Over breakfast the other weekend a few friends and I were having a very important, very serious conversation. If we had to choose, which would we live without: cheese or bread?
I don’t even want to consider a world in which this becomes a reality, but I suppose with a gun to my head I’d ditch the bread. I have a deep, forever kind of love for cheese.
But then after weighing my choice a bit, I decided maybe I could get by on nut cheese so I could still technically have both. I told my friends this, expecting lots of eye rolls because this is the sort of weird shit I say that provokes eye rolling, but turns out they were interested! Which opened up a whole can of worms about soaking nuts and cheese cloths and I’m pretty sure I lost them somewhere along the way, but I thought maybe if they were slightly intrigued by dairy-free nut cheese then you might be too.
Let’s not kid ourselves, there is no substitute for the real stuff. But for everyday use, this vegan parmesan cheese works great, tastes pretty good, and comes with a side of health benefits.
When you’re serving nut cheese to other people, I find if you just put it on stuff and don’t call out its inherent vegan-ness nobody really notices and/or cares. It’s the “vegan” thing that brings on the questions. Should they eye your nutritional yeast on the counter, demanding answers, here’s what you can tell them.
Nutritional yeast is an inactive yeast that’s made from sugarcane and beet molasses. Sounds out there but stay with me. It’s a complete source of protein and is loaded with B Vitamins, which support healthy skin, nails and hair among other things. It can also boost immunity, improve digestion and lower cholesterol. It happens to have a nutty, cheesy flavor, so it’s used in many vegan recipes for flavor and thickening.
I love Dana Shultz’s recipe from Minimalist Baker but there are hundreds out there if you search “vegan parmesan cheese”. This one takes less than five minutes and all you need is a food processor. Use it on anything from salads to pasta to vegetables!
Vegan Parmesan Cheese
Serves: ~1 cup
- 3/4 cup (90 g) raw cashews
- 3 Tbsp (9 g) nutritional yeast
- 3/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
Add all ingredients to a food processor and mix/pulse until a fine meal is achieved. Store in the refrigerator to keep fresh. Lasts for several weeks.
PS more vegan recipes if that’s your jam: Vegan Black Bean & Sweet Potato Enchiladas from The Purple Carrot, Simple Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Soup, and Simple Chia Berry Pudding.