Like Parmesan on your pasta? Did you know that you’ve probably been putting powdered wood that likely contained little to no real Parmesan cheese on your pasta your whole life? If you’re like me, you probably grew up with a cardboard, now plastic, cylinder of “Parmesan” that you shook copious amounts of onto your pasta and whatever else it seemed to go well on.
Unfortunately, Parmesan cheese eaters are some of the victimized in the global industry of food fraud. Real Parmesan cheese has three ingredients- milk, salt, and rennet (an enzyme from calf intestine). 99% of Parmesan in the United States contains cellulose, amongst other shady ingredients. Cellulose is powdered wood fiber used to make paper and cardboard. The FDA allows Parmesan to have up to 4% cellulose to prevent caking, though tests have shown that many brands brazenly exceed that quota.
On a recent trip to the supermarket I inspected all the shelf versions of Parmesan and found only one brand the didn’t use the cardboard additive. That brand was 4C who just gained notoriety by having a nationwide recall due to salmonella concerns, gross.
Even the hard stuff you pay a premium for and grate has a very high chance of being a low quality cheese passed off an the real thing. Real Parmigiano-Reggiano is meticulously made and aged in Parma, Italy, and is difficult and expensive to find in the United States, though imposters abound.
Given the fact that most “Parmesan” cheese at is part cardboard and made of cheap milk derivatives, and that dairy is now linked through peer-reviewed medical research to breast and prostate cancer, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease, maybe it’s time to look for a healthier option?
Vegan “Parmesan” is delicious, super easy to make, and won’t cause you any health issues, but it is guaranteed to be packed with goodness. With only four simple ingredients: nutritional yeast, cashews, salt, and garlic powder, you’re getting a wallop of nutrition. Cashews are arguably one of the world’s healthiest foods and if you haven’t jumped on the nutritional yeast it’s time to get on board! Nutritional yeast, or nooch, is a cheese-tasting flakey baker’s yeast that is packed with antiviral and antibacterial immune boosting nourishment.
I like to double this recipe and keep it in a mason jar in the fridge where it lasts for a few weeks.
Total launch time: 10 minutes
- 3/4 cup raw cashews
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
Directions: Combine ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth.
That’s it… Bon Appetite!