Pining for Parm

Having the rare privilege of dining with the one and only VeggieGirl at One Lucky Duck a few weeks ago, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Yes, I knew for sure that I would have excellent company and engaging conversation, but the food? Still a newbie to the whole concept of the raw food movement, it’s more of an intriguing curiosity than realistic eating style for me. Nonetheless, there’s something so familiar and comforting about such an approach, a real devotion to using quality ingredients and treating them with respect, that keeps me coming back to learn more.

Needless to say, the meal was an incomparable success, each morsel prepared with care and conscious thought. It was one component that I didn’t order, however, that really caught my eye. The way that one particular salad was delivered to an adjacent table dripping with what seemed to be real parmesan flakes, the presentation alone gave me pause. Of course, their “cheese” is very similar to the standard vegan Parma, but in large flakes, providing much more crunchy goodness along with that indescribable cheesy flavor. Resolving then and there in that tiny restuarant to make my own version, I was dreaming up recipes the entire train ride home.

And just like that, easy as can be, I had my own highly passable facsimile. No, not just passable, but exceptional! Slightly tangy and more complex than the typical crumbly sprinkle of plain walnuts, nooch, and salt, this all-purpose topping will undoubtedly see a lot of use in this kitchen. Just imagine a cheesy topping on that otherwise drab pasta dish, or a nice crunchy accent to that fairly plain bowl of soup. Anywhere one might use parmesan, flakes or otherwise, it’s a job perfectly filled by this vegan alternative.

Of course, my version isn’t raw, lacking the patience necessary to run it through a dehydrator, but should such things be of import to you, it could very easily be made that way as well. Just expect drying time to range from 6 – 10 hours.

Yield: Makes About 8 Servings

Parm Flakes (Parmesan Substitute)

Parm Flakes (Parmesan Substitute)

Slightly tangy and more complex than the typical crumbly sprinkle of plain nutritional yeast, this all-purpose topping will please anyone with a taste for dairy alternatives.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Additional Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 55 minutes


  • 1/2 Cup Sunflower Seeds, Soaked for at least 6 Hours
  • 1/2 Cup Blanched Almonds, Soaked for at least 6 Hours
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 Teaspoon Tamari or Soy Sauce
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt


Once your seeds and nuts are soaked, thoroughly rinse and drain them in a fine wire mess sieve or colander. After removing as much excess water as possible, toss them into your food processor.

Add in the lemon juice, nutritional yeast, tamari, and salt as well. Pulse until the mixture is fairly smooth, but still relatively chunky, sort of the consistency of a rough pate.

Spread the mixture as thinly as possible on a silpat-lined baking sheet, taking care to ensure the paste is evenly distributed on top.

Bake in a 250 degree oven for 35 – 45 minutes, until dry and firm but not browned. Let cool completely on the sheet before breaking up in large flakes. Store in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to a month.

If your flakes become soft, just toss them in the oven again for a few minutes and they’ll crisp right back up.


If you'd like to keep things raw, dehydrate on a teflex sheet at around 100 degrees for 6 – 10 hours.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 105Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 809mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 5g

33 thoughts on “Pining for Parm

  1. Can’t wait to try this! Parmesan was the only thing I had difficult letting go, but later realized it was the only form of salt I ever used! This sounds like something entirely new and much healthier, too!

  2. Wonderful – absolutely wonderful! The idea of these delicious-looking crunchy flakes adorning a big bowlful of caesar salad is making my mouth water…

  3. Ah! I want to go there So Bad. Thank you for sharing this! Would love to see more raw stuff here–you are such an artist with food, I’d love to see what you do in that genre. I bet you’d come up with some wonderful things.
    Eco Mama

  4. Thanks! I’ve always been intrigued by those parmesan flakes at one lucky duck when i see them on blogs. I’m totally making these!

  5. OMG again this is a brilliant recipe!! Sounds so much better than the usual raw cheese recipes b/c it´s crunchy! Mighty yumm- I will recreate this asap!

  6. Looks to be a wonderful recipe…healthy fats from the seeds and nuts, and lots of nutrients…I will try this recipe! Thanks!! Peace, Stephanie

  7. I’m trying as many vegan recipes as I can and have yet to find a vegan cheese that’s good…I will give this a go. I think I agree with veganacious about the salt bit. This might just do the trick. Thanks.

  8. Wow, i deffinately want to try this one! Im going to print the recipe right now, it looks delish on the salad.
    Thanks for sharing this amazing idea/recipe :)


  9. I think you are one lucky duck, too, dining with VG! And can it be that faux parm is this simple? Now I have to try it, of course! ;)

  10. Wow, those look incredible! I always love it when a dining experience turns out to be so much more than you expected, especially with something like raw cuisine.

  11. Oh My Goodness! What a wonderful recipe! I’m not a fan of cheese but this recipe is so brilliant. I love all the ingredients that you used, I’ll definitely give it a try very soon. Thank you, Hannah! You’re so amazing!!!

  12. Oh wow, these look wonderful! How many times in the past have I battled with myself over giving up my cheese addiction and it is always parmasean that holds me back. Had I only known… oh well, I will have to give this a shot now! Thank you!

  13. I would love to dine with VG and you at One Lucky Duck…how awesome!

    Ok so I made your 5 Min Vegan Fudge from your book tonite. The flavor is spot on and amazing. And it was soooo easy. The only problem I have is that your photos show it as being more solid fudge like but mine is more melted fudge. Not as runny as hot fudge, not as solid as fudge should be. I have put it in the fridge, let it sit there 8 hrs and to no avail. I measured (which for a raw un-baker like me is rare!) to the T.

    Sorry to ask you for advice. I have 098789878 reader questions per day like this and they can get old…sorry! But I want to succeed at this recipe of yours!

    Thanks for any help you can offer!

  14. So delicious!! I made these a couple days ago and they’re still crunchy. They won’t last long simply because my housemate and I are eating them like chips. Thanks!

  15. You just solved a rather vexing problem I’ve been having. I successfully veganized my aunt’s vegan casserole, but I’ve been wondering how to easily replace the cheezits on top (without having to order the vegan crackers online every time) and I think this will do it! Thanks!

  16. Brilliant! I’ve been veganizing a bunch of vegetarian recipes lately, and falling short on ideas where parmesan is called for. I’ve tried Parma, but don’t enjoy the taste enough to hunt it down (not available at the stores near my house). I love the idea of using the bigger chunks like this where I would have used Parmesan shavings back in my vegetarian days. I’m wondering if a couple quick pulses in the food processor would bring it closer to a grated parm substitute?

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