredients and is much healthier than store-bought vegan cheese.
Compared to authentic parmigiano, this recipe contains no animal products, is dairy-free, has no cholesterol, and is made with healthy nuts as the main ingredient.
Make Ahead & Storage
Make ahead: this is an excellent recipe to make ahead as it lasts for two weeks in the fridge.
Refrigerator: to store it, spread the parmesan back on the baking sheet and let it dry at room temperature for 30 minutes before transferring it to a jar or airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Freezer: transfer to a freezer-friendly container and freeze for up to 3 months.
More Vegan Cheese Recipes
If you’re curious about trying other types of vegan cheese, take a peek at these homemade cheese recipes:
- Vegan ricotta cheese: an easy 3-ingredient recipe to use just like regular ricotta.
- White sauce – vegan bechamel: a creamy and cheesy sauce, perfect with savory crepes.
- Vegan melted cheese: a reader favorite, great with pizza and flatbread.
- Easy tofu cream cheese: a fun and easy appetizer that pairs with veggies of your choice.
- Crisp focaccia with melted cheese: crunchy, cheesy, and luxurious, this focaccia is great for pizza nights and game nights.
- Vegan cream cheese frosting: great on vegan lemon cake and vegan carrot cake.
For many more side dish ideas, check out our sides category page.
Vegan Parmesan Cheese
- Food processor
- 2 cups raw cashews (sub almonds or walnuts)
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- ½ teaspoon salt or more to taste
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 clove garlic (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350°F or 180°C. Arrange 2 cups raw cashews (also almonds or walnuts) on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 8 to 10 minutes, moving them around the baking sheet halfway through cooking.They should be lightly toasted.
- Let nuts cool down 10 minutes, then add them to a food processor with 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast and ½ teaspoon salt.Optionally, you can add 1 clove garlic (chopped).Pulse a few times to turn the nuts into coarse nut flour that looks like grated parmesan cheese.
- When you are happy with the texture, add 2 tablespoons soy sauce while blending.Taste and adjust for salt and ensure not to over-blend the nuts, or they might turn into cashew butter.
- Spread the parmesan on the baking sheet and let it dry at room temperature for 30 minutes before using it or storing it in a jar in the fridge.
- You can serve it on your favorite pasta dish.
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