Vegan Parmesan Cheese

This easy Vegan Parmesan Cheese recipe has all the flavors you love in parmesan. Sprinkle vegan parmesan on pasta, dips, soups, and more! Good news — it takes only 5 minutes to make this tasty vegan parmesan recipe!

A glass jar full of vegan parmesan sits in front of a bowl of cashews, another bowl of nutritional yeast flakes, and a shaker full of more parmesan.

There was a time I used to carry around those little packets from pizza places. You know what I mean? The ones with parmesan cheese? I liked having them to sprinkle on salads, popcorn, and other goodies.

But I was in pain and I suspected my diet might be part of the reason.

Is parmesan cheese vegan?

Traditional parmesan cheese is not vegan because it’s made from cow’s milk. In fact, some cheeses, particularly organic cheese, are made with ingredients that make them not suitable for vegetarians either.

I was surprised to learn about the history of cheese-making and how it involves the stomaches of baby cows. Now that process has been transferred to a lab that produces a chemical similar to what is found in calf stomaches.

Giving Up Dairy

It was a relief, kind of, when my doctor diagnosed me with IBS. It explained the constant pain I was experiencing in my gut. They put me on medicine, but I decided to find a more natural way to solve the problem: I changed my diet.

And you know what? It worked! Giving up dairy was a big help in improving my IBS symptoms. Today I’m mostly pain-free and I credit my vegan diet.

Whether you’re vegan, avoiding dairy products, or simply looking to eat a little cleaner, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s easy to make the cheeses you love naturally. Yes, you can even make parmesan cheese vegan.

Of course, it’s really more of a nutritional yeast cheese substitute infused with cashews. But if you’re looking for crumbly, cheesy stuff to sprinkle on your favorite pasta dishes, this is great stuff!

Besides, those little packets I carried around? They simply contributed to more landfill waste. It’s another reason I’m glad I stumbled upon the best parmesan cheese substitute ever.

My first attempt at this recipe was many years ago when I made this Brazil Nut Parmesan. That was great, but today’s version is a cashew parmesan. They both have their place, but I prefer the cashew version on a more day-to-day basis.

How to Make Vegan Parmesan Cheese

Let’s talk about the ingredients for this vegan parmesan.

  • Raw Cashews. You can find raw cashews in health food stores. They even sell raw cashews in the produce area of my local grocery store. Raw cashews are important because they create a great texture.
  • Nutritional Yeast Flakes. We want a cheesy flavor for our vegan parmesan and nutritional yeast flakes deliver in that flavor profile. Learn more about this natural flavoring and get even more nutritional yeast recipes.
  • Dehydrated Onions. The goal is to add the flavor of onion without the moisture. Dehydrated onions works perfectly for that very reason.
  • Garlic Powder. Same thing with garlic — we want the flavor of garlic without the moisture of fresh garlic. Besides, fresh garlic has a bit of a kick which would be overpowering for this homemade parmesan.
  • Lemon Juice. I know I’ve talked about reducing moisture, but lemon juice is one exception. The acid from the lemon juice is important to create the umami flavor we’re looking for with this parmesan cheese alternative.
  • Sea Salt. Oftentimes I’ll use a miso paste to add saltiness to my parmesan, but I figure some people may find it difficult to find and I wanted to keep this recipe as accessible as possible. Sea salt will work fine here to off-set the “sweetness” of the cashews.
  • Sesame Seeds. Because we’re grinding up the cashews, it’s good to add some sesame seeds or even hemp seeds to create texture.
Cashews, nutritional yeast flakes, and spices are in the bowl of a food processor.

So, to make your vegan parmesan, add the cashews and nutritional yeast flakes to a food processor. Pulse until the nuts are broken down quit a bit.

Looking down on a food processor bowl full of grated cashews combined with spices.

Add the dehydrated onions, garlic powder, and pulse again until a course crumb consistency forms. Sprinkle lemon juice and salt and pulse again.

Add the sesame seeds (or hemp seeds) and stir to combine. Transfer the mixture to small mason jars or an airtight container.

Non Dairy Substitute for Parmesan Cheese

Believe it or not vegan parm cheese is just as good as the other stuff. And if you’re someone like me, who experiences discomfort eating cow dairy, this recipe is amazing!

In addition, it’s made with healthy ingredients like cashews. If you know anyone looking for a dairy free parmesan cheese, this one is the best.

The best Vegan parmesan cheese recipes are easy to make and add great value to so many other dishes. So, let’s talk about ways you can use this vegan parm cheese.

A hand holds a spoonful of cashew parmesan having over a glass jar full of it wit cashews behind it.

How to Serve Vegan Parmesan

You can add vegan parmesan substitute to your favorite dishes, like these:

This is a vegan substitute for parmesan so feel free to use it as you would with any parmesan cheese, including the kinds that come in little packets!

A jar of vegan parmesan sits in front of a bowl with raw cashews, nutritional yeast flakes, and a shaker full of more parm.

I hope you love this recipe as we do! Have you tried it? Be sure and leave a comment and a rating of this recipe below and then take a quick photo and share it with me using #namelymarly on Instagram. I love seeing your creations!

A hand holds a spoonful of cashew parmesan having over a glass jar full of it wit cashews behind it.

Vegan Parmesan

Cashews are combined with delicious flavorings to create the perfect non-dairy Vegan Parmesan. Sprinkle this over your favorite Italian dishes, including pastas and pizza!
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Seasoning
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Vegan Parmesan
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 20 Servings
Calories: 44kcal
Author: Namely Marly


  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dehydrated onions
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds or hemp seeds (optional)


  • Combine the nuts and nutritional yeast flakes in a food processor. Pulse for a few seconds until the nuts have been broken into smaller, more consistent size bits. Add the dehydrated onions, garlic powder, and salt. Pulse again to break down pieces into a crumble. Sprinkle with lemon juice and pulse again.
  • Finally, add the seeds. Pulse again to combine and to break seeds up, but leaving several whole. Do not overmix because it will create more of a paste.
  • Stir in additional salt if needed for your taste preferences.
  • Transfer to a mason jar or sealed container. Keep refrigerated. It will keep for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.

Recommended Equipment

Nutrition Facts
Vegan Parmesan
Amount Per Serving
Calories 44 Calories from Fat 27
% Daily Value*
Fat 3g5%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Sodium 33mg1%
Potassium 70mg2%
Carbohydrates 3g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 12IU0%
Calcium 3mg0%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

That’s it for this non dairy parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

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5 Responses to Vegan Parmesan Cheese

  1. As the recipe author, I’m pleased to say it’s easy to make, nutritious, and very tasty! We keep it in the fridge and serve over pasta and pizza.

    • Hi All! I absolutely love using a yellow miso paste in my vegan parmesan cheese because it also adds a bit of umami too. I start with a teaspoon and add more if necessary.

  2. I usually buy vegan parm, but I just tried this just minutes ago. It came out great. Listen to the warning in the recipe about not over-blending, my first batch was a paste. The second batch was perfect. I’ll never buy vegan parm again!


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