About a month and a half ago, I was offered a sample of Parmela, a new vegan parmesan on the market. After a mix-up with the address (moving so often gets very confusing) the little container arrived the other day.
Out of the container, the cheese definitely smells tang, but looks more nooch-colored than cow's Parm.
While I was thrilled to be offered a chance to try a new vegan product and took Parmela up on it at once, it took some thinking to figure out how to use the "aged nut cheese" as I'm not a fan of pasta and that's the only way I've eaten Parmesan in my pre-gan days.
Fortuitously, I had recently come across a recipe for vegetarian caesar dressing in an Andrew Weil book, True Food, I was flipping through at work. While the recipe does not include the anchovies or egg yolks that non-vegan recipes often include, Weil's recipe does use Parmesan. I was going to sub that for nooch, but then the Parmela came!
Vegan Caesar Salad Dressing, adapted from Andrew Weil
yields 1 cup dressing
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 T red wine vinegar
1 T low sodium soy sauce
1 heaping T Dijon mustard
2 T capers, roughly chopped
2 small cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup Parmela parmesan (or make yr own parm OR sub nooch)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp ground black pepper
-Blend all the ingredients with a fork in a bowl (or measuring cup if ya don't want to dirty another dish.)
So, I'm not sure I've ever had a Caesar salad but this smells like the dressings I've smelled. The capers lend a briney (but not fishy) flavor and the lemon juice, vinegar, and Parmela give it a nice tang. The cheese also keeps its sort of springy, sort of grainy texture that lightens the dressing up, rather than seeming heavy like an egg or dairy-based dressing might.
So far I've just tasted tested the dressing. maybe later I'll run out and get some fake chicken and romaine and do the salad up right. The closest I have right now is spinach and tofu.
While there are recipes for making yr own nut cheese, I haven't tried them...maybe because I'm lazy or because I don't care too much, ha. This was a fun product to try; I'm more apt to recreate products that already exist once I've tried them and now I know how much fun a vegan Parm can be. Plus, if you ARE feeling lazy but do love Parmesan, it's nice to know there's a product out there that you can grab off the shelves (or order online - I haven't seen it in stores yet.)
For other recipes that better highlight the more traditional uses of Parmesan cheese, check out River's post or Bianca's recent use.