Vegan Hemp Parmesan

Vegan Hemp Parmesan

True story: I grew up with a tiny Silician grandmother (“Oma” who loved to feed me lots and lots of yummy food. My favorite forever and always was her pasta with homemade sauce with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese on top. The lady also made the most amazing salads. No other food has ever tasted as good.

Nut-free Vegan Hemp Parmesan

The woman had a gift: she could make the simplest ingredients taste phenomenal. No recipes, just all by look and feel. Bless her genius culinary skills.

Oma always had Kraft parmesan out on the table. Yup, the totally American, shelf-stable stuff in a blue shaker jar. According to my mom, it was the ‘only game in town’ for a long time before importing foods became more mainstream and better options were available. Regardless, Kraft parm will always remind me of her.

Hemp Hearts

I was never big on melted cheese, but I always did love me some parm on top of pasta or salad. Since going dairy-free, I’ve ventured into the world of making my own parm.

For a very long time, I’ve pulsed up walnuts or cashews and added nutritional yeast as the base for parm. While this works well, I recently brought a bag of hemp seeds and thought the shape, size, and nutty flavor would work perfectly for vegan parm. Turns out, I was right.

Nut-free Vegan Hemp Parm

Hemp seeds/hearts have recently entered my life and I can’t get enough. And they’re one of those hype foods that’s actually quite good for you. 3 Tablespoons packs 10 grams of protein, 20% DV iron, and 3 grams of fiber.

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Vegan Broccoli Parmesan Pasta

As I write this post, it’s 7:38am, and I’m already down to eat some pasta. In my opinion, there is no right or wrong time to eat any food. The best time to eat a food is whenever the heck you feel like it. Salad and sushi for breakfast has happened in my life, and I like to encourage others to listen to their bodies and cravings and do the same.

Parmesan Brocolli Pasta

But honestly, when isn’t it a good time for pasta? Are you ever sad when you eat pasta? If you’re anything like me, then no, probably not. Pasta is happy food. Especially pasta like this pasta, that reminds me of my childhood.

Parmesan Brocolli Pasta - vegan

I wrote this recipe for a project I was working on for Spoon University, which if you follow my blog or know me in real life or creepily look through my closet and examine my stuff close enough to notice I have a hefty amount of #spoonswag, you know is something I’m super passionate about and love to do. If you don’t already know about Spoon, it’s the nation’s first online college food magazine. I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of it for over 2 years and it’s been amazing to watch it grow, and it has grown and changed me in many ways. Thanks Spoon, ILY.

Broccoli Parmesan Pasta

As I mention in the Spoonie post, this is a favorite childhood dish of mine. My mommy  used to make this dinner for our family, and what she considered this simple, throw-it-together-I-don’t-really-feel-like-cooking dish remains to be a favorite of mine and my sisters (Hi Jenn, if you’re reading!). It’s 5 ingredients and takes 20 minutes. Nothing could be better. And this dish somehow tastes like a gourmet meal even though it’s a combination of very simple ingredients. Each highlights the other, and complements one another in both flavor and texture, creating a mashup of salty, savory, nutty cheesy, vegetable-filled goodness. Add more or less broccoli and/or parm to suit your needs. Remember, in the kitchen, you da boss ;-).

Parmesan Brocolli Pasta

So I grew up on this recipe made with imported Italian parmesan, but now as a primarily plant-based individual, I have revamped it a lil bit to suit my current lifestyle. You can buy vegan parmesan like this one at most grocery stores if you look or ask for it, google a recipe to make your own (there are a bunch),  or if you just want simple, sub nutritional yeast with a slightly different taste. Not vegan? Hit it up with dairy parm if that’s your style. Whatever way you make it, it’ll taste great.

Here’s the original post for Spoon, and here’s a recent post I put together about how and when to use different pots and pans, or just check out the recipe below. Happy pasta eating peoples :-).

Level: Easy

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Servings: 1-2


  • 1 cup pasta, uncooked
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup vegan Parmesan substitute, grated Parmesan cheese,  or nutritional yeast
  • salt & pepper to taste

1. Bring 6 cups water to a boil in a pot. Cook pasta according to directions on package.

Baker Steamed Broccoli 2 Katherine JC Penney Epicurious

2. Bring 1-2 inches of water to a boil in a small saucepan.

3. Chop broccoli into even pieces and place in a steamer basket, and place on top of the saucepan. Cover with lid and steam until tender, about 5-6 minutes. Alternately, cook broccoli covered in the microwave for 3-5 minutes, or until tender.

Parmesan Brocolli Pasta

4. Drain cooked pasta and return to pan. Add olive oil, cooked broccoli, grated Parmesan, and salt and pepper to taste.