When I first started cutting back on cheese, I bought a dairy-free parmesan substitute from the supermarket. It was a pale yellow powder that sort of had the smell of parmesan but none of the flavour. When sprinkled onto pasta, it would instantly dissolve into the pasta sauce without adding anything to the taste. It was a major disappointment. Could I really manage without dairy if that meant I couldn’t have a little bit of something cheesy on my pasta?
Not long after, I discovered nutritional yeast flakes, AKA nooch. Nooch gives a much more satisfying cheesy flavour, doesn’t disappear into the sauce (unless you want it to), and can be used to flavour other things, such as vegan cheese sauce or scrambled tofu. For a long time it was the best vegan parmesan substitute I could find.
That is until I made an accidental discovery late one night, when home alone. I’d made some tasty vegetable pasta, and couldn’t decide whether to sprinkle it with nooch or gomasio, so I went for a 50:50 mix of both and bingo! A satisfying parmesan-like topping for pasta.
The gomasio adds a slightly salty nuttiness to the nooch, converting it from mild cheesiness to a fairly convincing substitute. What’s more, it adds a tiny bit of extra protein, vitamins, and minerals to your meal. I feel like my mission is complete, I’m over the moon! [Insert your own cheese pun here.]
 Gomasio is a mix of ground sesame seeds with salt. It’s really easy to make your own if you have a blender or spice grinder, but you can buy it in a jar too.