Another gorgeous herb pesto, this is similar to my Pumpkin Seed & Herb Pesto posted a few months ago. You can use a food processor or a blender, this takes just a few minutes. I make the whole recipe and freeze half in ice cube trays, transferring to an air tight container once frozen. When I need something to enhance a dish, be it vegetable spiralized noodles or a big bowl of salads, I just unfreeze a few cubes.
Sunflower seeds are a cheaper substitute to pine nuts, traditionally used for a basil pesto. This is also great for nut allergy sufferers. High in protein, at 21% and healthy fats, they are also rich in vitamins, particularly vitamin E and vitamin B6, and in many minerals including magnesium and iron.
What you do get in abundance with pesto is the healthful benefits of herbs! Basil not only smells utterly divine, but it is an excellent source of vitamins and antioxidants including carotenoids. It is hard to overstate the benefits of one of the worlds most widely used and prized herbs.
UPDATE: I have now changed this recipe to omit oil and use water instead. It is just as nice!
- 3 cups fresh basil
- 1 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup, or more, of water, as needed
- 3/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 6 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- black pepper to taste
- Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and mix until well combined. Don’t overdo it as the heat of the blades will start to cook the basil.
I prefer to have this as fresh as possible, so keeping time for me is 2-3 days. I unfreeze more as I need.