Vegan parmesan cheese that’s nut free, kind to the planet, and easy on the wallet! And it takes just a few minutes to make…
If you are looking for a vegan alternative to parmesan, you’ve got to try this easy recipe!
- It’s incredibly quick to make - just chuck ingredients in a blender.
- It’s salty & cheesy but cruelty free and nutritious.
- It’s already ‘grated’ so it’s perfect for sprinkling liberally on vegan pastas, lasagne, risottos… EVERYTHING!
- Plus it's an easy way to add a dash more protein to your diet.
There are many vegan parmesan cheeses you can buy. Violife and Follow Your Heart Parmesan are two of the most popular brands. But if you are looking for a less processed, palm oil free, and more nutritious vegan parm, then making your own is the way to go!
Many homemade vegan parmesan recipes use cashews. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but so many popular vegan recipes seem to rely on an endless supply of cashews nuts. But they’re so expensive!
So we came up with this vegan parmesan cheese recipe that’s budget friendly, nut free, and delicious! It’s become such a staple that we always keep a jar full of it in our pantry.
It’s got just four ingredients:
- Sunflower seeds - you’ll want raw, shelled sunflower kernels.
- Nutritional yeast - for cheesiness. We use one which is fortified with B12.
- Garlic powder - to boost the flavour and tang.
- And some salt.
Sunflower seeds vs cashews
They are much cheaper
In the UK, organic cashews are around £2 per 100g, and organic sunflower seeds can be bought at around 50p per 100g. So they are a quarter of the price!
So, a jar of this vegan sunflower seed parmesan costs approximately £1. If you made it with cashews it would set you back around £3.30 - so the difference is huge!
They are easier to find locally and packaging free
Cashews are native to Brazil, and grow in tropical climates in countries such as India, Cote D’Ivoire and Vietnam. However, sunflower seeds are produced widely across Europe, and can also be found in the USA. So if you are not in the tropics, and are looking to eat more locally, sunflower seeds are the way to go!
We are also big fans of reducing waste and have found it’s easier to buy sunflower seeds at packaging free shops than cashews.
Cashews processing can be harmful
The deshelling process of cashews is done by hand, and releases a caustic liquid which can burn the worker’s hands. To help support better conditions for cashew workers, buy fairtrade nuts. It’s not always so easy to find fairtrade cashews, so sunflower seeds are a good alternative.
They are just as nutritious
Sunflower seeds and cashews are quite similar in their nutritional content, both being excellent vegan protein sources. Sunflower seeds are a bit higher in protein, richer in fibre, and lower in carbs and saturated fats than cashews.
The kernels are also an excellent source of B vitamins and Vitamin E and rich in minerals, such as Iron, Magnesium and Zinc. More sunflower seed nutritional information here.
They are more allergen friendly
If you are looking for a nut free vegan parmesan, then sunflower seeds are perfect. Just remember that sometimes people can have sunflower seed allergies.
How long does it keep?
Transfer your vegan parmesan to a clean and completely dry jar and store somewhere cool. It will keep for at least a few weeks (though you may find it gets eaten up pretty quickly!)
You can also store it in the freezer for several months, and just let it warm up a bit before using.
Sprinkle it on…
This sunflower seed parmesan makes an excellent topping for Italian dishes, like our easy vegan carbonara.
It's also a great boost to vegan soups and salads... Really it's so versatile you can sprinkle it on whatever you fancy!
One thing to note, is that this vegan parmesan won’t melt like dairy parmesan and, if you cook it for a long time, it can burn. So if you want to add it on top of something like a lasagne or pizza, we recommend adding it on towards the end of cooking.
We hope you enjoy making this easy vegan parmesan cheese. Let us know in the comments what you enjoyed it with! - Sophie & Paul
Easy Vegan Parmesan Cheese
- Place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor.
- Pulse until fine.
- Transfer into a clean and dry jar for storage.