Vegan Parmesan Recipe

Perhaps you recall the very delicious kale and mushroom risotto I shared with you a few months ago, which you can take from idea to table in 30 minutes? I knew that would get your attention.

I use this basic risotto recipe very regularly. It’s an easy weeknight dinner that can incorporate all kinds of vegetables: I like it with broccoli or carrots, radish greens or beet tops, peas or finely sliced green beans. The kids like it, and I can reheat the leftovers for lunch the next day. Win, win, win.

Because I make this often, I always have on hand a jar of the vegan “parmesan” that I like to sprinkle on top. It’s also handy when I make pasta dishes, such as this curried butternut squash pasta or this zucchini pasta with almonds.

If you have dairy troubles, or you’re simply curious about plant-based options, this vegan parmesan recipe is a life-changing formula I initially got from Dana’s blog. I’ve changed the proportions a little bit to suit my taste, but it is essentially the same.

Vegan Parmesan

The idea is to take cashews, i.e. the Universe’s gift to vegans, and ground them finely with nutritional yeast (little flecks of deactivated yeast you’ll find at the organic store or online), salt, and dried garlic flakes. So easy, so good.

Other vegan must-haves using cashews:

Equipment notes:

  • I have given away the pressure cooker you see pictured in the risotto recipe, and make it now in my Instant Pot, which I adore.
  • I like my measuring spoons (pictured above) because they sit level when you place them on the counter.
  • The blender I use and love is this one.

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Vegan Parmesan Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Vegan Parmesan Recipe


  • 130 grams (1 cup) cashews (unsalted, unroasted)
  • 15 grams (1/4 cup) nutritional yeast (in organic stores)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried garlic flakes
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt


  1. Combine the cashews, nutritional yeast, garlic, and salt in a blender (this is the one I use and love) or food processor, and process to a fine powder.
  2. This can be kept for months in the refrigerator, in an airtight container.

Vegan Parmesan

  • Judith Scott

    Great recipe, even though I’m not vegan,I might try it.
    But, I wanted to thank you for the link to the Instant Pot!
    I’ve never had a pressure cooker,got rid of my crock pot years ago, and my rice cooker is not so good.
    A single device that does all those things?!!!
    And at $99 seems like a bargain. Do you really love it?
    Does it sit on your counter?
    That ,to me is the ultimate statement of love and devotion to an appliance,as the only items that I keep out are my Kitchen Aid mixer and my toaster Everything else is only brought out as needed..
    Thanks, Clotilde!

    • I love my Instant Pot, Judith! It doesn’t sit on my counter because we don’t have a lot of counter space, but it is within easy reach so I can pull it out a few times a week.

      • Judith Scott

        I was so intrigued I ordered 1 from Amazon..can’t wait to use it.
        Love the idea of making yogurt
        And, yes,please post recipes you have tried, Clotilde!

  • ARU bhartiya

    What is the use of yeast in this? I’m allergic to yeast. Is there a substitute I could use?

    • Is your allergy triggered by nutritional yeast? It’s a deactivated yeast, not the same as the yeast used in baking. The purpose is to add a cheesy/umami flavor. You could replace it with dried mushroom powder!

      • ARU bhartiya

        Oh I didn’t know that! I thought they were the same, I’ll give this a try. Thank you:)

  • John Falstaff

    I’ve been making this for a while (getting the recipe from the same source as you did.)

    While I understand many people would object to this, I replace some of the salt with MSG. (Sold as “Accent” here in the US.) It gives you more of the umami flavor you want from parmesan.

    • How interesting! Is this a liquid or a powder?

      • John Falstaff

        It’s like a salt actually. Crystals. I don’t know if the Accent brand is just in the US or if it is international.

        MSG is also common as a Japanese ingredient. It is called “aji-no-moto” and can be found any place that sells Asian groceries.

  • janinchina

    Thank you for this recipe! I’ve been making a faux fondue for some time now and while there are many lactose-free cheeses available in the supermarket these days, I’ve not seen any substitute for Parmesan. Being lactose intolerant this will be a great addition to the recipes I can enjoy.
    Now a BROWN-rice risotto would be a great addition for a healthy diet…

    • Faux fondue? How interesting! How do you make it?
      And I like your brown rice risotto idea. I’m personally not hung up on the idea that whole grain rice is always preferable to white rice, but I do enjoy it for its own sake. To be continued! :)

  • Gemma

    I would love to hear what you are making in your Instantpot! I love mine!

    • I love my Instant Pot, Gemma, and have a couple of recipes lined up to illustrate how I use it. I have not used it to make yogurt yet, I had forgotten that was a possible use for it! Thank you for reminding me. :)

  • Shivangni

    I’m intrigued by Instant Pot. When I clicked on the link, I saw its available in India too. Pressure cookers are such an indespensible part of Indian Kitchens so I wonder if, Instant Pot will really help me get rid of them! Please let me know what all you use it for, before I break my vow of not buying another gadget

    • I will be posting about it soon!

      • Annabel Smyth

        Good, because I have one being delivered tomorrow, and am looking forward to trying it out. I use both my slow cooker and my pressure cooker quite a lot, so hope I shall use it.

  • Keith Van Sickle

    Thank you for this recipe! I use nutritional yeast a lot here in the States. I will be going to France soon, for a long stay. This will be my first trip since finding out I have celiac disease. Do you know if French nutritional yeast is gluten-free? And can you please tell me what it is called in French? Many thanks!

    • It is called “levure maltée”. The brand I buy is Markal and it is not gluten-free.

      • Keith Van Sickle

        Thank you! I will see if I can find on that is gluten-free, or perhaps something similar.

  • Linda Popp

    What I did in order to accommodate my daughter’s taste: I didn’t have any garlic flakes at the moment, but I had roasted some garlic heads in a pan of root vegetables. I added one squished roasted garlic head, about 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder and some lemon juice. Then I blitzed everything in the food processor and added enough almond milk to obtain a thick pourable sauce. It was wonderful added to the roasted vegetables, thank you for the recipe.

  • Christi

    I am allergic to nutritional yeast. What can I replace it with?

    • I’m not sure, but I think if you Google it you’ll find lots of suggestions!

  • Romas David

    No doubt, This recipe looks so delicious in those beautiful pictures!!! Love all those super healthy ingredients!!!

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