This Dairy-free Parmesan Cheese Recipe is so easy to make and the perfect plant-based parmesan cheese substitute for people who can’t or don’t eat dairy products. A homemade vegan parmesan cheese with authentic texture and cheesy taste that’s made with just 5 simple ingredients, takes just 5 minutes to make and tastes incredible…yes, please, and thank you too!
Good news for those who are trying to eat less animal products, but having a tough time giving up dairy cheese! You will adore the flavor boost this vegan cheese gives all your pasta dishes….and your body will thank you for no fake food that is found in most store bought vegan cheese products…no sacrifices to make…just pure satisfaction coming your way.
As far as dairy-free cheeses go, this one isn’t trying to be the melty type…so let’s just get that out of the way. This is the sprinkle onto all the things type, that imparts a cheesy flavor…like real parmesan does.
If you’re looking for more of a vegan cojita cheese vibe, check out my Mexican Street Corn Recipe, there’s an insanely delicious recipe for that there!
I think this is the best vegan parmesan out there. It’s perfect for sprinkling onto vegan meatballs with marinara or your favorite vegan pizza. Shake it onto my dairy-free tomato soup, zucchini lasagna roll ups and even simple cauli-rice with asparagus, I even sprinkle it onto all the Mexican recipes. Ok, so basically everything! And that’s OK!
Why you’ll love this Vegan Parmesan Cheese Recipe
- This great dairy-free alternative tastes like the real deal when sprinkled on top of all the things.
- EASY: Simple recipe uses just 5 whole foods ingredients that you’re familiar with.
- Budget friendly: It is much less expensive to make homemade dairy-free parmesan than to buy vegan parmesan in the grocery store.
- Whole foods recipe with no fake ingredients that you can’t pronounce or don’t know what they are. Pro tip: Labels that list “natural flavors” are a red flag that there’s something they’re not telling you.
- No oil: many recipes for vegan cheese use organic palm fruit oil, canola oil, or other highly processed vegetable oils. Don’t be fooled if the product packaging says organic vegetable glycerin…it’s just a hidden name for processed oils.
- Traditional parmesan cheese is made with cow’s milk and animal rennet which is hard to digest….dairy-free parm is the way to go!
- Will stay good in the pantry in an airtight container for a couple of weeks, or store in the fridge for a couple of months.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Pine nuts: They’re soft and grind up well to mimic that texture of regular parmesan cheese. You could substitute raw cashews or sunflower seeds, but I think they both have a more nutty flavor.
- Hemp seeds: Substitute hemp hearts, but the preference would be to use the seeds as they’re higher in dietary fiber and minerals.
- Nutritional yeast: I consider nutritional yeast an essential ingredient to this vegan recipe. It gives off a little bit of a cheesy flavor, that golden yellow color, and it’s a good vegetable source of b vitamins. It’s actually inactive yeast, not to be confused with yeast extract that is found in MSG. Also, this is not the same as brewer’s yeast, keep that in mind.
- Garlic powder: Not to be confused with garlic salt. Substitute with onion powder if needed, or use a bit of both!
- Salt: I like to use coarse ground sea salt. You could sub with kosher salt. When people say they’re not ready to give up cheese, it’s likely the salt they’re having trouble saying goodbye to. Real parmesan is quite salty…so consider that before omitting the salt in this recipe.
How to make Vegan Parmesan Cheese
I use my spice grinder all the time, to grind oats into flour, for finely chopping nuts, or for recipes like vegetable bouillon powder. The best thing about using a spice grinder is you can make really small batches of things.
Place pine nuts, hemp seeds, nutritional yeast, garlic powder and salt into the spice grinder and pulse a few times.
Continue until the mixture is uniformly crumbly, with the texture of normal parmesan cheese.
Transfer to a clean container with a tight fitting lid. I think these spice jars are perfect storage containers, they come in multiple sizes which is great if you cook a lot! I use them also for my no salt taco seasoning, my vegetable bouillon powder and my dry ranch seasoning mix.
Debra’s Pro Tips
- DO NOT OVER BLEND: A crumbly texture is exactly what you’re looking for. Pulse until desired consistency is achieved. Go slowly so you stop before mixture becomes pasty, like nut butter. Remember, the desired texture will resemble real parmesan.
- Extend the life of your vegan cheese by storing in the fridge.
- While you’re at it, make a double batch! If you serve this to friends and it’s their first time trying it, be prepared to give out the recipe….or better yet, send them home with a little jar for themselves.
This dairy-free parmesan does not melt. However, where it shines is imparting a cheesy type flavor when sprinkled onto all your favorite Italian dishes like pasta, pizza, stuffed zucchini. You can also use it as a parmesan cheese replacement in recipes like vegan basil pesto.
Store your dairy-free parm in an airtight container. It will say good in a cool dark pantry for several weeks, or store it in the fridge for 3 months.
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Dairy-free Parmesan CheeseRate this Recipe
- 3 tablespoon pine nuts
- 3 tablespoon hemp seeds
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Place all ingredients into a spice grinder or VERY SMALL food processor.
- Pulse until crumbly and uniform in texture, but not so much that it sticks together in a pasty, "nut butter" sort of way.