A perfect alternative to dairy loaded cheese, this vegan Parmesan cheese is made with cashews, pine nuts, hemp seeds and garlic powder for a crumbly and cheesy vegan substitute.
Lately I’ve been having a problem with salt in the kitchen.
I’ve been over salting my recipes like crazy. I have no idea where this is coming from all of a sudden but out of nowhere I just started add a bit too much salt.
This is really strange, considering before this I was constantly under salting everything, which was always ok with me, since I figured that way everybody could adjust the salt level to their liking upon eating.
One idea where this may have come from is my new recent habit of watching lots shows on the food network.
Namely, my favorite show right now is Star Academy, where a group of celebrity chefs each choose their own teams of two home cooks and with each episode through various cook offs one person is eliminated.
I noticed on that show that one of the comments the judges frequently used is that a dish is either under or over seasoned. I mean they really use this as a strike against the participants.
For me I never understood what the big deal was. If a dish was under salted you could simple just top it off with a bit more salt for yourself.
I mean as a huge salt lover (don’t even ask me how much sodium I consume a day) I can pretty safely grab the salt shaker as any dinner table and generously salt the dish in front of me without even tasting it. Very rarely do I find that there is enough salt in the dish for me as is.
I am in the minority here though. Most people, rationally so, are trying to cut down on their salt intake and therefore do not feel the need to instinctively grab the salt shaker upon sitting down at the dinner table, and no their faces do not communicate sheer panic if for whatever reason salt is not readily available.
So, as someone who pretty much always finds every meal under-salted I thought this was the norm. Well not according to the judges on the Food Network.
Each participant got a heavy dose of ‘tsk tsk tsk’ if a dish was lacking in salt.
Well, clearly with these thoughts running through my mind, and the fear of being treated similarly by my own set of dining companies (ie, at this time, my parents), I started adding in a wee bit more salt to things.
A bit too much.
So now I’m back to scaling things back a notch.
This vegan Parmesan cheese recipe brings up this whole topic, because the first time I made this, I made the mistake of adding too much salt. I added in a full teaspoon and it was very clearly too much for the average consumer.
The second time I made this recipe I opted to halve the amount of salt and only used half of a teaspoon. Realistically you could go for ¾ teaspoon but from now on I am going to veer towards the conservative side.
I’ve only recently jumped into the vegan Parmesan cheese making swing of things, but I am hooked. I mean, no of course this is not a one to one substitute for gourmet Italian dairy Parmesan, but it does have the cheesy taste and a similar texture to grated Parm. If I sprinkled this over a dish and didn’t tell you this was vegan parm I bet some of you wouldn’t even know the difference.
I’ve looked around on the web and looks like most food bloggers are using only cashews as the nuts in vegan parmesan cheese. That’s what I did the first time too, but then I wanted to give it a bit of a twist so added in some pine nuts and hemp seeds.
The result? A more flavorful crumbly cheese mix, that I think stands up to real parmesan cheese even better.
So for anyone out there on a dairy-free diet for health reasons, or on a vegan diet you do not have to give up that cheesy taste. Instead of dairy filled traditional cheese make nutty vegan Parmesan cheese instead.
Perfect sprinkled on all sorts of dishes (such as a vegan pumpkin and sage pasta, for one) and super easy to make.
- 3/4 cup cashews
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Add all ingredients to food processor and pulse until everything broken down into crumbs (but not completely smooth).