An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

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.

Parm Flakes (Parmesan Substitute)

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.

Printable Recipe

Author: Hannah (BitterSweet)

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

33 thoughts on “Pining for Parm

  1. EEeek! I’m so excited for this! Thank you for this fantastic recipe, I’m going to make it VERY soon!

  2. 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!

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

  4. This looks wonderful. Beautiful photographs!

  5. Great recipe Hannah! I will definately try this…

  6. 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

  7. 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!

  8. 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!

  9. I love you. That’s all.

  10. Mmm! This looks like it’ll be incredible on salads and lasagna! This is definitely on the “try very, very soon” list.

  11. This looks so yummy!!!The instructions are very easy. I am thinking of buying the ingredients to make it.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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 :)


  15. I wonder if I can get the ‘cheese’ for it here… awesome looking recipe

  16. 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! ;)

  17. whoa! those parm chippies looks totally tasty! like some sort of flavour packed crouton! thanks for replicating it for us to try.

  18. great idea i love it. i’m going to try making these, i generally just sprinkle pasta etc with nooch!

  19. 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.

  20. 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!!!

  21. I’ve never tried the veg parma before, but I love all things nooch so I’m kind of anxious to try this! Looks delicious!

  22. OMG! this is really exciting! something that I would like to make! :)

  23. 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!

  24. Your parm flakes look delicious! What an amazing addition to a salad or pasta or…

  25. Well done Hannah! It’s always nice to have a crunch with salad and what a nice crunchie addition these would be. Can’t wait to throw this recipe together!

  26. Hannah, these look so yummie…what a nice addition to the salad :-) Great pictures as usual!

  27. 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!

  28. 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!

  29. Ooh, this sounds awesome!

  30. 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!

  31. Vegan parmesan. Wow! With recipes like these, Hannah, you could almost make me consider becoming vegan ;)

  32. 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?

  33. Pingback: >Holly Hobbie Broccoli Casserole | Vegan Breeders

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s