Herby Pesto

with sunflowers seeds

  • Prep Time:
    15 mins

  • Cook Time:

  • Difficulty:

  • Serves:
    makes approx 1 cup

Botanical Benefits*: Different herbs will add different qualities, they all are full of vibrancy, vitamins and minerals, as are the seeds which add fiber and protein; the olive oil is nutrient-rich too.

Diet Style: Plant-based, gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, grain-free, nut-free, clean, wholesome, paleo, Mediterranean.

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 and the fact that some people with nut allergies can eat sunflower seeds.  

In my pesto herb mix I always use parsley and a handful of spinach, kale or arugula to “bring the green.”


  • 2-3 cups of herbs – basil, parsley, cilantro, dill, chives, arugula, sorrel, lovage, bronze fennel, mint, oregano, thyme, marjoram, spinach, kale and rosemary

  • 2 garlic cloves – peeled

  • ½ cup sunflower or raw pumpkin seeds or a combination

  • ½ to 1 cup extra virgin olive oil = evoo

  • 1-2 tsp. sea salt to taste

  • Pepper – 10 grinds or so with your pepper mill

  • Spice it up – 1/2 to 2 tsp. red pepper flakes, Aleppo blend, or cayenne


In a food processor add garlic and sunflower seeds, blitz for 20 secs.

Add herbs. if you are using rosemary it needs to be finely chopped by hand before adding as it doesn’t chop down well in the food processor.

Add 1/4 cup evoo, blitz 30 sec, scrape down and blitz again adding a little more oil until it has a medium chunky paste-like consistency. Pesto is not meant to be super smooth.

Taste and season and taste, spice it up if you like.

Serve with veggie sticks, crackers, chips. Use in salad dressings, pasta dishes and beyond. This pesto tastes great dolloped on just about every simply cooked vegetable or protein. A staple in my fridge.

Store in airtight container in fridge. It freezes quite well too.

see more snack recipes

Recipe Karina Hines.