I think most people would agree that one of the hardest things about going vegan is not eating cheese. We all seem to struggle with it and when I see my husband and kids indulging in cheese toasties or eating a chunk of really good cheese, I do feel a pang of jealousy and wish I could eat some. I am transitioning them slowly to eating more plant-based food like me, but I have to take it really slowly so they don't reject it completely! The one thing I do seem to have successfully managed, is to transition them away from grated parmesan on their pasta, all thanks to this recipe! Now they don't even notice that I sprinkle this on top of their pasta rather than parmesan! Score!
There are loads of recipes on the internet for vegan nut-based parmesan alternatives and I have tried many of them. The key for me was to come up with something that tastes good but is also quick and easy to make. I can’t deal with a huge long list of ingredients that you only buy to make one recipe, and I needed a recipe that I could make very quickly while the pasta was cooking. This one I think ticks all the boxes. The dried onion and garlic powder give it a lovely rich flavour and the nutritional yeast gives it a slight cheesiness. Don’t be fooled – this will not taste like parmesan – but it does a good job of adding an extra flavour boost and texture to your plate of food. It is in fact so delicious that my daughter and I have been known to sit at the table eating it with a spoon straight from the jar!
Actually, that is the other great thing about this nutty cheese topping (and this shows my true laziness) - you literally just sprinkle it straight from the jar – no faffing with a grater and a board and then the extra washing up that parmesan entails!
- While blending the nuts, you want to do it in short sharp bursts and then stop and scrape down the sides in between each burst. You're looking to make a powder consistency not a paste! If the nuts are overworked, the oils will leech out and it will form a paste instead of a powder.
- If you do happen to overwork the nuts, don’t panic! You can either use it anyway but accept that it is a little lumpy OR the mixture can be turned into a delicious creamy sauce instead. If you see it has gone from powder to a paste, just carry on blending until it is a smooth paste, then pour in 100ml vegetable stock while the blender is running. It will turn into a tasty creamy sauce that can be used to drizzle over vegetables. You could also throw in some cooked broccoli or frozen spinach and a little grated nutmeg to make it into a nutritious pasta sauce.
This is perfect for sprinkling on top of your pasta as a vegan alternative to parmesan.
Click here for easy vegan and gluten-free pasta recipes to go with this vegan parmesan mix.
This seems to keep for ages in the fridge! I keep it in a sealed container in the fridge until it gets used up (usually a month or so).
📖 Recipe 📖
Nutty Cheese Topping (Vegan Parmesan Alternative)
- 100 g cashews
- 2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon dried onion
- ¼ teaspoon dried mixed herbs
- Put all the ingredients in the blender or food processor and blend with short, sharp bursts of blending and scraping down the sides in between each burst, until it forms a powdery consistency.
- Pour into a jar and keep in the fridge to use when needed.
- Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a month.
- See the full blog post for ideas of what to do if you overwork the nuts (by blending too long between scraping down the sides).
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