Plant-based Parmesan is a must for transitioning to a Wholefood Plant-based or Vegan diet, cheese is often mentioned as the one food most difficult to give up. Being able to make simple dairy-free alternatives at home can help. Keep a jar at hand and add a sprinkle to your pasta or pesto, or make a sauce taste more cheesy, the umami hit from either of these two easy plant-based parmesans can enliven a dish.
Easy Plant-based Parmesan – two ways
- 1 cup unsalted cashews (150 g)
- 4 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 tsp garlic powder
Put all ingredients in your food processor, or whatever kitchen implement or appliance you are going to use to grind it. Pulse/grind the mix until it resembles small crumbs. Store in an airtight container.
Extra Cheesy Plant-based Parmesan
This dehydrated version has fooled my co-workers (professional chefs), they were confident it was a parmesan. It stores well and can be used as shards or grated if you make it thick enough. A high speed blender will make a beautifully smooth mixture that you dehydrate or you could use your oven on it’s lowest temperature. This method may take 24 to 36 hours to allow for fermentation and dehydration.
- 65g pinenuts (½ Cup)
- 130g cashew nut pieces (1 Cup)
- Filtered water (enough to cover the nuts)
- 120ml filtered water
- 1 probiotic capsule
- 7 g nutritional yeast flakes ( 2 Tbsp)
- 2g sea salt ( ¾ tsp )
Ideally start the soak the pine and cashew nuts, first thing in the morning or last thing at night – this way you can add the probiotic either when you get home from work or when you get up.
Drain and place put in a high speed bender and add 120ml of filtered water. Blend until smooth. Add the contents of 1 probiotic powder capsule, blend briefly and put into a clean bowl and cover with a clean breathable cloth.
Let your mixture ferment overnight (or throughout the day)at room temperature.
Return the mixture to the blender and add the nutritional yeast flakes and sea salt. Blend until smooth.
Spread the mixture thinly onto non-stick sheets and put in the dehydrator. Given that dehydrators all have different temperature ranges and settings consult the instruction manual of your model.
The drying stage may take four to 12 hours depending on the thickness of the layer, temperature that you choose and your particular dehydrator.
When it is completely dehydrated the sheets should snap and crumble. At this stage you can break the sheet into pieces for easier storage in an air-tight container. You can also be pulse the sheets in a blender or grinder to make a crumb for use in the same way you’d use a dried parmesan.
If you want to read why it’s so hard to give up cheese click here