Easy Vegan Parmesan Cheese

Today’s recipe is something that changed my stereotypes about vegan food and it might change yours as well. It’s homemade vegan Parmesan. You heard it right. This recipe is for everyone who finds hard to give up the taste of cheese. And it’s unbelievably easy to make it!

I showed how to make a cheesy vegan sauce in my vegan mac and cheese recipe and cheesy cauliflower sauce in sweet potato boats recipe. But vegan Parmesan is unique as it has a completely different texture. There are dozens of ways how you can use vegan Parmesan, that’s why it’s one of the vegan kitchen’s essentials. You can use it on your salad, roasted veggies, in burgers and sandwiches, on soups and more.

This recipe couldn’t be imagined without a sea salt. A lot of people shake their heads when it comes to salt in general. But what’s the difference between sea salt and regular table salt? They both have a slightly different texture and flavor. Although they share the same amount of sodium chloride, sea salt retains the trace elements found in saline water. These trace minerals matter not only to taste but to health as well.

Sea salt contains 60 trace minerals, which help you to stay hydrated. It contains digestive enzyme enhancers, which help your body absorb more nutrients from the foods that you eat. Sea salt is great for beauty as well. Sea salt bath can help to relieve dry and itchy skin. The bath naturally opens up the pores, improves circulation in the skin and hydrates the tissues so that your skin can heal.

I didn’t come up with this recipe, it’s been traveling around the Internet for quite a while. This combination of 4 ingredients is perfect and I find it unnecessary to adjust.

vegan parmesan

vegan Parmesan

vegan parmesan

Easy Vegan Parmesan Cheese

Makes about 3/4 cup


  • 1 cup raw, unsalted cashews
  • 4 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder


  1. Put all ingredients into a food processor. Pulse until fine meal forms.
  2. Store covered in a refrigerator up to 2 months.

P.S. If you’re looking for more ways how to veganize cheese, check out this delicious vegan cream cheese recipe! 🙂

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  • Reply Penny Patterson July 6, 2017 at 12:54 am

    This is so good!! I haven’t had much luck with nutritional yeast. I would sprinkle it over tomato sauce and it tasted … ok, but it had an ‘off’ taste to me. This ‘parm cheese’ recipe is a game changer! The sea salt is necessary and the garlic really brings the flavors together.

    • Reply The Thriving Vegan July 6, 2017 at 5:15 am

      Thank you, Penny! 🙂 Just recently I discovered that different nutrition yeast brands have a different taste – some are nuttier, some are more cheesy. Maybe it’s worth if you try out different brands and if you’re lucky you could find the one that you really like. 🙂 But I agree, the spice combination in vegan parmesan do an awesome job with bringing out the flavors! 🙂

  • Reply icantbelievethis July 29, 2017 at 4:21 am

    Shucks. I got excited, but then read the ingredients. My grandaughter is allergic to cashews. I may try it using other nuts.

    • Reply The Thriving Vegan July 29, 2017 at 12:23 pm

      No worries! Other nuts like almonds or walnuts will work fine as well. 🙂 Good luck with the recipe!

      • Reply Christe Hansen September 5, 2018 at 7:00 pm

        Could you use pine nuts?

        • Reply The Thriving Vegan September 11, 2018 at 6:33 pm

          Yes, pine nuts are a good cashew alternative in this recipe! 🙂 Hope this clarifies, Christine!

      • Reply Alice September 8, 2018 at 10:07 am

        I am allergic to all nuts and soy. Is there something else I could add to tge nutritional yeast, sea salt and garlic?

        • Reply The Thriving Vegan September 11, 2018 at 6:31 pm

          Yes, you can try adding seeds like sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds! The taste will be slightly different, but I’ll still be delicious. Hope this helps, Alice! 🙂

        • Reply Brianna Merrill February 18, 2020 at 6:43 pm

          I found one that uses Hemp seeds that tastes great!

  • Reply Little Red Frog September 2, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    I tried this the other day with almonds that I had at home. It’s really very delicious!
    I mostly eat it straight with a spoon… ^_^”
    I’ll make it again for sure!
    I think I’ll be trying your Mac and cheese this week.

    • Reply The Thriving Vegan September 2, 2017 at 5:43 pm

      So happy that you tried the recipe! Glad the parmesan turned out delicious using almonds too. And good luck with making mac and cheese! 🙂

  • Reply Lina September 12, 2017 at 9:56 am

    This sounds so interesting. But, does it really tastes like parmesan? I love good quality parmesan and find it so unlikely that something this simple could replace the taste of it. I willing to try though and would love to eat more plant based food, but I need some kind of elaborate insurance that it will taste similar.

    • Reply The Thriving Vegan September 12, 2017 at 3:09 pm

      It really tastes very similar to Parmesan, Lina! Nutritional yeast is the key ingredient as it has a “cheesy” taste. Hope you’ll try this recipe. 🙂

  • Reply Lilliemarie September 14, 2017 at 11:09 pm

    You don’t soak the nuts before hand right? These are dry unsoftened nuts?

    • Reply The Thriving Vegan September 15, 2017 at 5:53 am

      Yes, Lillie, these are dry nuts. The Parmesan needs that crunchy texture that can only be achieved with unsoaked nuts. Hope this clarifies! 🙂

  • Reply Mary September 27, 2017 at 1:17 am

    Try using slivered almonds in the recipe…delicious.

    • Reply The Thriving Vegan September 27, 2017 at 7:56 am

      I’ll definitely try them! Thanks for the suggestion, Mary. 🙂

  • Reply Tara October 2, 2017 at 7:43 pm

    What brand of nutritional yeast do you prefer??

    • Reply The Thriving Vegan October 3, 2017 at 4:49 am

      My most favorite brand is Marigold Engevita Nutritional Yeast. It has a tangy and cheesy flavor which I really love. Hope this clarifies, Tara. 🙂

  • Reply Jenn October 19, 2017 at 1:37 am

    Do you think this cheese would be okay for f I’m making a pesto? I’m afraid it might turn to but butter if blended too long. Perhaps add at the very end of my pesto process?

    • Reply The Thriving Vegan October 19, 2017 at 10:15 am

      If you add this vegan Parmesan at the very end, it should work fine, Jenn. Hope this clarifies and best wishes! 🙂

  • Reply Maxine C. November 5, 2017 at 6:44 pm

    Any substitute for nuts? My nephews are deathly allergic 😕

    • Reply The Thriving Vegan November 6, 2017 at 10:33 am

      Yes! You can try using sunflower seeds, Maxine. 🙂 Hope it works out well!

  • Reply Kristine November 6, 2017 at 2:26 am

    Have you tried roasting or soaking the nuts? I just try to stay away from phytic acid.

    • Reply The Thriving Vegan November 6, 2017 at 10:36 am

      Roasting should be fine, but it will slightly change the taste of the Parmesan. If you’ll soak the nuts for this recipe, the end result consistency will be more like a cream cheese, not Parmesan. Hope this clarifies, Kristine. 🙂

  • Reply Chris December 3, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    Fantastic recipe – thank you! Parmesan is a flavour I’ve missed in my vegan diet, and this is a brilliant alternative. So glad you shared it.

    • Reply The Thriving Vegan December 4, 2017 at 10:35 am

      So happy that you enjoyed this Parmesan, Chris! Horray to nutritional yeast. 😀 🙂

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  • Reply Kelly January 16, 2018 at 12:06 am

    Parmesan is the one thing I’ve missed most since eating vegan…I made this tonight with walnuts and it’s delicious!!! Thanks so much!!!

    • Reply The Thriving Vegan January 16, 2018 at 10:13 am

      Glad the recipe worked well with walnuts too, Kelly! So happy you enjoyed it. 🙂

  • Reply Elsha January 19, 2018 at 5:22 pm

    This is good with slivered almonds rather than cashews.

    • Reply The Thriving Vegan January 20, 2018 at 9:42 pm

      Glad to hear that slivered almonds work great, Elsha! 🙂

  • Reply Winona February 3, 2018 at 10:23 am

    I add breadcrumbs and it really brings it all together ! It’s sooo good

    • Reply The Thriving Vegan February 3, 2018 at 1:03 pm

      That’s a nice twist, Winona! I’m gonna try adding breadcrumbs the next time as well. 🙂 Glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  • Reply Shelly March 4, 2018 at 7:13 pm

    I had to use the slivered almonds because I was out of cashews but this was so yummy ! I can’t wait to sprinkle this on popcorn! Next time I’ll try it with the cashews I can imagine that would be a really good flavor.😉

    • Reply The Thriving Vegan March 6, 2018 at 6:07 am

      Glad this parmesan recipe worked out with slivered almonds, Shelly! So far I’ve only tried it with cashews, but I’d love to try it with almonds as well. 🙂

  • Reply Roseanne March 10, 2018 at 9:24 pm

    Hey Laine, yes I did make this actually it made a lot I put it on almost everything my problem was i keep eating all the cashews and not having enought for the receipt.

    Rox Geer

    • Reply The Thriving Vegan March 13, 2018 at 7:44 pm

      I totally understand you, Rox! I’m a big cashew lover myself and I try very hard to leave them for my vegan recipes. 😀 🙂

  • Reply Brittany March 21, 2018 at 2:15 pm

    This looks delish! Can it be used in a creamy sauce the way regular parmesan can? Like, does it melt at all?

    • Reply The Thriving Vegan March 23, 2018 at 9:33 pm

      Thank you, Brittany! 🙂 This vegan Parmesan will not melt like a regular one when used in a sauce, but it’ll become softer for sure. Hope this clarifies and best of luck, Brittany! 🙂

  • Reply Siobhan April 28, 2018 at 6:15 am

    How long would this keep for, if it was made and put in a jar as pictured?

    • Reply The Thriving Vegan May 7, 2018 at 6:02 am

      If you keep it in an airtight container & in the refrigerator, it’ll keep up to 2 months. Hope this clarifies, Siobhan! 🙂

  • Reply Donna April 30, 2018 at 11:57 am

    I used sesame seeds instead cashews- yummy!

    • Reply The Thriving Vegan May 7, 2018 at 6:03 am

      Glad that sesame seeds worked great for the recipe as well, Donna! 🙂

  • Reply Dee Wilson November 8, 2018 at 6:10 am

    This recipe looks delicious but I must warn that raw cashews contain the substance urushiol, a toxin similar to that in person ivy. Roasting or boiling then roasting raw cashews will make them wholesome to eat by destroying the toxin. After boiling the cashews can be dried in a low oven and will likely produce a delicious product.

    • Reply The Thriving Vegan November 12, 2018 at 8:04 pm

      Thanks for adding this, Dee! As I’ve read, cashews originally are slightly steamed before selling them to the customers as truly raw cashews, indeed, can be poisonous. So, as I understand, all commercially sold cashews are safe to eat.

  • Reply Dee Wilson November 8, 2018 at 6:11 am

    That’s not person ivy, lol. Poison ivy!

  • Reply Tammy February 20, 2019 at 6:22 pm

    I’ve made this a few times and it’s a hit!! ⭐️
    We love it!!😍
    So easy to make and I normally don’t like cashews but with this recipe you can’t taste them. 😁

    • Reply The Thriving Vegan March 10, 2019 at 5:58 pm

      So happy to hear that you enjoyed the vegan parmesan recipe, Tammy! 🙂

  • Reply Kierstin March 12, 2019 at 6:04 pm

    Can you use almond flour instead?

    • Reply The Thriving Vegan April 16, 2019 at 6:48 pm

      I haven’t tried it with almond flour but it might work – it would be a lot finer though and the taste will be a bit different. Let me know if you try it! 🙂

  • Reply Elise April 13, 2019 at 11:58 am

    Hello. This looks good. Did anybody used it on pizza to replace the mozzarella for example ? Thank you!

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