Vegan Smoky Sunflower Parmesan

Make easy vegan parmesan with just four ingredients. Five, if you want to make it smoky. Click here to skip the ramble, pics and go right to the recipe. I use it on everything from mac and “cheese” to these vegan garlic cheesy rolls.

I once bought vegan parmesan over the internet. I was so excited when it arrived that I immediately got a spoon out and gave it a taste. I almost barfed. Ew. I think the bottle was rancid, it probably wasn’t the brand (I hope). But that experience put me off trying out any other vegan parmesan brands. Instead, I just did without. That is, until a few weeks ago when I was making baked mac and cheese and wanted some parmesan goodness on top.

vegan baked mac and cheese

Baked vegan mac n cheese just out of the oven. That was some tasty, tasty smokey parm on top if I do say so myself.

So I looked in my pantry for what crunchy cheesiness I could come up with. The huge bag of raw sunflower seeds that I had bought over a month ago with plans of making some healthy trail mix stared back at me. I shrugged, took it as a sign, and threw some in the Magic Bullet with some nooch, salt, and some facon (fake bacon) bits for a hint of smokiness. *BUZZ BUZZ* went the Bullet. *Taste taste* went my mouth. The missing flavour was fixed with a bit of garlic powder!

sunflower seeds in a Magic Bullet blender

Just a couple pulses will do it!

It’s parm perfection! Well, it does the job and takes a minute to put together. If you don’t have any sunflower seeds, raw cashew or raw, skinned, almonds would do as well. Raw seeds/nuts work best as they are milder in flavour than their roasted counterparts.


Yield: 6 Tablespoons

Vegan Smoky Sunflower Parmesan

Vegan Smoky Sunflower Parmesan

A versatile vegan parmesan with just five ingredients that will take you a minute to make.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  • 1/4 cup hulled sunflower seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon no-meat bacon bits
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder (adjust for your taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (adjust for your taste)


  1. Pulse all the ingredients together in a blender for a couple seconds or until the desired consistency.


  1. This parm is pretty salty, so if you may want to leave out the salt until after you combine all the ingredients and then just add to your taste.
  2. If you can't find vegan bacon bits, try adding just a tiny bit of liquid smoke instead.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 tablespoon

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 47Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 432mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 3g

Nutritional Information automatically calculated by a plugin and may not be correct.

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Showing 7 comments
  • Lindsay @ VeganYumminess

    Now this looks heavenly!! What a great idea!

  • Monique

    Just used this recipe on vegan lasagna. Loved it. Tasted better than cashew cheese. Thank you for the recipe.

  • Jenny Lou

    I’m sorry Mary but I made this and, to my personal palate, it doesn’t taste good. I bought the right kind of sunflower seeds (raw, shelled, and unroasted), used nooch from Trader Joe’s, half tsp of garlic powder, and just a little less salt than you call for.

    That being said, I love sunflower seed butter and nooch gravy but I don’t think the two ingredients (sunflower seeds and nooch) belong together. Alas!

  • Sherri N.

    OMG!! This is out of this world good! I just found you when I was looking for pasta recipes and decided to check this cheese recipe. I had everything except the bacon bits so I added a tiny bit of liquid smoke and OH..M..G! I love this! The only suggestion I have is to omit the salt until after you taste the cheese. Mine came out too salty for my taste so I added another 1/4 cup of raw unsalted sunflower seeds and it was still salty. But, I’m going to love using this on my pasta and I’ll make sure to reduce the salt on everything else so this will balance it out. Thanks so much for the recipe. <3

    • Mary

      That’s wonderful to hear! Great save too! Thanks for your comment, Sherri.

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