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A homemade, dairy-free (super-easy!) Parmesan alternative for vegans

Going vegan or cutting out dairy does not mean you have to part with Parmesan cheese forever.

Parmesan cheese is one of those things I missed daily when I tried a vegan diet, but I soon realized I can make my own without using dairy. A combination of toasted pine nuts, seasonings and nutritional yeast (which is a vegan staple) can easily transform into something magical, especially when you have a mound of pasta that is begging for a cheesy topping.

Nutritional yeast, with its slightly salty, nutty taste, is what gives this recipe its cheeselike flavor. I don’t recommend skipping this ingredient, and you can easily find it at almost any health food store or online.

Vegan parmesan sprinkle recipe

Enjoy sprinkling this Parmesan alternative on top of salads, sandwiches, soups and, most important, pasta.

Vegan Parmesan recipe

Yields 1-1/4 cups


  • 1 cup raw pine nuts (you can also use raw cashews)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon (little scant) sea salt
  • Zest of 1 small lemon


  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. To a food processor, add all the ingredients.
  3. Gently pulse until the pine nuts are very fine in texture (you do not want to overprocess this, or you will have a cheesy glob of pine nut butter.)
  4. Pour the mixture onto the baking sheet, and bake for 25 minutes, stirring periodically.
  5. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool completely.
  6. Sprinkle onto anything you would normally use Parmesan cheese on or just for added flavor to any dish. Store the “cheese” in a jar with a lid in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

More vegan friendly recipes

Homemade vegan buffalo-style mozzarella
Maple-vanilla hemp seed milk
Vegan kung pao chickpeas

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