This easy and versatile sunflower seed parmesan pairs effortlessly with a wide range of dishes. As a vegan cheese substitute, it creates a tasty parmesan flavor while being nut and dairy free. It’s the perfect topping to elevate any meal!
The recipe is quick to make, features just three simple ingredients, and is ideal to make in large batches that you can keep in your fridge for a simple garnish whenever you want a boost of salty, umami flavor. This is truly a recipe I can’t live without!
This post contains affiliate links (including Amazon Associates) and I earn from qualifying purchases.
Sunflower Seed Parmesan Ingredients
As promised, this easy vegan parmesan recipe only uses three ingredients. To make it, you’ll need:
- Sunflower seeds: Raw sunflower seeds serve as the foundation for this vegan parmesan. When blended into a fine texture, sunflower seeds are similar in texture to ground parmesan cheese. Other nuts and seeds can be used as well; cashews, almonds or hemp seeds are other great options.
- Nutritional yeast: Nutritional yeast is a star ingredient in vegan cooking, known for its cheesy and slightly nutty taste. In this recipe, nutritional yeast adds a savory note and enhances the overall depth of flavor. Please note nutritional yeast is not the same as baking/ leavening yeast and these ingredients are not interchangeable.
- Salt: A touch of salt enhances flavor, rounding out the taste and providing a harmonious balance. Adjust the salt to your personal preference but keep in mind that cheese is typically very salty and the key to a great vegan cheese alternative is to not under-salt it.
How to Make Sunflower Seed Parmesan Cheese
Creating your very own sunflower seed parmesan is a breeze. Just follow these easy steps and you’ll be ready to serve it in 5 minutes or less.
Step 1: Blend Parmesan
Start by adding your sunflower seeds, nutritional yeast, and salt to a food processor.
Blend the ingredients on high speed until the sunflower seeds are broken down to a finely ground texture. Be careful not to over-blend, as this can turn the mixture into a sticky sunflower butter texture. Stop blending as soon as you achieve the desired consistency.
You may also use a small blender if desired; just pulse the mixture and shake the blender between pulses. I find a food processor makes the process much faster and produces a more consistent texture. Blenders tend to over-blend the sunflower seeds, but it’s an option that can work if you don’t have a food processor.
Step 2: Serve
Sprinkle your homemade vegan parmesan onto all your favorite meals! Whether it's pasta, salads, roasted vegetables, or even soups, this plant-based cheese will add a delightful touch to your dishes.
I truly sprinkle this on just about everything!
How to Serve a Balanced Vegan Meal
Since this recipe features only 3 ingredients, and you’ll only use a small amount to garnish other foods, it’s not intended to be a meal its own. However, it does offer some protein and healthy fats because of the sunflower seeds.
The best way to do this is with a pasta-based meal that includes lots of protein and vegetables in it. Some of my favorites include:
I’ve certainly sprinkled this vegan parmesan over soups too, including:
Don’t forget salads! This nut free vegan parmesan would be a great topping over:
It’s also great as a topping for vegan pizza. Whatever you serve this recipe on, I can guarantee you’ll love it and want to keep some on hand for easy use!
Vegan Parmesan Cheese Variations
Want to make this recipe uniquely yours?! Experiment with these variations to add new, exciting flavors to your sunflower seed parmesan:
- Herbs and Spices: Incorporate dried herbs like oregano, basil, or rosemary, along with spices such as garlic powder or onion powder. This will give your vegan parmesan a fragrant and savory twist.
- Nutty Sensation: Amp up the nuttiness by blending in a handful of almonds, cashews, or walnuts with the sunflower seeds. This variation will add complexity and depth to your vegan parmesan.
I also love to make vegan parmesan cheese with cashews as the base as opposed to sunflower seeds. If you’d rather a nut-based parmesan, check out my recipe for cashew parmesan cheese!
How to Store Leftover Sunflower Seed Parmesan
To extend the shelf life of your homemade sunflower seed parmesan cheese, transfer it to an airtight container. Refrigerate the container and your parmesan will stay fresh for 2-4 weeks.
I’ve honestly kept this in the fridge for longer periods of time with no issue. Since all the ingredients are shelf-stable there shouldn’t be an issue but, for freshness, use within a month.
You can also freeze your sunflower parmesan in a freezer-safe container or bag where it’ll remain fresh for approximately 4 to 6 months. It can be used straight from the freezer but is best if you allow it to warm up on the counter or in the fridge for a few hours.
Sunflower Seed Parmesan
Step 1: Blend Parmesan
- Add the sunflower seeds, nutritional yeast and salt to a food processor.1 cup raw sunflower seeds, ¼ cup nutritional yeast, 2 teaspoons salt
- Blend on high speed until the sunflower seeds are fully pulverized and the mixture has a finely ground texture.
- As soon as you reach this texture, stop blending because the sunflower seeds can become over-blended and turn into a sticky sunflower butter texture.
Step 2: Serve
- Sprinkle your vegan parmesan onto all your favorite meals!
More Vegan Condiment Recipes
Like this recipe? You should also try:
About Nicole Stevens
Nicole is a long-time vegan with a Masters of Science in Food and Nutrition.
She helps people thrive on a vegan diet with balanced recipes.