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Herby Pesto with Sunflower Seeds

Traditionally pesto is made with pine nuts, but they are quite expensive and allergenic to some. I like the flavour, nutrient density and price tag of raw sunflower seeds.  I like that people with nut allergies can enjoy this pesto.  


I always use parsley in my pesto, a handful of spinach, kale or arugula to help “bring the vibrant green.”  This pesto tastes great for chips n’ dips, dolloped on just about every cooked vegetable, grain or protein.  It is a staple in my fridge and a great way to use up those no so great-looking leftover herbs.

  • Servesmakes 1 cup
  • Cooks in 0
  • Prep time 15mins
  • Anti Inflammatory

    Recipes have ingredients with anti-inflammatory nutrients and avoid common inflammatory foods like sugar, gluten, dairy and processed food. A whole food diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods can help relieve symptoms of inflammation within the body. Inflammation is at the root of most disease = dis-ease.

  • Iron

    Iron is a mineral essential for building red blood cells, carrying oxygen to lungs & tissues, cellular energy metabolism, healthy brain & immune functions.

    Foods high in Iron;
    Spinach, kale, parsley, nettles, seaweed, algae, leafy greens, potato skin
    Red meat, poultry, liver, fish, shellfish - sardines, 
    Eggs, Mushrooms, 
    Tofu, Black Beans, Chickpeas, Lentils, Beans
    Quinoa, Teff, Oats, Buckwheat, Rice, Millet, Barley, Wheat
    Seeds pumpkin & squash, pistachios, hemp, flax, almonds, cashews, cacao, dark chocolate,
    Dried fruits apricots, raisins, molasses

  • Nut Free

    Recipes are nut-free. Nuts allergies are common and can cause serious inflammation for people with a nut allergy. Nuts include tree nuts and peanuts.

  • Dairy free

    Dairy-free Recipes have no animal milk or milk products no cheese, no yoghurt. Dairy is a common food allergen, dairy can cause inflammation.

  • Vitamins Minerals


✓ adds to shopping list


  • ½ cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves - peeled
  • 3 cups of fresh mixed herbs like basil, parsley, cilantro, chives, dill, arugula*
  • ¼-⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast - optional


Herby Pesto with Sunflower Seeds


FOOD PROCESSOR – ADD garlic + sunflower seeds, blitz 10 sec or until mix resembles breadcrumb.


ADD HERBS roughly chopped, ¼ cup olive oil, salt, process 30 sec then scrape down the sides


PROCESS Add a dash more oil to achieve a rough blended texture. Pesto is not a smooth puree unless you like it that way.


TASTE season and adjust, spice it up if you like.


SERVE as a dip with veggie sticks, crackers, chips. STIR through pasta. USE in salad dressings,


STORE in a narrow top mason jar in the fridge = reduce surface are & oxidization = top going brown.

Chef Hat Icon Chef tips + Ingredient Swaps + Ideas

LOW FODMAP use 1 tbsp sunflower seeds; 2 teaspoons sunflower seeds per serving


SEEDS & NUTS substitute or add a combo of sunflower seeds, pumpkin pepita seeds, hemp seeds  Nuts traditionally pinenuts or cashews work well.


* HERBS & GREENS; any combo of these would be delicious basil, parsley, cilantro, dill, chives, arugula, sorrel, lovage, bronze fennel, mint, spinach, kale.   
       Basil – use leaves only   
       Parsley, cilantro, sorrel, spinach use stems and leaves   
       Oregano, thyme, marjoram, rosemary – use smaller amounts with other herbs, you will need to finely chop by hand as they are don’t chop well in the food processor, especially rosemary, always chop rosemary by hand 
       Seasonal foraged greens like dandelion leaves, garlic mustard, wood sorrel, purslane


SPICE it up by adding fresh chilli or dried chilli flakes


CHEESE flavour dairy-free & Vegan = nutritional yeast. OR use grated parmesan cheese,


FREEZES quite well too once defrosted it’s better used stirred through warm grains or pasta or soup than as a fresh dip.

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