Many of us think of parmesan cheese as the finely grated Parmesan we see in pizza parlors rather than as a lump of cheese we can bite into.
When it comes to eating as a vegetarian, you’re always looking for new foods to try. You might be wondering if you can consume parmesan cheese. So, what exactly is parmesan cheese, and where does it come from, you might wonder. Is parmesan cheese suitable for vegetarians?
Is Kraft Parmesan Cheese Vegan-Friendly?
Kraft Parmesan Cheese is not vegan-friendly. Traditional Parmesan cheese, including Kraft’s version, is made from cow’s milk. Furthermore, it usually involves using animal rennet in the curdling process, a product derived from the stomach of calves.
Kraft is quite clear about their parmesan cheese not being vegetarian. In addition to saying that the Parmesan is made with microbial rennet, it also says: “This product contains milk.”
They also say that it isn’t suitable for vegans. This is because the rennet used to make Parmesan cheese comes from a baby cow, considered an animal byproduct. Since vegans don’t eat animal byproducts, Kraft Parmesan cheese isn’t for vegans.
Don’t eat Kraft Parmesan if you’re a vegetarian or have a vegan diet.
The thing is, “vegetarian-friendly” doesn’t mean the same thing as “vegan.” Vegetarians can eat dairy products like cheese. Vegans, on the other hand, cannot.
Parmesan cheese is made with rennet, an enzyme in a cow’s stomach lining. This substance is often used to thicken milk during cheesemaking. However, there are non-animal derived versions today (see: microbial or vegetable rennets), and many brands still rely on traditional animal rennet for their signature flavor profile and texture.
What Is Parmesan Cheese?
Parmesan cheese is a hard, granular cheese most often made from cow’s milk. It is named after the Italian city of Parma, where it was first produced in the 16th century. Parmesan is aged for 12 months and has a sharp, spicy taste.
The production process begins with the pasteurization of raw milk, which is then heated to remove bacteria and enzymes that could cause spoilage or other problems during aging. The curdling agent rennet is added to coagulate the milk into solid curds, which are then cut into small pieces using steel knives or forks before being allowed to drain into presses where they form blocks called “bricks” of cheese weighing up to 35 pounds (16 kilograms).
Parmesan is traditionally produced in small blocks of varying sizes but can be shredded or grated. It’s most often used as a topping for pasta dishes or pizza.
Is Parmesan Cheese Vegan-Friendly?
For many cheese enthusiasts, Parmesan cheese is a beloved kitchen staple, gracing the tops of pastas, salads, and more with its distinctive savory flavor. However, if you’re leading a vegan lifestyle, the question that naturally arises is: Is Parmesan cheese vegan-friendly?
Traditional Parmesan cheese is not vegan-friendly. It’s made from cow’s milk, and the production process also often involves the use of animal rennet, which is a product derived from the stomach of calves.
However, vegan alternatives to Parmesan cheese exist and they’re made from a variety of plant foods including nuts, soy, and root vegetables. These options mimic the texture and flavor of Parmesan cheese without the use of any animal products. Always check the label to confirm that it’s vegan, as recipes and manufacturing processes can vary between brands.
Why Is Parmesan Cheese Not Vegetarian Or Vegan-Friendly?
Parmesan cheeses are not vegan-friendly since most of the rennet used in their products come from animals. It may not be suited for vegetarian or vegan dinners because it uses a stomach-turning ingredient known as animal rennet, typically obtained from calves’ stomachs.
A component of Parmesan and certain other cheeses is the stomach linen of young cattle who spend their short lives in captivity before being slaughtered for veal.
Is Rennet Used In The Production Of All Parmesan?
According to the manufacturer, many kinds of parmesan cheese in the United States now utilize vegetable rennet instead of calf lining since the dairy industry harms female cows and calves.
Vegetarian Alternatives to Kraft Parmesan Cheese
While Kraft Parmesan Cheese is a popular choice for topping pasta dishes and pizzas, it contains animal-derived ingredients in rennet, making it unsuitable for those following a vegetarian diet. Fortunately, plenty of vegetarian alternatives to Kraft Parmesan Cheese can add flavor to your dishes without compromising your dietary restrictions.
1. Nutritional Yeast
Nutritional yeast is a popular vegan cheese substitute with a nutty, cheesy flavor. It is a rich source of vitamin B12 and is often used as a topping for popcorn, salads, and pasta dishes. Nutritional yeast is easy to find in health food stores or online.
2. Grana Padano
Grana Padano is a hard Italian cheese with a flavor and texture similar to Parmesan cheese. It uses vegetarian rennet and is a great alternative to Kraft Parmesan Cheese. Grana Padano is widely available in supermarkets and specialty stores.
3. Pecorino Romano
Pecorino Romano is a hard Italian cheese made using sheep’s milk. It has a sharp and salty flavor making it an excellent substitute for Kraft Parmesan Cheese. Pecorino Romano is often used in pasta dishes, soups, and salads and is easy to find in most supermarkets.
4. Vegan Parmesan Cheese
Vegan Parmesan Cheese is a dairy-free alternative to traditional Parmesan cheese. It is made using a combination of nuts, nutritional yeast, and spices and is a great option for vegans and vegetarians. Vegan Parmesan Cheese can be found in health food stores or online.
5. Asiago Cheese
Asiago Cheese is an Italian cheese that has a mild and nutty flavor. It uses vegetarian rennet and is a great alternative to Kraft Parmesan Cheese. Asiago Cheese is often used in pasta dishes, salads, and pizzas and can be found in most supermarkets.
Kraft Parmesan Cheese Recipe
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
- Grate the Parmesan cheese: You can use a food processor or a hand grater to grate the Parmesan cheese. Make sure the cheese is finely grated so that it can easily blend with the other ingredients.
- Add the salt, garlic powder, onion powder, cornstarch, and white pepper: In a small bowl, mix together the grated Parmesan cheese, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, cornstarch, and white pepper. Use a whisk to combine the ingredients thoroughly.
- Store the Kraft Parmesan Cheese: Transfer the Kraft Parmesan Cheese mixture into an airtight container, and store it in the refrigerator for up to a month. The mixture will keep fresh for a longer period if it is kept in an airtight container.
- Use fresh Parmesan cheese: Freshly grated Parmesan cheese has a better flavor than pre-grated cheese. It is worth the extra effort to grate your own cheese for this recipe.
- Adjust the seasoning: You can adjust the seasoning in this recipe to suit your taste. If you prefer a stronger garlic or onion flavor, you can add more garlic powder or onion powder.
- Use the Kraft Parmesan Cheese for a variety of dishes: This homemade Parmesan cheese recipe is great for adding flavor to pasta dishes, pizzas, soups, and more. Use it as a topping for your favorite dishes to enhance the flavor
Kraft Parmesan Cheese is not a vegetarian-friendly cheese due to the presence of animal-derived rennet. However, with the increasing popularity of vegetarian and vegan diets, many alternative vegetarian options can provide a similar taste and texture to Kraft Parmesan Cheese.
Nutritional yeast, vegan Parmesan cheese, and Grana Padano are just a few examples of vegetarian-friendly alternatives that can substitute for Kraft Parmesan Cheese. When choosing a cheese alternative, it’s always important to check the ingredients list and labeling to ensure it meets your dietary requirements.