Many people assume that Parmesan is vegetarian! But is that true at all? That it is not vegan seems relatively logical because of the animal milk it contains. But it is not supposed to be vegetarian either? Before I became vegan, I ate vegetarian for a long time. At some point, to my surprise, it came to my attention that Parmesan is not a vegetarian food. A search query in my sustainable search engine of trust later, I was then smarter. Real Parmesan is not vegetarian!
In this article I would like to show you why this is so - and what alternatives for classic Parmesan cheese are available to you as a vegetarian and vegan. Let's go!
That is why conventional Parmesan cheese is not vegetarian
So how can it be that Parmesan is not suitable for vegetarians? The reason for this, is on closer inspection in the Production or ripening process of the cheese to find!
Parmesan cheese has a maturation period of at least 12 months. To thicken the milk without making it sour, certain enzymes are necessary. These come, among other things, from the stomach lining of cows and are naturally there to make the mother's milk digestible. Since the cows - especially calves - must be killed for the "profit" of these enzymes, Parmesan cheese (neither Parmigiano nor Grana Padano) is also not vegetarian. The animals are usually not killed for the animal rennet, but the purchase of the corresponding cheese promotes the raison d'être of the meat industry or the brutal and resource-intensive Factory farming.
Notice: The addition of rennet is not required to be labeled on products in the supermarket. Therefore, it is important to find out about the production of a particular cheese elsewhere beforehand.
Vegan and vegetarian alternatives for Parmesan cheese
There are definitely vegetarian Parmesan varieties that are made with microbial or vegetable Rennet substitutes are produced. This is quite simply molds that are fermented by microorganisms - however, this is usually associated with genetic engineering in conventionally-produced cheese and is therefore better avoided. With organic cheese you can be on the safe side, even if they may not bear the classic name "Parmesan", because this is protected. Montello is then, for example, a corresponding vegetarian alternative.
But there are now also really tasty vegan alternatives. For example this VANTASTIC GRATTUGIATO soy-based*. Also this vegan PROSOCIANO from Violife* is incredibly good! Since you avoided the consciously accepted Cruelty to animals and the killing of animals then altogether.
Tip: I simply prefer the vegan parmesan alternatives because I know that the Dairy industry is even more brutal than the meat industry. In the linked article, you'll learn why I think so.
Understand the production process of Parmesan cheese - and prefer vegetarian-vegan alternatives
Now you have confirmation why the typical Parmesan cheese from the Italian provinces of Parma, Modena, Reggio Emilia, Bologna and Mantua is not even vegetarian. I hope that you like the plant-based alternative for Parmesan and that in the future you can enjoy pasta, pizza and co. without animal suffering.
Do you have any questions or suggestions? Or do you know of other delicious vegetarian-vegan Parmesan substitutes? Then just write me a comment.
Stay animal-friendly and sustainable,
PS.: In the past I always thought that it was being vegetarian is enough for me. But at some point I learned the background of the dairy and animal industry. In the linked article you will learn why I then became a vegan at some point, to bring my values back in line with my actions.