Vegan Parmesan Cheese

  I came across an article discussing the majority of fake Parmesan cheeses being sold here in America. According to Olmstead, R., by law Parmigiano Reggiano is only allowed to have 3 ingredients such as milk (from the Parma/Reggio region), salt, and rennet-an enzyme from a calf intestine (2012). The other ingredient that you may see are not found in Parmigiano-Reggiano. He added that it is also illegal in production and a famous brand was actually legally stopped to name its product as Parmesan in Europe. You can find his article HERE.

  The article as interesting and it did make me double-check the ingredients behind my grated Parmesan cheese container. The wordings can be a tricky one. It does say "100% grated" but not 100% Parmesan cheese. But I do think that we can not expect an affordable container of Parmesan cheese to be a 100% authentic, real to source product. I still believe in moderation and living within our means. If you happen to have a bottle of Parmesan cheese inside your fridge, no shame. Just like in any other food that we eat, check the labels and ingredients. As much as possible and when budget allows, make the right healthier substitutions. A little added cost will not outweigh the benefits of healthy and real food eating.

  A couple years ago, I had rashes all over my body. Other than the appearance of the rashes, I was asymptomatic. After several doctor appointments and biopsies, I was diagnosed with Schamberg's Disease. While that is going on, we also had stomach discomforts between our girls. We decided to go to several routes to address our health problems. We went gluten-free, dairy-free, and eventually vegan. Did we enjoy the process? Yes and No. First, it is restrictive and when you work on a strict budget, this can be hard initially. Also, it was hard on our kids, and in the beginning, they felt robbed of the food that they used to eat. I did not like the attitude that was stemming from it as they detested healthy eating. I have to mention though that we went cold turkey and did not do the transition slowly.  So, that was a lesson learned. We did like all the knowledge we gained from what healthy eating is really about. I've learned a lot of healthier substitutions and meal-prepping techniques.

  We currently eat meat in moderation. After being tested, we found out that the girls have sensitivities not allergic to several foods. We still adopted the healthy eating habits we've learned from or experience and I still cook vegan meals most of the time. As for Schamberg's Disease, that is a whole new story.

  This healthier substitute to Parmesan cheese was adopted from the cookbook, But my Family Would Never Eat Vegan. It is my go-to cookbook and a lot of the recipes in that cookbook were must-keep recipes for us! This recipe uses only 3 ingredients. We love using it on pasta recipes and the girls love it mixed with buttered pasta.



Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups of pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 cup of nutritional yeast
1 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice

NOTE:  I used Aldi's roasted pepitas. The whole package is only 2 cups but it still tastes amazing! The original recipe calls for only 1/2 cup of nutritional yeast. We love the taste of nutritional yeast, so we added half a cup more in our recipe. You can buy the nutritional yeast from Trader Joes, Sprouts, or if you are near the Inland Empire (So Cal), Loma Linda Market has it too. You can find as well at Vitacost and Amazon (HERE). Nutritional yeast can be added to so many recipes such as mac and cheese, soups, chowders, and pasta dishes.



Directions:

Using a food processor, pulse all the ingredients together until it resembles a coarse powder. Store in an airtight jar or container.  



Did I mention that this recipe is also gluten-free?



I store mine inside the fridge and stays fresh for
up to 2 weeks.



The nutritional yeast or "NOOCH", has a cheesy and nutty flavor. It contains 9 essential amino acids and 1 tablespoon of this goodness gives you 2 grams of protein.



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