Vegan Parmesan Cheese (Nutritional Yeast-Free)

You’ll only need six ingredients for this delicious, plant-based, gluten-free, dairy-free cheese, and it’s soooo quick and easy to make. 5 minutes and you’re done!

In fact, this delicious, vegan Parmesan is so easy that you may want it to become a staple in your refrigerator or freezer so you can sprinkle it over your spaghetti, salads, and steamed vegetables any time you want.

Oh, and your fresh, garden tomatoes! This stuff is scrumptious on fresh, garden tomatoes.

I’ve been experimenting with creating a vegan Parmesan recipe on and off for several years now. I’ve tried using different a number of different ingredients and while some of the results were good, none of them were amazing.

And then, I found the secret ingredient!

Lemon juice powder, which is simply dried lemon juice (and can be easily purchased) was just the ingredient needed to pull all the other ingredients together into the salty tangy deliciousness that this Parmesan lover needed.

Vegan Parmesan Ingredients

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You’ll need only 6 ingredients to make this luscious, vegan cheese.

1. Sesame seeds

Sesame seeds give a bit of a cheesy, umami flavor to this vegan Parmesan.

2. Blanched raw almonds or raw cashews

Blanched raw almonds give the cheese its characteristic nutty flavor and tender texture.

Bonus: almonds are full of beneficial nutrients, such as magnesium, vitamin E, and fiber. And cashews are a good source of magnesium, zinc, and fiber.

3. Granulated onion and celery salt

Granulated onion and celery salt gives this a nice flavor boost.

4. Salt

Since regular Parmesan is quite salty, salt is an essential ingredient to make Parmesan taste . . . well, like Parmesan.

5. Lemon powder

The secret ingredient for the best vegan Parmesan cheese is lemon powder. Lemon powder is made from dehydrated lemon juice and adds just the right flavor to this plant-based cheese. Here’s where I get my lemon powder.

How to Make Vegan Parmesan Cheese

I make my dairy-free Parmesan cheese in my food processor. I haven’t tested it in a blender, but it may work if you use the pulse function of your blender and scrape the sides and bottom of the blender jar often.

Vegan Parmesan Cheese Nutrition

Not only is this plant-based cheese absolutely delicious, but it’s also super good for you! Made with whole-food ingredients (no oil, no sugar, no refined ingredients) and loaded with fiber, protein, magnesium, and other nutrients, you can enjoy this luscious topping guilt-free.

Plus, this vegan Parmesan contains no nutritional yeast. While there is limited research on the health effects of consuming nutritional yeast and more studies certainly need to be done, many people try to avoid nutritional yeast because it may possibly affect neurotransmitter function in the brain, cause chronic pain, and cause cravings.

Vegan Parmesan Cheese Questions

How long will this vegan Parmesan cheese keep?

This vegan Parmesan keeps for about a month in the refrigerator or longer in the freezer.

Does this vegan Parmesan tastes just like dairy Parmesan?

If you ate this vegan version alongside the dairy Parmesan, you certainly would be able to tell the difference. I mean it’s made with nuts instead of milk, so I wouldn’t expect it to taste the same. That said, it definitely has that tangy, cheesy flavor that I love(d) about regular Parmesan cheese and it will definitely fill that void if you prefer to not eat dairy.

How do you eat this vegan Parmesan?

Here are some of my favorite foods to sprinkle this Parmesan over:

Pasta with Marinara Sauce

Creamy Cannellini Spinach Pasta

Steamed broccoli

Creamy Fettuccine

Fettuccine with Parsley Almond Pesto

Vegan Lasagna

Chickpeas Italiano

Do you have more vegan cheese recipes?

Yes! You can find all of my vegan cheese recipes here.

Vegan Parmesan Cheese (Nutritional Yeast-Free)

A healthful alternative to Parmesan cheese that’s vegan, gluten-free, nutritional yeast-free.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 0 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course Condiment
YIELD 1 cup
All recipes on jenniferskitchen.com are property of jennifer’s kitchen and cannot be republished without written permission.

Ingredients

Instructions

  • If not already ground, grind sesame seeds in a coffee grinder until very fine.
  • Place all ingredients in a dry food processor and process until very fine. Do not over-blend the mixture.
  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.

Notes

Do not soak nuts before using them. Make sure they are completely dry before placing them in the food processor.
 
* * * This Recipe for Vegan Parmesan Cheese is … gluten-free, plant based, oil-free, sugar-free, high in fiber, dairy free, egg-free, vegetarian, vegan, and made from real, whole foods.

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25 Comments

  1. I am so thankful that you have put time to figure this out! I have been looking for recipes that don’t use nutritional yeast and have been trying to figure out substitutions!

  2. 5 stars
    I made this Vegan Parmesan Cheese last week to put over my spaghetti, and it is DELICIOUS! I ended up also adding it to salad, veggie soup, and lentils. I’m sure I’ll find more places to use it. This is an excellent substitute for the real thing. It’s so good.

  3. I tried to sprinkle this on the Brazilian Beans but ended up eating it by the spoonful instead. Yes, I lack self-control.

    1. Hmmm … I really don’t know of anything that would work as a substitute here. I suppose you could leave it out, but it wouldn’t taste the same. Sorry I’m not much help.

  4. Hello, this looks great. I was wondering if you had a catsup recipe? I thought I saw one but can’t seem to find it.
    Thx for your time,
    Debbie

  5. Thanks for the yeast flake free recipe. Can’t wait to try it. It was a surprise to me that yeast flakes are fermented. Makes since since they taste like cheese.

    1. Hi Irene,
      As I was developing this recipe, I tried lemon zest, but was really, really unhappy with the results. I definitely recommend lemon powder. It’s worth it.

  6. Good Evening. Thank you so much for sharing these recipes. I`m hoping to try this one out. Do you think Almond Flour would work instead of crushing the whole almonds in the food processor?

  7. 5 stars
    Hi Jennifer,

    So after a whole three months I have finally been able to try this recipe. Hallelujah !! Lololol. I was quite pleased with the results. A caveat though…I think having not eaten cheese for a while, I may have lost the exact memory of how dairy cheese tastes. A sentiment I have seen expressed several times on vegan blogs and in the vegan community. For me, this may not necessarily be a bad thing. Also, I was not able to get all the exact ingredients listed, which might may affect the flavour, nevertheless I was happy with what I got.

    I tried to do the recipe as best I could with ingredients I could find where I live.

    I used:
    1 tablespoon ground sesame seeds
    1/3 cup almond flour
    1/2 teaspoon granulated onion
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon lemon peel powder
    no celery salt as I could not find it.

    I am excited to experiment with this recipe and see where I can go with it. I am very grateful for this no oil, no nutritional yeast cheese recipe. Thank you again!! Blessings xo.

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