I’ve mentioned in previous blogs about how cheese, before my Paleo & Whole30 lifestyle, was an integral part of my lifestyle and career as a food and wine journalist and cookbook author. I taught cheesemaking classes, co-hosted a national TV show about cheese and wine with the late Al Waxman (the Chief on Cagney & Lacey, the American police procedural drama for 7 seasons), and wrote and published a few books on this subject matter.
In making vegan cheese I never believed I could enjoy this plant-based version. I’ve made different vegan cheeses from raw cashews. Cashew cheeses are tasty. However, almond flour is the base ingredient of my favourite vegan parmesan. Yes, almond flour! The added nutritional yeast to this recipe contributes its own nutrients, as well as depth and roundness of flavour from the fifth taste sensation of umami. Nutritional yeast is high in umami. For this reason, vegan parmesan offers this same flavour component as authentic parmesan made from sheep’s milk. (Let’s be real…there is no vegan cheese that will ever come close to the complex flavours of true Parmigiano-Reggiano. As a cheese hound, I can say that. But this almond flour cheese is truly satisfying to season a variety of Paleo & Whole30 dishes.
NUTRITIONAL BENEFITS: Authentic parmesan offers 10 grams of protein, 7 grams of fat, and 110 calories per ounce. Its fat is saturated. This one ounce of cheese possesses 24 mg of cholesterol. Almond flour-based vegan parmesan, however, possesses 6.1 grams of protein from the almonds, plus added protein from the nutritional yeast, most likely a gram or 2 bringing the protein level as high as the dairy version. The fat in vegan parmesan is also healthy — monounsaturated. Monounsaturated fat reduces bad LDL cholesterol and insulin resistance. The nutritional yeast in this vegan cheese also helps to boost our energy, support our immune system, and improves our glucose sensitivity. Vegan parmesan is super healthy for our bodies and the environment. (I have read that, “the production of dairy products — including milk, cheese, ice cream, and yogurt — contributes about 3.6 percent of global planet-warming emissions each year. Her research focused on how policies can encourage shifts to plant proteins from animal proteins.”)
I’ve put a list of recipes together of some of my recipes that highlight vegan parmesan. The first recipe is, of course, for the making of almond-based vegan parmesan. I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I enjoyed making and eating them!