Vegan Parmesan Cheese yum (1)
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  • Food: Vegan Parmesan Cheese
  • Writer: Nicolas Wilson
  • Content-Type: Food Blog

I should probably write “Parmesan cheese” in quotation marks because this vegan version is not cheese at all.

Despite this, it tastes very much like the real thing! This vegan Parmesan cheese recipe is one of my favorites, and I think you will as well.

In place of real Parmesan, this vegan Parm is delicious and sprinkled over savory dishes. This recipe is for you if you’re vegan, dairy-free, avoid animal rennet, want to minimize your consumption of animal products, or are just curious.

I’m not the first person to come up with a vegan alternative for Parmesan cheese. Over the years, I’ve attempted a few different recipes, but none of them have truly hit the spot.

I came up with a vegan Parmesan mix in the refrigerated department of Whole Foods the other day while browsing around. Hemp seeds were utilized instead of raw cashews, as I had done previously. I was captivated.

I didn’t buy the vegan Parm, but the thought lingered in my head until I couldn’t stand it any longer. Because hemp seeds are soft, nutty, healthy, and nut-free, they looked like a good choice (a bonus for my friends with nut allergies).

Because hemp seeds are so little, I was able to simply whisk the ingredients together rather than making a mess in my food processor.

So, on another supermarket run, I picked up some hemp seeds and returned home to begin experimenting. Bingo! I’d want to introduce you to the finest vegan Parm I’ve ever had. This dairy-free delight requires only five ingredients.

Ingredients for Vegan Parmesan

Seeds of hemp
Hemp seeds have a somewhat nutty flavor and a delicate, chewy texture that compensates for the similar properties of Parmesan. Hemp seeds are high in polyunsaturated fat, protein, manganese, magnesium, and other nutrients.

Yeast for Health
Nutritional yeast adds a cheese-like flavor and a golden yellow hue to the dish. Nutritional yeast is also high in B vitamins, which is why just 1 tablespoon of this vegan Parmesan provides almost half of your daily recommended consumption of vitamins B1, B2, and B6 (for more precise information, check the “nutrition information” box below the recipe).

Onion powder with garlic powder
These add a layer of flavor richness to compensate for the subtle flavors in real Parmesan. This vegan Parm is tempting because of garlic and onion powder!

Because real Parmesan cheese is fairly salty, salt is a must in this vegan version! I used quality sea salt, but if you don’t have any, plain table salt would suffice.

Vegan Parmesan Cheese’s Uses

Vegan Parmesan Cheese (1)
Food: Vegan Parmesan Cheese yum (Source: Vegan Huggs)

This vegan “Parmesan” may be liberally sprinkled over your favorite Italian meals, salads, cooked vegetables, and more! Use it in the same way you would Parmesan (though if you’re baking the recipe, you might want to save it for dusting after it’s come out of the oven for the best flavor and presentation).

You may also use it in place of feta cheese or whenever you want a more savory flavor. Here are some suggestions:

  • Toss the marinara sauce and pasta with vegan Parmesan cheese (for heartier options, check out my hearty spaghetti with lentils and marinara and vegan puttanesca with zucchini noodles).
  • Remove the Parmesan cheese from the basil pesto and top with vegan Parmesan cheese, to taste. It would go perfectly with my double tomato pesto spaghetti!
  • It’s delicious and sprinkled over roasted vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower. You might also serve it with steamed or sautéed vegetables.
  • Top your vegan mac and cheese with a little sprinkling of vegan Parmesan cheese.
  • It goes well with homemade minestrone soup or an Italian chopped salad.

Vegan Parmesan Cheese

3 minute prep time

3 minutes in total

Make this easy vegan Parmesan cheese recipe and top your favorite Italian dishes with it! This nut-free vegan Parm is created with hemp seeds instead of nuts.

There’s no need for a food processor—just whisk the ingredients together and you’re done. The recipe makes about 3/4 cups.


Vegan Parmesan Cheese homemade (1)
Food: Vegan Parmesan Cheese yum (Source: Vegan Huggs)
  • ½ cup hemp seeds
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt, to taste


  1. Simply combine the ingredients in a basin or jar and whisk until evenly distributed. Taste and season with more salt if you want a stronger flavor (I usually add another pinch or so). You’ve completed the task!
  2. This vegan Parmesan cheese can be kept at room temperature for up to 3 months in an airtight container.