Herby Pesto with Sunflower Seeds

Traditionally, pesto is made with pine nuts, but they are expensive and allergenic to some. I like raw sunflower seeds’ flavour, nutrient density and price tag. 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.

  • Serves makes 1 cup
  • Cooks in 0
  • Prep time 15mins
  • 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
  • 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.


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  • ½ cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves - peeled
  • 3 cups fresh herbs - basil, parsley, cilantro, chives, dill, arugula*
  • ¼ - ⅓ cup olive oil | citrus juice
  • 1-2 tsp sea salt | dulse
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast - optional
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Herby Pesto with Sunflower Seeds


FOOD PROCESSOR – add garlic + sunflower seeds, and blitz for 10 seconds until the mix resembles breadcrumb.


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


PROCESS adding a dash of 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, and chips. Stir through pasta. Use in salad dressings,


STORE in a narrow top mason jar in the fridge = reduce surface area & 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.


SWAP SEEDS use a combo of sunflower seeds, pumpkin pepita seeds, hemp seeds. Use nuts traditionally pinenuts, cashews, almonds and walnuts 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 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. Once defrosted, it’s better to stir through warm grains, pasta, or soup than use as a fresh dip.

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