Sunflower seeds are the new cashews!

I believe that frequent readers have noticed that I LOVE sunflower seeds. I have shared many delicious recipes where the sunflower seeds are used in many clever and tasty ways. What can you make out of these amazing little seeds? Creamy sauces, hearty pie fillings, silky soups, salad dressings and so on. And of course, you can make an absolutely amazing plant milk out of the sunflower seeds!

In Europe, the seeds cost about 0,50 euro cents per pack (150 g). This is super cheap, compared to cashews which cost over 2 euros per pack. And if you have a nut allergy, cashews are out of the question and sunflower seeds are your new best friends. As you can see, I'm a huge fan. And I want to share all this greatness with you. Scroll down for a super versatile basic sauce recipe, plant milk and homemade granola recipe and some great tips!

Why are the sunflower seeds so amazing?

  • They are super cheap. One pack (150 g) costs about 0,50 euro cents and you can make a decent amount of sauce out of it.
  • Availability. I don't know a store where they don't sell sunflower seeds.
  • Versatility. Since the seeds are pretty neutral in taste, you make plant milk, warm sauce, cold sauce, soup and salad dressing out of them.
  • Even if you are allergic to nuts, you can still make creamy vegan sauces using sunflower seeds.
  • Beneficial to your health. Sunflower seeds contain a lot of E-vitamin, B-vitamin, K-vitamin, iron, magnesium, omega fatty acids, selenium, calcium and folic acid.

I just love the idea that you can make a whole pot of creamy vegan and gluten free sauce out of these little seeds.

I also want to share my basic sauce recipe, which you can modify to your own taste (add different herbs or spices for example).

Basic sauce recipe

Serves: 4 - 6 people
Preparation time: 15 - 20 minutes.

  • 1 cup / 150 g raw peeled sunflower seeds (not roasted) 
  • 2 cups / 480 ml water 
  • 4 - 5 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari 
  • ½ tsp salt 
  • 1 Tbsp paprika powder 
  • 1 tsp curry powder 

+ 3 Tbsp oil, 1 onion, 3 cloves of garlic

If you don't have a high speed blender, soak the sunflower seeds for a couple of hours or overnight. You can also boil them for 15 minutes instead of soaking. Drain the soaked or boiled seeds. Add to a blender along with water, soy sauce, salt, paprika powder and curry powder. Blend for a couple of minutes until smooth. Heat up some oil in a pan. Add thinly sliced onions. Cook for a couple of minutes. Add chopped garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the blended sauce, stir and let it simmer for a couple of minutes. If you want, you can use the sauce right after blending and skip the cooked onion part. You can serve the same sauce with mashed potatoes, use it in creamy soups or make a divine mac and cheese:

More tips: 

  • You can always boil the sunflower seeds for 15 minutes instead of soaking them for a couple of hours or overnight. 
  • Blender is the best for making a super smooth sauce. When using a food processor or a hand blender, the mixture will be a bit more grainy but still tasty. 
  • If you want a more neutral sauce, leave out the paprika powder and curry powder. Or you can make a cold sauce by adding some lemon juice, chopped raw onions, fresh herbs and chopped tomatoes instead for example.

Oat and chocolate granola with sunflower seed milk

I often make my own sunflower seed milk. I like to use it in smoothies, in baking and serve it with homemade granola. Making your own sunflower seed milk is super cheap and very simple. And it tastes pretty neutral, so you can use it almost everywhere.

Sunflower seed milk

  • 1 ½ cups / 200 g raw peeled sunflower seeds (not roasted)
  • 4 ¼ cups / 1 liter water 

If you don't have a high speed blender, soak the seeds for a couple of hours of overnight. You can also boil them for 15 minutes if you are in a hurry. Drain and rinse the seeds. Blend with water, until you have a smooth mixture. Strain the mixture. You can keep the pulp for other foods or throw it away. Now you will have over 4 cups of delicious sunflower seed milk.

Oat and chocolate granola

  • 2 ½ cups / 300 g rolled oats
  • 1 ½ Tbsp (unrefined) sugar
  • ½ Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp (olive) oil
  • 1 cup / 100 g almond flakes
  • 1 ½ cups / 200 g vegan chocolate chips

Preheat the oven too 400 F / 200 C. Mix all the ingredients and pour them on a baking tray covered with parchment paper. Bake for 7 - 10 minutes. Let the mixture cool and then serve it with sunflower seed milk. 

If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments!