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Sunflower Seed Pesto Recipe


  • 1 cup roasted sunflower seeds (unsalted)

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves

  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • Juice of 1 lemon

  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Toast the Sunflower Seeds: In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the sunflower seeds until they become lightly golden and aromatic. Keep an eye on them, as they can burn quickly. Once toasted, let them cool.

  • Blend Ingredients: In a food processor, combine the toasted sunflower seeds, fresh basil leaves, minced garlic, and grated Parmesan cheese. Pulse a few times until the mixture starts to come together.

  • Add Olive Oil: With the food processor running, gradually drizzle in the extra-virgin olive oil. This will help emulsify the mixture and create a creamy consistency.

  • Lemon Juice and Seasoning: Add the juice of one lemon to the mixture for a fresh zing. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Blend again until the pesto reaches your desired texture.

  • Taste and Adjust: Give the pesto a taste and adjust the seasoning, lemon juice, or olive oil as needed to suit your preferences.

  • Store or Serve: Transfer the sunflower seed pesto to a clean jar or airtight container. If not using immediately, press a layer of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pesto to prevent oxidation. This helps keep its vibrant green color. You can refrigerate it for up to a week.

Enjoy Your Sunflower Seed Pesto:

This sunflower seed pesto is incredibly versatile. You can use it as a pasta sauce, spread it on sandwiches, drizzle it over grilled vegetables, or even use it as a dip for bread or crackers. It’s a unique twist on traditional pesto, with the nutty flavor of sunflower seeds adding a great richness. Plus, it's a wonderful way to incorporate sunflowers into your culinary creations!

*bonus: Let your littles pick the sunflower seeds from your garden’s end. Our favorite sunflowers from our own garden come from Sow True Seeds - Mammoth Grey.

Here’s one of our Mammoth Grey Sunflowers from our backyard farm in

Black Mountain when our son was a toddler

Woman smiling with toddler in her arms underneath mammoth sunflower in garden under a blue sky
Kristin and Cash in our backyard garden

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