5-Ingredient Vegan Parmesan Cheese

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Food processor with Vegan Parmesan made from brazil nuts, hemp seeds, and nutritional yeast

Nuts can be “cheese,” too, ya know?

I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again.

It was about time for my updated, go-to vegan parmesan cheese recipe! Let’s do this.

Wooden plank with nutritional yeast, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, hemp seeds, and brazil nuts for making Vegan Parmesan Cheese

What’s different about this new recipe and my old, go-to recipe? It’s cashew-free!

Many of you have expressed cashew allergies/intolerances and I thought I’d provide an alternative. This version is as easy as ever, requiring just 5 ingredients, 5 minutes, and 1 bowl.

Ingredients in a food processor for Vegan Parmesan Cheese

In place of cashews, I went for a blend of hemp seeds, pine nuts (which add a buttery, nutty flavor), and Brazil nuts (which are fairly neutral in flavor).

The “cheese” flavor comes from nutritional yeast (which is super high in vitamin B12), and a pinch of salt. That’s it! Garlic powder and oil are optional, but they add even more depth of flavor.

Pouring a bit of olive oil into the food processor for Vegan Parmesan Cheese

I hope you all love this cashew-free vegan parmesan! It’s:

Cheesy
Savory
Nutty
Salty
Easy to make
Versatile
& So delicious

This would make the perfect topper for things like Eggplant Parmesan, My Favorite Vegan Pizza, Roasted Red Pepper Pasta, or Easy Vegan Meatballs. It also works well in things like Pesto and Vegan Mac ‘n’ Cheese Sauces!

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Bowl of gluten-free Vegan Parmesan Cheese

5-Ingredient Vegan Parmesan Cheese

Easy, 1-Bowl, 5-ingredient vegan parmesan cheese made with a blend of nuts, seeds, salt, and nutritional yeast! The perfect topper for Italian dishes!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Drizzling olive oil into a food processor to make Vegan Brazil Nut Parmesan Cheese
4.86 from 14 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 16 (1-Tbsp servings)
Course Topping / Side
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Italian-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 2-3 weeks

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup brazil nuts*
  • 2 Tbsp pine nuts
  • 1 Tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder (optional // 1 Tbsp (15 ml) garlic-infused olive oil)

Instructions

  • Add brazil nuts, pine nuts, hemp seeds, nutritional yeast, and salt to a food processor or a blender and pulse into a fine meal. If adding garlic powder, add at this time. If adding garlic-infused oil, add after the mixture is a "meal."
  • Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more nutritional yeast for “cheesiness” or salt for saltiness. Garlic powder adds more depth.
  • Store in a covered container in the refrigerator up to 2-3 weeks (sometimes longer). Perfect for toppings things like pizza, pasta, lasagna, vegan meatballs, and more!

Notes

*Recipe adapted from my post: How to Make Vegan Parmesan Cheese.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.
*Recipe makes ~1 cup vegan parmesan cheese.
*Note: To avoid selenium toxicity (which is rare) try to avoid consuming more than 4-5 brazil nuts / day on a consistent long-term basis. It is rare, but consuming more than 60 brazil nuts in one day can increase risk for selenium toxicity. 

Nutrition (1 of 16 servings)

Serving: 1 one-Tbsp servings Calories: 55 Carbohydrates: 1.3 g Protein: 1.6 g Fat: 5.3 g Saturated Fat: 1 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 90 mg Fiber: 0.7 g Sugar: 0.2 g

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  1. Jacqui says

    This is insanely good and we put it on almost everything. My husband eats it out the jar! We make it with cashews instead of Brazil nuts because we always have them at home. Thank you for this fabulous recipe :)

  2. Cindy says

    You are my hero. This is delicious exactly as written. I’ve made both of your parm recipes and I just love them both. Thank you.

  3. EVIE KNOTTNERUS says

    Is there a recipe that does not use any tree nuts when making cheese? We have a nut allergy except to peanuts. ?

  4. Kris says

    Just a note that nutritional yeast doesn’t actually have any B-12, but may be fortified with it. Non-fortified usually tastes better.

  5. Me says

    Hello, can you please add a note in the recipe about the risk of selenium toxicity from Brazil nuts? I don’t think many people know about it. Thank you!

  6. Lucy C says

    When I made this I’m afraid I learned that I don’t like Brazil nuts. They overpowered the taste. So, I blended in some of the “original recipe” (cashew) (1:1) and the result was great. The cashews and Brazil nuts blended into a flavor where neither one dominates and the result is very nice.

  7. kathy says

    This is SO YUMMY I eat it from the spoon! I loved your cashew version but this one is a masterpiece. Thank you for sharing your genius with the world. And thank you to your readers who reminded me about not over eating selenium (high in brazil nuts). I will stick to eating a tablespoon a day. Daily.

  8. Claire says

    I must be messing something up, here – this keeps turning into a paste! A delicious paste, but definitely not a meal. Should I be using roasted nuts?

    • Claire says

      Never mind! I wasn’t pulsing properly. So I made this work and it’s lovely, but side note, if instead of pulsing into a meal you blend into paste, it’s a very tasty cheesy nut butter!

      • Tara says

        I was also having this issue. Trashed 2 batches. Thanks for solving the mystery and clueing me in to the ‘proper pulse.’ :-)

    • Becky says

      I did the same thing. I just put it in my blender on high and was very confused when it came out as a liquid. I tried it in a smaller hand crank food processor and it came out perfectly. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Carrie says

    Hi Dana!
    I make this all the time using just cashews. It every now and then it’s really clumpy. I thought maybe my blender was wet but that’s not the case. Any other ideas as to what’s causing this?

    Thanks!

  10. Keira says

    Umm, this is delicious! Thank you for putting a variation out there for those of us on auto pilot who forget to get creative in the kitchen. Much appreciated!

  11. Belle says

    2 questions:

    1: Which recipe do you prefer? This one or cashew recipe? I think I will do cashew with some pine nuts

    2: ever roasted pine nuts beforehand? Roasted pine nuts are just delicious! I think I will roast them first…

  12. Tatiana says

    I make your other vegan parm recipe all of the time but gave this one a try today and OMG!! It’s DELICIOUS! I almost ate it by the spoonful but apparently after reading these comments that might not have been such a great idea. Selenium? Who knew. Anyway, thanks so much!

  13. Jacky says

    Do you think this would work well in ravioli? I’m looking to replace the Parmesan cheese in the filling of a family recipe for homemade spinach raviolis. They dry on a table for 2 days, get frozen for storage, then boiled for serving. Thx!

  14. Alexandra Colacito says

    If someone is allergic to cashews, wouldn’t they also be allergic to pine nuts and brazil nuts? I LOVE the cashew version; I will try this just for variety and because — I need an excuse to get some hemp into my diet. Thanks!

    • C. says

      “The cashew is technically not a nut; it is a seed harvested from the cashew apple, the fruit produced by cashew trees. Unlike many other nuts and seeds, the cashew grows outside the fruit instead of inside, within a kidney-shaped drupe that hangs at the end of the cashew apple’s base.”

  15. Gem says

    For some reason this one ended up quite “wet”. The flavour is great tho- warm and nutty.

    I’m going to put it in my dehydrator for a couple hours to dry it out. Any ideas how this happened?

  16. Justin says

    Thank you! With the Brazil nuts and garlic oil, instead of cashews and garlic powder this becalmed a low/no FODMAP possibility.

    I’m making pesto this weekend!

  17. Bhavana says

    Hi Dana! I recently fulfilled my long time dream of living in the Hawaii islands & moved to Kauai! The stars lined up and I started renting a newly built little home with an awesome kitchen, stream in the backyard, and view of the high beautiful mountains. I hadn’t baked in a long time because of my stressful life in California. I recently took up cooking and baking again, as I watch the beautiful view out the windows, and it is very hot here sometimes so I have coined myself as the Naked Baker to my friends lol, with (modest!) pictures to prove it. I’ve been making the most yummy food with the local ingredients from the farms, and I discovered your blog in the process of getting ideas and following recipes! Making up my own along the way. I’ve had success flax “eggs”, and I think I followed one of your vegan cookie recipes. Yum Yum. I am one of the readers that loves nutritional yeast and can’t wait to try this recipe! I would love to sprinkle it over stovetop popcorn, veggies, anything really. Even salad. Thank you for this blog!

  18. Victoria the Justice Pirate says

    This is really awesome. I wish I could make it and all, but my one son has a nut allergy that is pretty bad so we can’t even have them in the home (so sad).

  19. Kathy says

    I can’t wait to try this recipe! I live on a very restricted diet. I am gluten sensitive, allergic to all things mammal, allergic to all nightshade veggies. I am allergic to all melons. ( If I cut any melon for my family the juice on my hands is equivalent to battery acid, so I don’t cut any melon. And rubber gloves don’t work for me either.) Basically I am on a gluten free, Fish and Fowl diet. ( Or as my grandson calls it “The Feather and Fins diet”.) Thanks for sharing you amazing knowledge with the world!

  20. Miranda says

    I’d like to say how much I love you fab recipes, always well thought and turn out great. Love your unending energy to keep going until you find the best way something works! I think this is a fab recipe and is delicious and it amazes me how polite you always are to your readers….. keep up the good well appreciated work!!

    • Penny says

      Lovely comment Miranda and yes I’m always impressed at how Dana responds to comments, don’t think I would have quite the same patience : ) As a side note to people who say they can’t stand nutritional yeast, I thought I did too, it ruined every dish I tried to make with it however I have just tried a different brand and it is totally different and quite a delicious addition to the recipes I have tried. So might be worth trying some different brands?

  21. Maryse says

    Tanks for sharing. I made this tonight with the garlic mac and cheese. It was so good. yeast is new to me and i like the flavour. many thanks.

  22. Daryl says

    As someone who can’t have either dairy or nuts, I am very excited to see a recipe that uses seeds! I can’t wait to make this, thank you!!!

  23. Allie | Feed Me Simply says

    YAY for another vegan parm recipe! I make your other one allll the time. If you had to choose which of the two is your favorite one, which would it be? Just curious.

    Also – keep the nooch recipes comin! :)

  24. Beth Ann says

    Hi Dana!

    Can’t wait to try this blend , looks yummy!. Love the idea of the different nuts used.
    Is there a nutritional yeast brand you’ve found to be more mellow and you enjoy?
    The type I’ve gotten from bulk has tended to taste a bit harsh.

    Thanks so much , I so appreciate you!
    Beth Ann

  25. audrey says

    Yes i think nothing really has B12 in it right? I am not sure where to get it trying to get into a raw vegan diet as much as i can right now. Maybe i have to get some very reliable supplement for it.

    • Kim says

      A good supplement is vegansafe brand b12 it has two forms that your body is able to absorb and utilize. You have to be careful in choosing which b12 because you want one that’s actually bio available to your body. The one mentioned is used by many vegans I know as well recommended by many functional medicine drs.
      b12 is also light sensitive so the amount in fortified nutritional yeast may not be as significant as you think.
      there are trace amounts of b12 in certain mushrooms as well as sea vegetables but I wouldn’t rely on that as b12 is an important vitamin that you want to make sure you’re sufficient in.
      -registered nurse in a functional medicine office

  26. Danni says

    This looks great as always Dana! My doctor’s always nagging me to eat Brazil nuts so I can get my selenium levels up. I always forget but I’ve been looking for a new Parmesan recipe to try just as a garnish – this should do the trick!

    Can’t wait to try, so far all of your recipes have been a hit with my very non-vegan family, and that’s saying something. Thanks for all you do! ❤️

  27. Kim says

    Hello. I am wondering if you gave readers a heads-up about the over-abundance of selenium in this recipe, because of the quantity of brazil nuts. It is actually possible to eat too many brazil nuts, and selenium toxicity is a real thing. Hopefully, this is used a a scant garnish, but just in case, more than 3 brazil nuts a day is too much.

  28. Suzanne Jenkins says

    Thank you so much. I can’t wait to try this. I’ll look for a substitute for pine nuts however because they are not sustainable. I love nutritional yeast!

  29. Aimee says

    I’m sure for every person who doesn’t like nutritional yeast, there’s someone like me who loves it. Thanks for this one!

  30. Tracie says

    Please, no more nooch! As soon as I see it one of your recipes, I delete the email because I’ll never make that recipe. It has a cloying flavor and makes my innards miserable. I know that I’m in good company–please have mercy on us :)

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hmm, that’s odd! I’ve found most of our readers enjoy it. This one isn’t for you, then!

      • Lee says

        Your recipes are amazing, Dana, even for the NON vegans! Don’t pay attention to the trolls. If someone doesn’t like what you offer, let them opt out. BTW, this was really good. I added a pinch of cayenne and a pinch of paprika for our personal tastes.

  31. lisa says

    for those with nut/seed allergies or who want a lighter version, storebought or homemade saltine crackers can be substituted for all or some of the nuts/seeds and processed til the right consistency.

  32. Beverley says

    These recipes look really good, I’ve been veggie for 30 years but would now like to try vegan. Are these recipes on this blog in your book? Thank you

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi! The recipes on the blog are unique to the blog and the recipes in the book are exclusive to the book!

  33. Kristina says

    Hi Dana!
    I’ve been looking for a good vegan parm recipe! I just wanted to add a few words of caution regarding the Brazil nuts:
    1. You used other nuts instead of cashew because some of your viewers have a cashew allergy- Brazil nuts are actually in the same family as cashews( Anacardiaceae family) so those with a cashew allergy should still be careful with this recipe.
    2. Brazil nuts are extremely high in selenium ( which we need!) but consuming too much can have adverse effects. We typically only should consume around 1-2 Brazil nuts a day. so be careful with overusing the parm.
    3. Brazil nuts are high in polyunsaturated fats so they can spoil easily. Make sure to store them (and your parm) in the refrigerator.

    • schuyler says

      Crikey! I just one day became allergic to both cashews and Brazils (and pecans). I never realised, though, that the first two are related, so thanks for that bit of info, Kristina.
      I’m good with peanuts, walnuts and almonds, but have not dared to try macadamias…do you think they would be safe?

    • Mark says

      I too was about to comment on the toxicity of Brazil nuts because I the selenium. You probably wouldn’t eat the equivalent of 4 nuts using the “Parm” but better to be safe . As the other post said we do need selenium just not much of it.

  34. Lucinda says

    Does anyone know of a substitute for nutritional yeast? Not sure why, but it’s a migraine trigger for me. I have made many nut cheeses without it and they all seem fine to me, but have yet to find a parm cheese substitute that doesn’t call for nutritional yeast. Suggestions?

    • Kristina says

      Lucinda-You may be getting a headache from the b12 not the nutritional yeast. I know that b12 caused me to get headaches for some time until my body adjusted. Try nutritional yeast that isn’t fortified with b12.

      • Lucinda says

        Nope. It’s not the B12. I take massive doses of that and find it totally soothing. Also take B2 (which is also soothing). It’s definitely a problem with nutritional yeast and “yeast extract”. I also can’t eat anything “fermented” . . . so most popular probiotics are out. Trust me. I’ve done extensive testing of what I can eat through elimination diets. I’m gluten-free, dairy-free, and corn-free. But I’m also Italian! so would love to find a good gfdfcf substitute for parm. :)

    • Donna says

      I, too, get horrific migraines from yeasts but it streams from consuming MSG. Most of the time MSG is hidden under other names (including yeasts) because it’s allowed by our FDA. Companies hide it under “natural flavors”, too. I don’t have a problem with B12.

    • Sinead says

      Powdered miso soup (plain, without added seaweed or dried tofu or veg) can be used to sub for nutritional yeast – it’s not quite as cheesy, but it works. Miso + a dash of umeboshi paste or ume vinegar works even better. Or, miso paste (and optional ume paste or vinegar), and then pop it in the oven on low for a while until it dries out. It won’t keep for weeks, but it’ll keep for one week or so, and it’s delish.

  35. Rahnster says

    I always just blend sunflower seeds and nutritional yeast. Super easy, two ingredients, way cheaper. Although, I bet this recipe is more delicious.

  36. Shai says

    Love the blog. Sorry to nitpick but it’s a common misconception that nutritional yeast has B12. Unless it was explicitly added there is no B12 content in nutritional yeast. I buy a brand which is fortified with B12 but most off the shelf brands don’t include it.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks for sharing! I certainly don’t rely on it as my main source of B12, but have researched and think it to contain at least some.

      • Emilie says

        I used to take B12 supplements and (sorry for TMI) it would turn my urine a bright yellow. I’ve stopped taking them for a few years, and everytime I eat nutritional yeast my urine turns out with the same yellow. So my body tells me there is some B12 in my nutritional yeast.

        • Sarah says

          I have had this but with vitamins in general. I think it’s because there are too many vitamins for your body to absorb at once so it just flushes them out.

    • Esra says

      Hello there, in our shop we do sell a certain brand nutritional yeast types one of them hot B12 added in to it especially. So they normally don’t contain that but there are special ones that B12 added in to them. Just wanted to let you know.

      Have a great day.
      Esra