Vegan Alternatives for Parmesan or Grated Cheese

Updated April 17, 2017

Vegans choose not to have the milk from goats, cows, sheep or any other animal that is used to make hundreds of varieties of cheese. While cheese is off limits, vegans don't have to miss out entirely. Many commercially produced substitutes are readily available at grocery stores.

Parmesan Alternatives

Grated Parmesan cheese alternatives are improving with the popularity of nondairy and vegan lifestyles. While the consistency of grated Parmesan may be easy to replicate, the distinctive taste is not. Many commercially produced Parmesan substitutes still contain casein, a milk-derived protein food additive, so it is important to check labels. Parmesan substitutes usually include soy and rice flours, vegetable oils and small amounts of citric acid and enzymes.

Grated Cheese Alternatives

The biggest problem with nondairy grated cheese is melting. Without dairy fat, it is difficult to achieve the elasticity of regular cheese. There are many commercially made options on the market that come grated and in flavours like mozzarella, cheddar and Monterrey jack. The products are most often made of soy and vegetable or plant oils along with a number of artificial ingredients needed to achieved a cheese-like consistency when melted.


Both brewers and nutritional yeast are a good natural alternative to grated Parmesan cheese. Brewers yeast is a by product of beer production while nutritional yeast is cultured. Both varieties come in flakes or powder. The flakes can be sprinkled on salads, vegetables, pizza and pasta just like grated Parmesan. Yeast has a slightly nutty flavour and is a good substitute for cheese. Nutritional and brewers yeast are both high in protein and rich in vitamins and are a good nutritional substitute as well as replacement for grated Parmesan cheese.


Finely ground nuts can be an alternative to grated Parmesan cheese. Nuts are often an ingredient in Parmesan substitutes because when ground they have a similar consistency. In recipes that call for baking, nuts are not the best choice but toasted and finely ground walnuts, pine nuts, almonds and macadamia nuts produce an alternative to grated Parmesan on salads and pasta. You can also experiment with mixing different kinds of ground nuts to get the right flavour.

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