No, Parmesan cheese is not vegan. Parmesan cheese is made from cow’s milk, which means it is an animal product unsuitable for a vegan diet. Additionally, Parmesan cheese is often made using rennet, an enzyme extracted from the stomach of young cows, making it unsuitable for vegetarians as well.
Types of Parmesan cheese
There is only one true Parmesan cheese, which is called Parmigiano-Reggiano and is produced in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. However, other types of hard, aged, and grated cheeses similar to Parmigiano-Reggiano are referred as “Parmesan” cheese.
- Grana Padano: A hard Italian cheese similar to Parmigiano-Reggiano, but with a milder flavor and a less crumbly texture.
- Reggianito: A South American cheese inspired by Parmigiano-Reggiano, but with a slightly saltier taste and a denser texture.
- SarVecchio: An American cheese made in Wisconsin modeled after Parmigiano-Reggiano, with a slightly sweeter and nuttier flavor.
Vegan substitutes for Parmesan cheese
- Nutritional yeast: A deactivated yeast with a savory, cheesy flavor and often used as a topping for pasta or popcorn.
- Cashew or almond “Parmesan”: A mixture of ground nuts, nutritional yeast, and salt that can be used instead of grated Parmesan cheese.
- Vegan Parmesan-style cheese: A pre-packaged, vegan-friendly cheese alternative made from plant-based ingredients such as soy or potato starch, coconut oil, and nutritional yeast. These products are often designed to mimic the flavor and texture of traditional Parmesan cheese.
Properties of vegan Parmesan cheese
- Made from plant-based ingredients: Vegan parmesan cheese is made from various plant-based ingredients such as nuts, seeds, and nutritional yeast, making it suitable for those following a vegan diet.
- Similar taste and texture to traditional Parmesan cheese: Many vegan parmesan cheese alternatives are designed to taste like Parmesan cheese, allowing them to be used in various dishes as a cheese substitute.
- Usually lower in fat and calories: Vegan parmesan cheese alternatives are often lower in fat and calories than traditional Parmesan cheese, making them a healthier alternative.
Top brands that offer vegan Parmesan cheese
- Violife: A brand that produces a range of vegan cheeses, including a parmesan-style cheese that is made from coconut oil and has a tangy flavor.
- Follow Your Heart: A brand that offers a parmesan-style shaker cheese made from a blend of soy protein and nutritional yeast, with a savory and slightly nutty taste.
- Go Veggie: A brand that offers a grated parmesan alternative made from soy protein and lower in fat and calories than traditional parmesan cheese.
- Parma!: A brand that produces a vegan parmesan alternative made from a blend of walnuts, nutritional yeast, and hemp seeds with a cheesy and nutty taste.
- Vtopian Artisan Cheeses: A brand that offers a parmesan-style cheese that is made from cashews and is aged for several months to give it a strong and savory flavor.
- Nooch It!: A brand that produces a vegan parmesan alternative made from nutritional yeast, sea salt, and garlic powder, with a cheesy and garlicky taste.
- Treeline: A brand that offers a parmesan-style cheese made from cashews and aged for several months, resulting in a nutty and tangy flavor.
Differences between Simple parmesan cheese and Vegan parmesan cheese
- Ingredients: Traditional Parmesan cheese is made from cow’s milk, while vegan Parmesan cheese is made from plant-based ingredients such as nuts, nutritional yeast, and salt.
- Production: The production process for traditional Parmesan cheese involves using animal-derived rennet to curdle the milk. In contrast, vegan Parmesan cheese uses plant-based alternatives such as microbial enzymes or lemon juice.
- Nutrition: Traditional Parmesan cheese is high in saturated fat and cholesterol. In contrast, vegan Parmesan cheese is typically lower in fat and contains no cholesterol since it is made from plant-based ingredients.
Uses of vegan Parmesan cheese
- Pasta dishes: Vegan Parmesan cheese can be used as a topping for pasta dishes such as spaghetti or fettuccine alfredo to add a rich, savory flavor.
- Salads: Sprinkling vegan Parmesan cheese on top of salads can add a nutty, cheesy flavor to the dish without using traditional Parmesan cheese.
- Pizza: Vegan Parmesan cheese can be used as a topping for homemade or store-bought pizzas to add a cheesy flavor.
- Baked dishes: Vegan Parmesan cheese can be used in baked dishes such as casseroles or lasagna to add a rich, savory flavor and help the dish bind together.
- Overall, vegan Parmesan cheese can be a versatile ingredient in many dishes and provides a dairy-free alternative for those who follow a vegan or dairy-free diet.
Vegan parmesan cheese recipe
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Combine the cashews, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt in a food processor or high-speed blender.
- Pulse the mixture until it forms a coarse crumbly texture, similar to grated Parmesan cheese.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.
- Transfer the vegan parmesan cheese to a jar or container and store it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Tips to buy vegan parmesan cheese
- Check the ingredients list: Look for vegan parmesan cheese alternatives that are made from natural, plant-based ingredients such as nuts, seeds, or nutritional yeast, and avoid products that contain artificial additives or preservatives.
- Read reviews: Read customer reviews to get an idea of the product’s taste, texture, and overall quality before making a purchase.
- Look for certifications: Some vegan parmesan cheese alternatives may carry certifications such as the Vegan Certified logo, which indicates that the product has been verified to meet vegan standards.
Can vegetarians eat parmesan cheese?
Strict vegetarians who follow a vegetarian diet that excludes all forms of animal flesh, including fish, may not consider Parmesan cheese as vegetarian because it is typically made using rennet, an enzyme derived from the stomach lining of calves or other young animals. However, some brands of Parmesan cheese use microbial rennet, a vegetarian alternative to animal-derived rennet. Therefore, if you are a vegetarian who consumes dairy products, you may consume Parmesan cheese made with microbial rennet.
It’s always a good idea to check the label or contact the manufacturer to determine if their Parmesan cheese suits vegetarians.
Aging difference between simple parmesan cheese and vegan parmesan cheese
The aging difference between traditional Parmesan cheese and vegan Parmesan cheese is that traditional Parmesan cheese is aged for a minimum of 12 months and up to 36 months or longer, while vegan Parmesan cheese is typically not aged in the same way, as it is made from plant-based ingredients. The aging process is a critical aspect of producing traditional Parmesan cheese. In contrast, vegan Parmesan cheese focuses on creating a flavor and texture similar to traditional Parmesan cheese using plant-based ingredients.
Is cheddar cheese vegan?
No, cheddar cheese is not vegan as it is made from milk, which is an animal product. Vegan cheese alternatives are available that are made from plant-based ingredients.
Is mozzarella cheese vegan-friendly?
No, mozzarella cheese is not vegan-friendly as it is made from milk, which is an animal product. However, there are vegan cheese alternatives that are made from plant-based ingredients and can be used as a substitute for mozzarella cheese.
Is Tofu vegan?
Yes, tofu is considered vegan as it is made from soy milk and does not contain any animal products. Tofu is a popular protein source for vegans and vegetarians as it is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes, from savory to sweet.
Is cottage cheese vegan?
No, cottage cheese is not vegan as it is a dairy product made from cow’s milk. Vegan cheese alternatives are available that are made from plant-based ingredients, such as soy or nuts, and can be used as a substitute for cottage cheese.
Is ricotta cheese vegan?
No, ricotta cheese is not vegan as it is made from milk, which is an animal product. Vegan cheese alternatives are available that are made from plant-based ingredients, such as tofu or nuts, and can be used as a substitute for ricotta cheese in recipes.