How to Make Vegan Parmesan Cheese

In Essential Recipes/ Recipes

Ever wondered how to make vegan Parmesan? It’s like the shaker can version of Parmesan cheese but plant-based, and comes together in just 5 minutes!

How to Make Vegan Parmesan | A Couple Cooks

Vegan Parmesan? Yes, you heard right. It’s not like a block of Parmesan cheese, but more like the shaker can version that you grew up with. And it’s a very, very tasty condiment: not only for pasta, but for salads, soups: you name it! Here’s the backstory of this vegan Parmesan.

What the heck is vegan Parmesan?

In February, I took a trip to New York City right after our Pretty Simple Cooking cookbook launch and stayed my friend Gena Hamshaw of the blog The Full Helping. Trust me, if you’re on the fence about vegan food, hang around Gena for a few minutes and you’ll see how delicious it can be! Gena took me out to a fantastic vegan restaurant called Candle Cafe West. While there were lots of delicious sounding items on the menu, I stopped reading when I got to vegan meatballs with vegan Parmesan. It sounded so comforting and delicious, so I ordered it and fell in love. Returning home, I told Alex about these delicious vegan meatballs with vegan Parmesan from New York City. Could you help me recreate a recipe? The next day, I had an event and was out late. When I got home, Alex had some really, really delicious vegan meatballs waiting for me. I can’t quite explain the comfort of sitting in our dark kitchen at 10 pm, twirling pasta doused with delicious marinara and topped with vegan meatballs and vegan Parmesan.

How to Make Vegan Parmesan | A Couple Cooks

Now, some of our recipe testers claim our vegan meatballs would win over a meat lover. At the very least, they’re perfect for vegetarians and vegans who want that cozy vibe of meatballs without the meat. To us, they’re a special occasion meal when we’re in the comfort food mood. High-quality marinara sauce is key here: it brings in the flavorful, savory component even more. And on top, of course, our crumbly, savory vegan Parmesan. >> How to make vegan meatballs.

How to make vegan Parmesan

This recipe is super simple and comes together in just 5 minutes. OK, maybe even 2 minutes! Just cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon zest, garlic powder, and flaked sea salt. You can also substitute kosher salt, but Alex wanted to use It’s perfect on spaghetti and meatballs, salads, or even soups. Scroll down for the recipe!

Looking for vegan recipes? 

Are you looking for vegan dinner recipes? Here are a few of our favorite simple dinner vegan recipes:

This recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, gluten-free, and dairy-free.

How to Make Vegan Parmesan | A Couple Cooks


How to Make Vegan Parmesan | A Couple Cooks

How to Make Vegan Parmesan

1 Star (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 1)

  • Author: Sonja
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: About 1/2 cup
  • Category: Pantry
  • Method: Blended
  • Cuisine: Italian


Ever wondered how to make vegan Parmesan? It’s like the shaker can version of Parmesan cheese but plant-based, and comes together in just 5 minutes!


1/2 cup raw cashews
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
Zest of 1/4 lemon
1 teaspoon Maldon flaked sea salt (or substitute kosher salt)


Place the cashews, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, and lemon zest in the bowl of a food processor and process until ground into a fine powder. Remove from the processor to a bowl and stir in the Maldon sea salt flakes. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

Keywords: Parmesan, Vegan Parmesan, Pantry, How to Make Vegan Parmesan, Vegan Toppings, Vegan Condiments

About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author and recipe developer of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the “best vegetarian cookbooks” by Epicurious, and a recipe developer and healthy & sustainable food advocate behind the award-nominated food blog A Couple Cooks.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is photographer and recipe developer of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the “best new cookbooks” by Bon Appetit, and a recipe developer, photographer, and technical expert at A Couple Cooks.


  • Reply
    Lauren Grant | Zestful Kitchen
    April 11, 2018 at 2:37 pm

    I love this idea! I recently found that dairy doesn’t always agree with me, so this will become a regular in my kitchen!

    • Reply
      April 16, 2018 at 9:55 pm

      Oh I’m glad to hear this comes at the right time! It’s not QUITE the same as Parmesan, but it’s a fun alternative!

  • Reply
    Ronald Miller
    April 11, 2018 at 5:05 pm

    I think Gluten-free vegan foods always great. And I just love this super simple recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    August 6, 2018 at 3:58 pm

    Substitution for cashews? I’m allergic to tree nuts …

    • Reply
      August 6, 2018 at 9:33 pm

      I’m sorry, we haven’t tried any subs with this one!

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.