Vegan Almond “Parmesan”

Vegan Almond “Parmesan”

When people find out I’m vegan one of the first things they say to me is they could never give up dairy. They don’t realize that there are alternatives to keep that cheesy flavor in their lives even without involving a cow. If you are working on a dietary change or just like to try new things, these Vegan Almond “Parmesan” Sprinkles will prove to you that vegans eat delicious food.

I’ve tried a few brands of vegan Parmesan substitutes and I like this recipe better. Store-bought ones can also be ridiculously expensive. This recipe is ridiculously easy to make and isn’t very expensive (especially if you have the almonds on hand already). I love the way it tastes and your guests or picky eater won’t even be able to tell it’s vegan.

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Vegan Almond “Parmesan”

The key to the cheesy flavor in this faux Parmesan is the nutritional yeast. If you haven’t tasted it before you probably think it is something you should use in a science experiment instead of topping your homemade pasta. Trust me though. When I teach classes, I love to play show and tell with nutritional yeast. Once you see it up close and personal it’s just not that scary anymore. Nutritional yeast is not bread yeast, so please don’t make the mistake of using it instead. Nutritional yeast is yellow and flaky.  It adds a umami flavor that leans towards a cheesy flavor, though it is often used in vegan not-chicken bouillon too.

One thing that people tend to forget is that cheese is pretty salty, especially Parmesan. This is one recipe I would not recommend leaving out the salt. The almonds create the perfect Parmesan texture, and the three together make the perfect topping for pasta, salads, or casseroles.

You can add some olive oil to get a richer mouth-feel, but depending on what you plan to use it for, you can leave it out altogether. I use granulated garlic instead of fresh because it will keep longer in the fridge, but you can use fresh or leave it out completely (if it doesn’t fit with your dish).

Vegan Almond “Parmesan”

Serves: Makes about ¾ cup

soy-free and gluten-free*
  • ½ cup slivered almonds (the ones without the skins)
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • a small amount of olive oil, optional
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon salt, to taste
  1. I use my small food processor to make this. I think it holds 3 cups.
  2. Put the almonds, yeast, and garlic powder in the food processor. Pulse until it looks like a grain.
  3. Add a drizzle of olive oil and processor more until the granules became very small (note: pic is zoomed in).
  4. Taste, add salt, blend - repeat until it's just the way you like it. I like to make mine very salty because I use the mixture instead of salt in recipes.(Honestly, you want it to look like that Parmesan grated topping you used as a kid).
  5. Store any leftovers in the fridge.

Use these DIY Vegan Almond “Parmesan” Sprinkles to make a quick and simple pasta dish. Simply cook up some whole wheat angel hair pasta, toss it with some olive oil and a few tablespoons of finely chopped herbs, and a handful of the Vegan Almond “Parmesan” Sprinkles. I often use a combination of oregano, thyme, parsley, and rosemary.  But really, I just grab whatever I have the most of in the garden. Make sure to top with some coarse black pepper to give that extra kick.

Remember, you’ll get culinary bonus points for trying something new ; )


  1. Teri says

    Hello, would someone point me in a good direction for gluten free nutritional yeast? Maybe a specific brand I could get on Amazon? Thanks! Can’t wait to try this recipe! teri

  2. Sara B. says

    I cannot WAIT to try this… THANK YOU! I have a question, though: about how long do you think this will stay good for, in the fridge? Thanks again!

  3. Laura says

    I have a lot of whole almonds, could I just use those and peel off the skin? Maybe soak them, peel, slice them myself, and dry in the dehydrator?

    • Kathy Hester says

      I think that would work fine. In fact I’d try it with the skins myself to avoid the hassle. It won’t look like parm but it would still be tasty!

  4. Katie says

    I made this with powdered nutritional yeast, slivered almonds, and added 1/4 tsp of onion powder and it was spot on. Thanks for posting your recipe!

  5. heather says

    i am so excited about this recipe! i used powdered nooch and a bit too much olive oil so it came out in brownish colored balls which are still very tasty. there is an unexpected benefit, the oil kinda melts when it hits hot food! i will not be spending $6 on vegan parm again. oh my very cheese-centric girlfriend actually loves it.


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