This week’s recipe is a super simple dairy-free alternative to your favourite parmesan cheese. And let me tell you friends, it is absolutely divine. This is definitely one recipe you need to add to your to do list this week, and keep a jar stashed in the fridge at all times. It’s one of my absolute favourite pantry staples and adds incredible flavour to almost anything. Because of course, everything tastes better with a sprinkle of parmesan right?
What’s in a dash of dairy?
The reason for sharing this recipe with you this week, is there was some rather upsetting footage on the dairy industry on national television last weekend, and a bunch of news follow ups since then. If you missed the short video which I shared on Facebook earlier this week. I’ve written about some of the ethical and environmental issues around dairy before here and here. But essentially, the fact is that in order to consume dairy products (milk, yoghurt, cheese, ice cream etc), mother cows need to be pregnant and have a baby so as to produce milk. There is however very limited use for those babies (there are far too many born to replace their mothers as milking cows), so 2 million baby calves, less than 5 days old, are taken from their mothers and sent to slaughter every year. And that is just in New Zealand alone.
Some of the footage that was aired showed some pretty horrific treatment of these babies, which would abhor even the hardiest of persons. And so there have been a lot of responses from farmers saying that they would never treat their calves like that. Which is of course great to hear, and I fully respect the efforts of these more caring farmers. So does this mean we can consume this ‘happy’ dairy and feel at ease?
Unfortunately even these cows still have babies which are surplus to requirements, leading to the 2 million figure above. No matter how free range, organic or grass fed these cows are, they still need to be impregnated, have a child, and for that baby to be taken from them in order for us to consume, export and profit from their milk. The question is, is that inherently right for us to do that, or more importantly, is it worth it?
As a mother I can’t even begin to imagine what it must be like to have your newborn baby taken away from you at only a few days old, to be slaughtered. And for that to happen again and again year after year. I hope you’ll watch the video in any case so that you can be aware of the issues and form your opinions from there.
Means the while, let’s get back to the food, which is of course a much more happy place! I’ve been sharing a series of my favourite dairy free staples over on Facebook this week – think creamy Cashew Nut Cheese, Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, Maple Walnut Ice Cream, Homemade Magnum Icecreams, Nurturing Nut Milk, Coconut Cashew Chia Cream, Turmeric Butter and Creamy Cashew Aioli to name a few. Today’s beautiful Cashew Nut Parmesan is another one to add to your arsenal of dairy-free deliciousness, and oh my is it a good one.
This super simple dairy-free parmesan contains only 3 base ingredients, being cashews, nutritional yeast and salt. I’ve then added garlic or onion powder (both are great) and white pepper to the mix, which really rounds out the flavour giving a much more authentic cheesiness. If you don’t have them on hand though don’t let it stop you – the 3-ingredient version is still amazing! I’ve also included a nut-free version that uses coconut flour, in case your little ones have nut allergies – it’s not as creamy and rich as the cashew version but still lovely.
This cheese will literally take you 2 minutes to make, and will yield a big jar of lovely cheesy parmesan goodness that you can store in the fridge for up to a month. Then it’s up to you and your imagination where you want to sprinkle it! On top of pizza, pasta or as a sprinkle over your favourite vege fritters (these are my favourites here and here). I guarantee once you make it you’ll be wanting to shake, shimmy and sprinkle it over everything!
I’d love to hear your thoughts, on both the parmesan and the video/issues around dairy. Leave a comment below, or take a picture of your parmesan creations and tag them @begoodorganics and #begoodorganics on Instagram.
I know there are a lot of strong emotions around this topic, particularly here in NZ where dairy currently makes up the biggest portion of our GDP. But I’d also like to think that no matter what one’s dietary choices are, we’d all agree that a kinder world for animals is a better one for us to live in!
Thanks for reading as always, and I hope you have a wonderful week.
Please note – if you are wanting to meet any of the specific dietary requirements below, please read my recipe notes.
- 1 c cashews
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 3/4 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp garlic OR onion powder optional
- 1/2 tsp white pepper optional
- Blend all ingredients in a food processor until combined.
- Pour into a jar or shaker and store in the fridge for up to a month.
- Make it nut free: you can also use coconut flour for a nut free option, just add a tablespoon of coconut oil to the mix to give it some creaminess and texture.
- Another lovely substitute here would be brazil nuts – my current favourite!
- Serve on pasta, pizza, vegan meatballs, soups, stuffed kumaras or any of my fritter recipes (here and here).