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Ask Dr. Gourmet

What are the ingredients in Parmigiano-Reggiano?

Can you please tell me if Parmigiano - Reggiano cheese is suitable for vegetarians? If not what is the animal ingredient used?

Dr. Gourmet Says...

A wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano

The essential ingredients in Parmigiano - Reggiano, as with most cheeses, are milk, salt and rennet.

It depends on the type of vegetarian that you are whether you will eat cheese or not. Rennet is a complex of enzymes that helps catalyze the fermentation of the cheese and is considered an animal product because it is produced in the animal's stomach. Likewise, the milk is of animal origin. Many vegetarians will eat dairy products like milk or yogurt, but not eat cheese because of the rennet. Vegetarian rennets do exist, however. Here's more information about Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Thanks for writing.

Timothy S. Harlan, M.D.
Dr. Gourmet

Recipes Using Parmigiano-Reggiano

Pizza with Mushrooms and Prosciutto
Parmesan Peppercorn Dressing
Fettuccine Alfredo | GERD / Acid Reflux / Coumadin-Friendly Version
Parmesan Gnocchi
Shrimp Risotto with Peas
Cream of Fava Bean Soup
Pantry Meals: Spinach Fettuccine Alfredo
Chicken Leek Risotto
Parmesan Squash

About Other Cheeses

Blue Cheese
Low Fat White Cheddar Cheese
Blue Cheese
Cottage Cheese
Cream Cheese
Fat Free Cream Cheese
Feta Cheese
Fontina Cheese
Goat Cheese
Monterey Jack Cheese
Mozzarella Cheese
Pecorino-Romano Cheese
Ricotta Cheese