RECIPE: Oil-free Parmesan Cheese

Cheese. Yes CHEESE. It’s the hardest food product to give up when shifting to a vegan diet.

‘But cheese,’ they say.

And I must agree, yes, it's darn tough giving up cheese. You crave that rich, fatty, salty food-stuff that only dairy cheese satisfies. But here’s the thing, like an addict after rehab, when you stay away from it for long enough (and I'm not exaggerating) you realise just how much it has got its claws into you. And I'd know, cheese and dairy lured me back on more than one occasion.

So what do you do when you say 'no' to clogged arteries and 'yes' to health but still want the flavour and reminiscence of cheese?

You get inventive, that’s what.

Food producers are well on their way to creating delicious plant based cheeses. And home cooks can do a damn fine job of whipping up mouth-watering cheeses too. And better yet, you can make yours without any added oil.

One of the simplest cheeses to make at home is Parmesan Cheese. Pick a nut or seed. Cashews, almonds, pine nuts, macadamias. Add nutritional yeast flakes (if you don’t have a store that stocks it near you, go online and grab some here). Add seasonings like sea salt and onion powder and hey presto! You have delicious savoury cheesy crumbs to sprinkle like fairy dust over your favourite pasta.

Give it a go. For your health. For your taste buds.

Cashew Parmesan Cheese


½ cup cashews

¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon onion powder


Place all ingredients into a coffee grinder and grind to a fine meal. You can use a small food processor instead, but the cashew parmesan may result in a chunkier texture.

Adjust seasonings to taste and serve on top of pasta, soups, stews or baked dishes.

TRY THIS! No cashews? Almonds, pine nuts or macadamia nuts work well. Even walnuts or sunflower seeds, although they will produce a much richer flavour.

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