vegan nut Parmesan (vegan, dairy free, gluten free)

(this post contains affiliate links which help fund this blog but at no cost to you)


I think one of the hardest things about going “all in” with a plant-based diet is giving up the dairy…especially cheese. It’s one of the foods I thought I could never live without and believed it would be easier for me to be a vegetarian than a vegan.

Thankfully, we’ve entered an era where it’s easier than ever to give up our “could never live without” foods, especially when our health is at stake.

So today I’m sharing with you one of my favorite “cheese hacks” for salads, soups, stews or where ever you might like a sprinkle of savory cheesy flavor (but without the dairy): vegan nut Parmesan. Three kinds to be exact.



I was first introduced to the idea of a vegan nut Parmesan in Angela Liddon’s first cookbook…her recipes were a life-saver to this vegan newbie! Besides the cheezy flavor they add to a dish, I also love that they add a pop of plant-based protein, especially to leafy green salads which have a lower protein content than other dishes.

Since trying that first vegan nut Parmesan, I’ve experimented with other nuts and seeds and found the three that I’m sharing with you today to be my favorites…

Pecan Parmesan: This is the one directly inspired by The Oh She Glows Cookbook. I love it on salads and roasted vegetables or even snacking on it right from the jar when I’m craving something salty.

Cashew Parmesan: I love this best with almost everything…pasta, pizza, soups, salads and stews and believe it most closely resembles the real thing in both texture and flavor.

Pistachio Parmesan: Sprinkling it over sweet potatoes is my favorite way to enjoy it, but it’s lovely on salads too.


And here are the recipes for each:

vegan nut Parmesan

A trio of nut Parmesans to get your cheese fix even without the dairy.

Course: Topping
Author: Andrea Anderson
Pecan Parmesan
  • 1 c. pecans, toasted
  • 4 tsp. nutritional yeast
  • 3 tsp. avocado or olive oil
  • ¼ tsp salt
Cashew Parmesan
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 8 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp avocado or olive oil
Pistachio Parmesan
  • 1 c shelled pistachios
  • 9 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp avocado or olive oil
  1. For each Parmesan (separately)...add the ingredients to a food processor or blender and pulse or mix until the nuts are finely chopped. Do not over mix or the nuts will begin to release their oils and stick together.

Store in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to two weeks.

toasting nuts

toasting nuts

I’ve burned many a thing in the kitchen either due to impatience or lack of attention…including my fingers.

And sometimes I forget to account for minor, yet important, details in recipes. Like roasted nuts.

Roasting brings out their flavor, adding new dimension to a recipe which is why it’s  a good idea to use roasted nuts when a recipe calls for them. To save time, you could buy pre-roasted nuts, but it often costs more to do so and it can be hard to find certain roasted nuts which are free of added salt and oil. Sooo…that leaves roasting them yourself.

Traditionally, nuts are roasted in the oven. When I’ve used this method, I found that it either took too long (and I was impatient because I forgot I needed to toast them in the first place) or I forgot about them and they burned.

Clearly, a new method was in order.

Ever since I started using the stove top to toast nuts, I’ve been pleased with the results. It’s quick and I’m less apt to forget about something that I can see. The following method is one I’ve used for almonds, pecans and walnuts and it takes less than five minutes. If you try other nuts or seeds (like pine nuts, sunflower or sesame seeds), you might need to adjust the cooking time.

5 steps for toasting nuts

1. Warm a pot over high heat.

2. Add nuts or seeds.

3. For the first minute or two, stir occasionally.

4. Once the nuts are fragrant, stir constantly until they are very fragrant (about another minute).*

5. Remove from heat and continue to stir for 30 second to 1 minute.

*Notes: If you’ve never toasted nuts before, you might want to stir frequently until you can tell (smell 🙂 ) the difference between slightly and very fragrant nuts. Rely on your eyes and nose more so than on the clock as nuts go very quickly from being delicately toasted to decidedly burnt.

Also, a pan with a thinner bottom will toast the nuts faster than a pan with a heavier bottom, such as a cast iron pan. So depending on the pan you use, cooking time may vary slightly.