My wife is vegetarian and, since meeting her, I've come to realise that all Grana Padano seems to be non-vegetarian. Is this really the case, or are my local supermarkets just not stocking the veggie stuff? Would be a shame for her to miss out on so many things (esp. pesto) just because of this.


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    don't be offended, but realizing that Grana Padano is non vegetarian is like realizing that Champagne contains alcohol... if it is Grana Padano, it is made from cow milk, period. If it is vegetarian, it is not Grana Padano, says the law. For something that can be used to replace grated hard cheese, indeed yeast flakes can help. Although the taste is different, of couse. Oct 8, 2011 at 18:27
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    I was asking about it being vegetarian, not vegan. It was the rennet I was interested in. Thanks anyway - probably just a language issue. :)
    – Mal Ross
    Oct 10, 2011 at 8:04
  • I suggest Pecorino which is similar and the version in ASDA is I think from memory -suitable for vegitarians
    – forty
    May 12, 2018 at 12:11

7 Answers 7


You may be able to find vegetarian Grana Padano style cheese, but I don't think you will find the real thing in vegetarian form.

This is because the making of Grana Padano is still a traditional process and true GP cheese is only produced in certain regions of Italy. It in fact has P.D.O. (Protected Designation of Origin) status, which means that only those cheeses produced in certain regions and using certain methods can legally be called Grana Padano. I imagine one of those methods is using animal rennet.

I would be surprised that there isn't some form of substitute available in Italy, as they have the highest proportion of vegetarians in Europe at 10%. I get the feeling, however, that they are perhaps less zealous about it than others if it means giving up good cheese.

The only suggestion I have found as an alternative to GP as something to sprinkle on pasta etc is nutritional yeast powder, which apparently has a similar nutty, creamy taste. Not ideal, but if you make the choice to be veggie you have to take the rough with the smooth!

I see from your profile that you live in the UK; we are lucky in that we have a lot of fantastic small local producers, so it may be worth looking up some local dairies or cheesemakers and seeing if they can offer an alternative.

  • Yeah, I'll have to check with the Northumberland Cheese Company, as they're just down the road from me and all of theirs is vegetarian. Don't think I've ever seen a proper hard cheese like GP in their shop, mind. Thanks for answering, btw. :)
    – Mal Ross
    Oct 6, 2011 at 10:05
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    "I get the feeling, however, that they are perhaps less zealous about it than others if it means giving up good cheese." - absolutely true. I have met vegetarians in Italy who ate rennet-made cheese. And: Good quality hard cheese with bacterial enzymes exists, I have a piece of it in my fridge right now. A cheese producer is maybe not your best bet, go to a cheese monger who imports cheese from different sources, they will probably have something for you.
    – rumtscho
    Oct 6, 2011 at 11:46
  • Very few places outside of Europe accept the p.d.o status of cheeses.
    – Neil Meyer
    Jun 27, 2016 at 14:23
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    I've also met vegetarians who happily ate various kinds of cheese before fermenatation produced rennet (according to Wikipedia about 80 % of all rennet world wide) and microbial rennet were invented. That being said, the production specifications for Grana Padano (granapadano.it/public/file/disciplinareen-20029-27920.pdf) say calf rennet. (As a non-vegetarian, I think the animal content in Grana Padano is still less than, say, the worm content in organic cherries) May 13, 2018 at 21:17

I Buy kosher Grana Padano:http://www.collaspa.it/en/index.php

Since we can't use animal rennet,it is vegetarian and it says so on their web page.


You can get a cheese named Grandi Pascoli from QuatrtroColli. Its is a grana padano made With vegetable rennet. This is especially made for vegetarian use.


No. Grana Padano's traditional recipe uses animal rennett and because it has DOP protection under EU law, no cheese made to any other recipe can be sold as 'Grana Padano'.


Try Grana Padano Tipo, which contains a modified enzyme. It's used by a leading vegetarian restaurant in Brighton, for its full flavour.

  • Unless I'm mistaken in my translation (and google translate is backing me up on this one), 'Tipo' means 'Type' ... so I assume it's trying to say it's similar to grana padano, and may not necessarily means it's vegan unless it's got some other qualifiers (to differentiate between other variants). I've found mention of 'Grana Padano Tipo Trentino', which uses calf rennet.
    – Joe
    Jun 25, 2013 at 16:08

I believe the best vegetarian alternative is Gran Mantovano. It's made in Italy by a reputable maker of Grana Padano and Parmigiano Reggiano and in my opinion is an excellent substitute for Grana Padano. It is made specifically for vegetarians.


There is indeed a fabulous Italian Hard Cheese that is Vegetarian. It's called Quattrocento and is made by Granarolo. You can buy it at Waitrose or from idelionline.com

It's a smoother texture but still packs a punch so cooks and eats the same as a parmesan or PDO product

It is made with microbial rennet and is preservative free so a much cleaner ingredient deck than a few other cheeses of a similar style

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