Title says it all, I'm looking for vegan alternatives to pecorino romano for when I want to make pesto for vegan guests. Not striving for authenticity, and yes pesto is serviceable without the cheese, but it's missing a little something something. If it was just parmesan I could get by with liquid aminos or something, but it seems much harder to emulate sheep's milk cheese. And no, vegan cheeses don't work!

The most important part for me is the taste, as I get most of my texture from how I process the nuts and basil.


I've used vegan shredded cheese products manufactured by a company named Daiya and have had quite a bit of success. You can find them on Amazon, but products with similar ingredients and labeling might work.

I would recommend a mixture of their parmesan and mozzarella products to get something sort of close to the creamy consistency of pecorino, then add a tiny bit of porcini powder to give it a bit more subtle flavor (a good aged pecorino has a slight tartness to it).

You'll need to experiment, but I've used their 'cheeses' and they melt / blitz rather well.

In a pesto where everything is shredded and blitzed, texture is actually less of an issue. I know you could use the above two types to get the taste; you could probably make something that most people wouldn't even think to question.

But, as with all substitutions, some experimentation will be needed.

  • I'll give this a try. I have a nearly irrational hatred for vegan cheese, but I haven't used Daiya before, and the porcini powder sounds promising. Part of the reason I was trying to avoid vegan cheese is that it ruins the texture you get just from the basil, nuts, and olive oil, but it sounds like you're an expert! – player3 May 17 '18 at 23:24

Try some "nutritional yeast". It's vegan and a wonderful salty/cheesy flavour. You can find it at any health food store.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.