Cashew Parmesan (Vegan, Paleo)

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

cashew parmesan on top of noodles

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.

cashew parmesan in a small bowl

plate of pasta topped with cashew parmesan
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5 from 12 votes

Cashew Parmesan (Vegan, Paleo)

A dairy-free alternative to traditional Parmesan cheese.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword Cashew Parmesan
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 125kcal


  • 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.


Calories: 125kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 390mg | Potassium: 178mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 1.5mg

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.


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Alia Vo

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.

    Alia Vo

    Stupid question, and I apologize I have to ask it in the forum, but how do I insert my picture next to my name?

    Please assist. Thanks in advance!



thankyou for this idea! i would like to know why you add yeast to the recipe though??

    anonymous vegan

    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.

Katie Q

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!


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.


    Don’t soak, it will cause the cashews to turn to a paste when put in the food processor. 🙂


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.

Nancy A.

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!!!


Brazil nuts work great! I did it. Plus you don’t need to soak them prior.
Peace and Raw Health,


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.

Cassidy @ Cassidy's Craveable Creations

YUMMY! I have a parmesan cheese recipe I always use that’s very similar but I use almond flour. I never though of using cashews though, your recipe looks great!!!



Your simple and delicious approach to recipes never ceases to amaze me!! YUM!!


Made this last night to sprinkle on cauliflower crust pizza. Yum!

Katie @ Produce on Parade

What a clever idea! I’ve just been buying Parmela!


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.


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!


Yum! I made this tonight and used Pine nuts instead. The taste was a bit sweet though so I’ll use cashews or Brazil nuts next time.


Love being on your email list..thanks


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!!


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!


I make this all of the time using walnuts. I love the flavor. Cashews seem a little mild for this.

Stacey Parzik

LOVE this! I used it in a spinach pesto and it was delicious!


What can be used instead of nutritional yeast? I have a client that is allergic. Thanks!


is it ok to use this yeast if dealing with candida?


    NO – candida is a Fungus and all yeast is a form of Fungus.

    I’m currently on the Phase 1 diet (Know The Cause with Doug Kaufmann) and it works great. Go online & click on the tab for videos/shows (forgot) & search for Phase 1 – You won’t need to go all out buying stuff.
    Start with the basics – like Quinoa, veggies, No Sugar (very important because Fungus feeds on sugar – which also means No Starches because they turn to sugar)
    Was tough giving up my regular Dr Pepper but I need to starve the fungus.
    You can use the sweeteners – Xylitol and Stevia (but with nothing else unless sometime like the brand Sweet Leaf flavors).


    Yes Lordis, this is fine, as nutritional yeast has been “in-activated”, so it does not react in the body like regular yeast.


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.:/


    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.

Jen L.

Do you need to soak the cashews first? Thanks!


    Nope, I didn’t! If you do decide to soak them, they must be thoroughly dried before pulsing them in the food processor.


    Soaking will cause the cashews to turn to a paste when put in the food processor. 🙂


This was so good, even my friend’s 2 year-old liked it!


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)


I made this with macadamia nuts. I accidentally purchased quite a few when the bulk dispenser went a bit haywire. This is so good as a salad or vegetable topping, too. I did reduce the salt as the nutritional yeast seems extra salty to me.

Thank you! I love all of your recipes.


Thank you so much for this recipe! I had tried Go Veggie’s parmesan and couldn’t stand it. It tastes like metal to me. I just whipped this recipe up in minutes using a hand chopper and it is delicious! This is going to bring back several recipes that I have missed since becoming lactose intolerant. Thank you, thank you!!!


Will this cheese melt? If put in a stromboli type thing in the oven?



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