I grew up in and Italian family, mum a chef and dairy was absolutely everywhere. And parmesan cheese was the most used ingredient in our household. In Italy, if you don’t eat parmesan cheese, I’m sure they’d say something’s wrong with you. I mean, a bit like pizza and pasta, it’s a staple food.
So when I decided to go plant-based, I must say it took me some time to wean off this delicious, versatile ingredient. My gosh as a kid I used to eat it in chunks. I needed to find an alternative. Now, let’s be honest, vegan parmesan cheese tastes nothing like the real thing: BUT it is super tasty and does work well in so many recipes.
I confess, I do miss my parmesan cheese. Actually, sometimes I still eat it! It’s just so ingrained in my DNA.
Today, let’s say cheese, but without the dairy. Even if you’re not following a vegan diet, incorporating vegan parmesan into cooking can be a game-changer, especially for those who are dairy-free or have diary intolerances. While the flavor may differ slightly from traditional dairy parmesan, this plant-based alternative brings its own unique taste and texture, allowing you to enjoy the cheesy experience in a whole new way.
One of the key ingredients in vegan parmesan is nutritional yeast. This inactive yeast is a source of nutrients and gives a cheesy and nutty flavour. Nutritional yeast is a fantastic source of vitamin B12, which is essential for maintaining a healthy nervous system and producing red blood cells. It also contains protein, fibere, and various minerals, making it a nutritious addition to any vegan or dairy-free diet.
The above ingredients will make a small bowl, probably enough as a topping on six serves of pasta.
Another nut option is cashews – creates a slightly lighter and sweeter parmesan.
To make a bigger batch simply increase the ingredients in equal quantities. The parmesan can keep in an air tight container in the fridge for up to two to three months.
Raw Brazil nuts.They play a starring role in vegan parmesan. These nuts are known for their rich, creamy texture and distinctively bold flavor. Apart from being a delicious ingredient, brazil nuts are an excellent source of selenium, a trace mineral that acts as a powerful antioxidant in the body. Selenium supports the immune system, thyroid function, and overall cellular health. Adding brazil nuts to your diet can help meet your daily selenium needs and promote well-being.
Make vegan parmesan, simply combine nutritional yeast, unsalted raw brazil nuts, teaspoon of salt, and teaspoon of garlic powder in a blender. The key to achieving the perfect texture is to avoid over-blending. Using the pulse function on your blender, blend the ingredients until they form a fine crumb. The blending time may vary depending on the power of your blender. If you have a high-performance blender like a Vitamix or Thermomix, 15 seconds should be sufficient. For less powerful blenders, you may need to blend for around 30 seconds to achieve the desired consistency.
The beauty of vegan parmesan lies in its versatility. Sprinkle it over pasta dishes, roasted vegetables, salads, or even popcorn for a burst of flavour. The nutritional yeast brings a delightful cheesy taste, while the brazil nuts add a satisfying richness. Experiment with different herbs and spices to customize the flavour -according to your preferences. You can even try using other nuts like cashews or macadamia nuts for a unique twist on this dairy-free parmesan. Personally, my favorite is Brazil nuts.
Preparing vegan parmesan at home allows you to control the ingredients and tailor the flavour to your liking. By making your own, you can avoid the additives and preservatives often found in store-bought alternatives. Plus, it’s a cost-effective solution
Can I substitute the brazil nuts with other nuts?
Absolutely! While brazil nuts provide a bold and distinctive flavour, you can experiment with other nuts to create a unique vegan parmesan. Cashews, for example, offer a lighter and sweeter taste, perfect for those who prefer a milder flavour . Feel free to get creative and try different combinations of nuts to find your preferred variation of vegan parmesan.
How long does vegan parmesan last?
When stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, homemade vegan parmesan can last for up to two to three months. It’s important to ensure the container is tightly sealed to maintain freshness. However, you’ll likely enjoy the deliciousness of vegan parmesan so much that it won’t last that long!
Can I make a larger batch of vegan parmesan?
Absolutely! If you’d like to make a larger batch of vegan parmesan, simply increase the ingredients in equal proportions. You can double or triple the measurements to suit your needs. Remember to adjust the blending time accordingly to achieve the desired texture. Store the excess vegan parmesan in an airtight container in the refrigerator and enjoy it whenever you need a cheesy addition to your meals.
Are there any variations I can try with vegan parmesan?
While the basic vegan parmesan recipe is a fantastic starting point, you can customize it to suit your taste preferences. Consider adding dried herbs such as oregano, basil, or rosemary to enhance the flavour. You can also experiment with spices like paprika or cayenne pepper to add a hint of heat. Feel free to get creative and adjust the recipe according to your desired flavour -The possibilities are endless!
Can I use vegan parmesan as a substitute for traditional parmesan in recipes?
Yes, you can certainly use vegan parmesan as a substitute for traditional parmesan in various recipes. It works well sprinkled over pasta dishes, salads, soups, roasted vegetables, and more. While the flavour may differ slightly from dairy parmesan, vegan parmesan adds a delightful cheesy note that can enhance the overall taste of your dishes.