Home RecipesSide Dishes Brazil Nut Parmesan ‘Cheese’

Brazil Nut Parmesan ‘Cheese’

by Tansy Boggon

Brazil Nut Parmesan is a cheese-flavoured vegan sprinkle that is delicious over roast vegetables, soups, risotto, pasta, meatballs, vegan pizza, cauliflower gratin, or mac and cheese.

Why choose vegan Parmesan?

This Parmesan ‘cheese’ recipe is perfect for vegans or those who are lactose intolerant or prefer to avoid dairy.

It won’t melt like Parmesan cheese and has a slightly different taste and texture. However, it’s an excellent dairy-free alternative.

Ingredients for this Brazil nut Parmesan ‘cheese’

The two key ingredients of this vegan Parmesan recipe are nutritional yeast and Brazil nuts.

They create a cheesy-flavoured vegan sprinkle, somewhat like Parmesan cheese, and provide some nutritional benefits.

A glass jar with Brazil nut Parmesan atop a wooden chopping board with a dark blue background. Beside the jar is a teaspoon with the nut cheese and some nut cheese is sprinkled across the chopping board.
Brazil Nut Parmesan ‘cheese’: A delicious vegan sprinkle made with nutritional yeast and Brazil nuts.

Nutritional yeast: a substitute for Parmesan cheese

Nutritional yeast, also known as savoury yeast flakes or Brufax, gives this vegan Parmesan ‘cheese’ its cheesy flavour and golden colour. You can purchase nutritional yeast in a container or bag as dry, yellow flakes.

Nutritional yeast is delicious on its own, sprinkled on vegetables, soups, salads or popcorn.

Alternatively, you can create a cheesy flavour in vegan ‘cheeses’, sauces and dressings. You may like to try my recipe for a vegan ‘cheese’ sauce.

Teaspoon of nutritional yeast on a wooden chopping board.
Nutritional yeast is a key ingredient for this dairy-free Parmesan ‘cheese’.

What is nutritional yeast?

Nutritional yeast is a species of yeast known as Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the same yeast used for baking bread and brewing beer. However, unlike yeast used for bread and beer, nutritional yeast is not an active yeast.

Therefore, it will not increase yeast overgrowth in the body, which may be a concern for those who suffer from regular yeast conditions such as Candida or Thrush.

Nutritional yeast is a good source of B12

Nutritional yeast is popular among vegetarians and vegans.

It has a delicious cheesy flavour and is an excellent source of B12, which is not found in most other plant-based foods. Some companies further fortify their nutritional yeast with B12.

Just one tablespoon of some varieties of nutritional yeast contains nearly half our daily requirement of B12.

Nutritional yeast is generally also high in other B vitamins and selenium. It also contains all nine essential amino acids.

Why use Brazil nuts to make this vegan Parmesan

I chose Brazil nuts as the base of this vegan Parmesan ‘cheese’ because they contain a high oil content, giving it the gritty, nutty, oily taste and texture of Parmesan cheese.

However, you could substitute Brazil nuts with other nuts or seeds.

Cashews are common in other vegan Parmesan ‘cheese’ recipes.

Another alternative is hulled hemp seeds. They’ll give your ‘cheese’ a green tinge but are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids for vegans. They also offer a nut-free version.

Nutritional Benefits of Brazil Nuts
Brazil nuts are a key ingredient in this dairy-free Parmesan ‘cheese’.

Brazil nuts are an exceptional source of selenium

I make my vegan Parmesan ‘cheese’ with Brazil nuts, as they are a great source of selenium, which is often low in vegan and vegetarian diets.

Selenium is a mineral that helps protect the body against free-radical damage. It also helps regulate blood pressure, thyroid hormone production, and the health of the immune system.

Brazil nuts contain the highest selenium content of any food.

Other sources of selenium include seafood, meats, eggs and dairy products. The selenium content of plant-based sources is dependent on the selenium content of the soil in which they are grown.

A Brazil nut a day is a great way for vegetarians and vegans to ensure they are obtaining their required daily intake of selenium.

One Brazil nut contains less than the daily requirement of selenium for an adult. However, with other food intake throughout a day, one Brazil nut is likely to ensure the daily nutritional requirement is met.

Furthermore, it is best to keep consumption of Brazil nuts below 2 or 3 to avoid selenium toxicity.

It’s all about balance. It is possible to get too much of a good thing!

Although eating one Brazil nut a day is pretty easy, this vegan Parmesan ‘cheese’ provides another simple and delicious way to ensure you’re getting your daily dose.

A glass jar with Brazil nut Parmesan atop a wooden chopping board with a dark blue background. Beside the jar is a teaspoon with the nut cheese and some nut cheese is sprinkled across the chopping board.
A delicious vegan sprinkle made with nutritional yeast and Brazil nuts.

How do you make vegan Parmesan ‘cheese’?

Making your own vegan Parmesan ‘cheese’ is easy.

To make this vegan ‘cheese’ sprinkle, you will require:

  • raw Brazil nuts
  • nutritional yeast
  • garlic powder
  • salt

Then, it is simply a matter of grinding the ingredients together until you achieve a crumbly-powdery consistency.

You can also get creative with the recipe by adding smoked paprika or dried herbs for flavour or a pinch of turmeric for colour.

How to serve this vegan Parmesan?

Enjoy Brazil Nut Parmesan over roast vegetables, soups, risotto, pasta, meatballs, vegan pizza, cauliflower gratin, or mac and cheese.

Why make dairy-free Parmesan cheese?

I am not opposed to dairy-based Parmesan cheese.

However, many people avoid dairy for ethical reasons, intolerance or preference.

As with all aged cheeses, Parmesan cheese only contains trace amounts of lactose. Most of the lactose is drained away with the whey in production.

Therefore, dairy-based Parmesan cheese can be a good choice for those with lactose intolerance. This is because eating a small amount of lactose can help maintain the gut bacteria that support the breakdown of lactose.

Whether you choose to eat dairy or dairy-free Parmesan is a matter of personal preference.

Have you given vegan Brazil Nut Parmesan a try?

I’d love to hear if you’ve made this recipe.

Let me know your thoughts on the taste or what you served it with.

A glass jar with Brazil nut Parmesan atop a wooden chopping board with a dark blue background. Beside the jar is a teaspoon with the nut cheese and some nut cheese is sprinkled across the chopping board.
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Brazil Nut Parmesan ‘Cheese’

A delicious vegan sprinkle made with nutritional yeast and Brazil nuts.
Prep Time5 minutes
Total Time5 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: vegan, dairy-free, nutritional yeast
Author: Tansy Boggon

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw Brazil nuts (150 g)
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Process all ingredients in a coffee grinder or food processor to form a fine crumble.
  • Sprinkle on any dish that would be enhanced with a cheesy, nutty, savoury flavour—anything you’d typically sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Notes

How to serve this vegan Parmesan?
Enjoy Brazil Nut Parmesan over roast vegetables, soups, risotto, pasta, meatballs, vegan pizza, cauliflower gratin, or mac and cheese.
How to store vegan Parmesan ‘cheese’?
Store in the refrigerator for 1 – 2 weeks or in the freezer for 3 months.

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3 comments

Radha June 30, 2024 - 2:21 pm

5 stars
I usually make with cashews, making with Brazil nuts is a great idea. Love it.

Reply
Tansy Boggon July 1, 2024 - 8:51 am

Cashews work great too. I love the texture and mouthfeel that Brazil nuts give.

Reply
Alena@mydeliciousmeals July 1, 2024 - 5:44 am

5 stars
What a creative idea! This Brazil Nut Parmesan looks perfect for topping salads and pasta.

Reply

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