Two of my favorite cookbooks, What's to Eat? by Linda Marienhoff Cross and Go Dairy Free by Alisa Fleming, both have recipes for a Sunflower Pesto that I've long had bookmarked. I've been thwarted, though, in my desire to make a seed based pesto by the "shared equipment with peanuts" warning printed on every single package of sunflower seeds that I've found in stores.
A number of months ago, I ordered a couple bags of safe sunflower seeds, which had been processed at the Sunbutter plant, from Peanut Free Planet. We had almost nibbled our way through both bags, when I finally made the mental connection between the pesto recipe, my dwindling supply of sunflower seeds and the vigorously growing basil plant, that had reached new heights on my patio.
I have made a few changes to the pesto. The recipe calls for raw, unsalted sunflower seeds, but since the only safe ones I can find are roasted and lightly salted, that's what I used. As much as I love fresh garlic, The Kid has a limited tolerance for it. He will gladly eat foods well seasoned with garlic powder, which isn't as sharp, so I've substituted that in for the fresh stuff. I've also discovered over the course of my longstanding hummus addiction, that I can substitute water for half of the olive oil when making it, so I've done that here as well. To finish the dish, I chopped up a couple of ripe tomatoes from the container garden on my patio, and tossed them in with the pasta.
The result was incredibly nutty, savory and fresh. We gobbled up every bite of the pasta, and practically licked the bowls afterward!
(Click here for printable recipe.)
1 C packed fresh basil leaves, washed
1/2 C roasted sunflower seeds
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
1/4 C water
1/2 tsp garlic powder (not garlic salt)
1/4-1/2 tsp salt
Combine ingredients in food processor or blender. Puree until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Adjust salt, and toss with pasta. Serve immediately. Makes approximately 1 cup.
I'm submitting my yummy pesto to: