By now we all know that nuts can be transformed into delicious vegan cheeses, right? Maybe homemade vegan Parm, or "cheesy sprinkle" as I like to call it, isn't new to you, but just in case..... I can't risk leaving this stone unturned! Vegan Cheesy Sprinkle is SO good, SO easy to make, and can instantly brighten even the most basic meal. Plus, I'll be using it to garnish countless recipes here on the blog, so I figured I better give it its own post first!
I'll come straight out and tell you, my favorite of these three variations is the one using walnuts. It's rich, fatty and savory. Cashews are often used in vegan cheese recipes, but for my palate, they can sometimes come across as too sweet. That's where the walnuts come in, and really, the same goes for the brazil nuts and the seeds. All three versions I'm sharing today are 100% savory, which is what we're looking for in a Parmesan substitute.
I've also tried pine nuts in this recipe, but like cashews, they were a bit too sweet. The fatty mouthfeel of pine nuts is great, but when we also consider their price, no love lost! Moving on...
Most of these nuts and seeds should be available at your local grocery store, which is another reason why they're my top choices. If you can't find hemp seeds, feel free to substitute raw sunflower seeds. Remember to check the bulk bins! Of course, you can also shop online and find good deals.
Here's what you need to make vegan cheesy sprinkle:
- a food processor and an oven (unless you opt for the raw version mentioned below)
- nuts/seeds of choice
- 1/2 a lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
Now, get ready to sprinkle vegan cheese on EVERYTHING!
- Soups and Chili
- Wraps and Sandwiches
- Steamed, Sautéed and Roasted Veggies
- Whole grains
Pretty much the only thing you won't want to put this Vegan Cheesy Sprinkle on is dessert. So whip up a double batch, store some in the freezer, and sprinkle away! Because this cheese is actually good for you. 🙂
One more thing! If you prefer a raw, no-bake version, simply replace the lemon juice with lemon zest (a very small amount; zest packs big lemon flavor). Your sprinkle cheese will be ready to use straight out of the food processor. It's slightly more lemony and less tangy/cheesy this way but still delicious. Enjoy!
Vegan Cheesy Sprinkle 3 Ways
- 1 1/4 cups walnut halves OR 1 1/4 cup brazil nuts OR 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds plus 1/3 cup hemp seeds (the pumpkin/hemp combo has a fairly strong hemp flavor, so if that's not your thing, increase the pumpkin seeds and decrease the hemp or sub sunflower seeds)
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (about half a lemon)
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment.
- Put the nuts or seeds in a food processor and pulse until a fine crumb texture. Add the lemon juice, salt and nutritional yeast and pulse a few more times to combine. Taste and adjust salt/lemon as desired.
- Spread the mixture on the prepared pan and bake for ten minutes. Remove from oven and stir the mixture. If making the hemp/pumpkin combo, it might be done at this point. It should be dry but not browning. If the mixture still seems moist, return the pan to the oven and bake 3 to 5 minutes more, keeping an eye on it so that the nuts/seeds don't begin to brown.
- Once dry, allow to cool completely. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator, or freeze for longer storage.