Cashew Parmesan (Vegan, Paleo)

Certain meals simply demand a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese, if you ask me.


Spaghetti, for example, is not nearly as tasty without a Parmesan topping! While I used to love the traditional dairy version, I’ve been limiting my dairy consumption while breast feeding, so I’m excited to have found a suitable alternative to use in the meantime.

This dairy-free “Parmesan” has a similar saltiness and crumbly texture as the original aged cheese, but this version is made with raw cashews. And unlike cheese, this cashew Parmesan is loaded with fiber, as well as minerals such as manganese, iron, potassium and magnesium.

Use it as you would traditional Parmesan to complete your favorite dairy-free meals!

Cashew Parmesan (Vegan, Paleo)
makes about 3/4 cup

Inspired by this recipe


1 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon salt


In a small food processor, combine all of the ingredients and process until a crumbly, uniform texture is created. Feel free to adjust the flavor to your taste, then serve over your favorite dish. Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a month.


5.0 from 10 reviews
Cashew Parmesan (Vegan, Paleo)
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: ¾ cup
A dairy-free alternative to traditional Parmesan cheese.
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. In a small food processor, combine all of the ingredients and process until a crumbly, uniform texture is created. Feel free to adjust the flavor to your taste, then serve over your favorite dish.
  2. Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a month.

Substitution Notes:

  • If you don’t care for cashews, I have a feeling macadamia or Brazil nuts, or any other mild-flavored nut or seed, could also work.



  1. Alia Vo says

    Genius! Thanks for coming up with the great recipes.

    Hope you return to your ‘What I Ate Wednesday’ segment soon, I loved that portion of your blog. I find it so interesting, inspiring, curious, and helpful to see what people eat. – especially their salads. Although I eat organic, clean and healthy everyday; my meals tend to be unwavering. Thank goodness it never bores me, though!

    Have a great weekend, Megan.

    • anonymous vegan says

      its nutritional yeast, it taste like cheese. It is not bread yeast or fermenting yeast, it is inactive nutritional yeast. It comes in the form of flakes and can be added too many recipes when you want cheesy flavors. It is also fortified with vitamins like b12.

  2. Katie Q says

    Oh what a great recipe! I was just wondering why you’re avoiding milk while breastfeeding? I drank lots of milk while BFing my son (on the pediatrician’s recommendation) and he wound up with bad eczema and allergies. I also read somewhere that consuming milk while pregnant could trigger allergies. So just curios as to what your reasons were. Thanks for your amazing blog. Hope you’re enjoying motherhood!

  3. Karen says

    Just wondering if you soak your cashews before making this? I’ve been soaking all of my raw nuts lately.
    Thanks & blessings on your little one.

  4. dan says

    I’m curious are those regular gluten laced noodles the detoxinista has there?:O Or is it a grain free edition I don’t know about? I’m interested.

  5. Nancy A. says

    I am so happy to see this recipe! I am going to make this today. Have been wanting an alternative to parm because I like it on pizza, too, and my spaghetti. Thank you for another great recipe!!!

  6. Kelley says

    Thank you for posting this at the perfect time. Just found out I need to eliminate all dairy from my son’s diet due to an intolerance to casein (3rd generation suffer) which has thrown his immune system into hyper-overdrive. Looking forward to more dairy-free options.

  7. Dobbie says

    Claire, nutritional yeast is not the same thing as ‘yeast’ – it is not a live yeast. It is a good B12 supplement for vegans and gives a savoury flavour to dishes that traditionally have cheese in them.

  8. says

    Oh man, I wish you hadn’t suggested such a recipe. I’m a sucker for parmesan, cashews, and nutritional yeast. Just adding to the things I probably will eat out of the container with the fridge door open around midnight!

  9. cheryl says

    This looks yummy! Just wondering what other nuts do suggest as a substitute for this recipe and others where cashew is used? I have an intolerance to both dairy and cashews!! Thanks!!

  10. Kayll says

    I just made this recipe tonight to add to some cheese-free veggie pizza I had as leftovers. It turned what was kind of a yucky pizza into something delicious. Thanks so much!

  11. Josie says

    This looks delish. I was wondering if you have any insight on the link between nutritional yeast and MSG? I read that NY is derived from MSG.:/

    • Kimberly says

      Not “derived from”, but the fermentation process can create trace amounts of naturally occurring MSG. Those brands processed at a lower temperature have a lower occurrence of MSG, such as Frontier as opposed to Red Star. I’m extremely sensitive to MSG and have no issues with the Frontier brand, but Red Star left me with horrible headaches. Hope that helps.

  12. Betty says

    I love your website and your recipes I find that I can use. I’m on the Phase 1 anti-fungal diet (Know The Cause with Doug Kaufmann) because I definitely have Fungus. Most of us do & don’t realize our problems are caused by Fungus.

    I had breast cancer, mastectomy (1996) then a couple yrs later had reconstructive surgery to get rid of implant but ended up having to have a small implant anyway. I found found from the plastic surgeon that I would be More Susceptible to Fungus because of the ‘separation’ of my skin. At time, I had no idea what she was really talking about – until about 10 years later. Scar-like area between the stitch area – got rid of it but it returned later along with Dry Scalp & on left side on upper forehead, left eyebrow & both ears (I thought it was just ‘older age’) Then I happen to see Doug Kaufmann on TV.

    Will probably take awhile longer for me to need to stay on the Phase 1 diet but I need to get rid of this fungus. But I’m writing all this to warn females who have had Breast Implants including saline – that they are very prone toward fungus & if they break – Plus there are women who are sick & then find out the problem has been the implant & fungus. (on the above website – search for Breast Implant)


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