With my eldest starting school next year and most schools being either nut free or nut aware, I've been wanting to come up with nutritious, quick and healthy recipes that are also nut free. We love nut butters in our house because they are high in protein, good fats and minerals so I decided to experiment with sunflower seed butter to see if it would be a good replacement, and it is!
Activating the seeds is an extra step, but it's definitely worth it for improving digestibility and nutrition (you can read about why we activate seeds, among other things here). Sunflower seeds are particularly high in zinc (around 5 mg per 100 g) as well as vitamin E and B vitamins among others. Zinc is especially important for growing bodies and brain development so its a nutrient I make sure my kids are getting each and every day. Soaking sunflower seeds in water with a little apple cider vinegar helps to break down anti-nutrients that reduce the absorption of minerals such as zinc. It is an extra step in the recipe, so definitely not 100% important if you don't have time.
I love the taste of sunflower seeds, especially roasted ones, so was very happy with the flavour, however, it definitely doesn't taste EXACTLY like other nut butters. My two year old absolutely loved it, however my 4 year old isn't quite sold yet! Organic sunflower seeds are exceptionally cheaper than most nuts and we grown sunflower seeds in Australia, so sunflower seed butter is definitely a great addition to your pantry for cooking and baking to replace some of those more expensive butters.
Makes approx 300 gram jar of sunflower seed butter
- 4 cups sunflower seeds/kernals
- 2 tbs apple cider vinegar
- Place the sunflower seeds in a large bowl, add the apple cider vinegar and cover with water (filtered is best). Leave to soak for 4-6 hours (overnight is fine too).
- When you are ready to make the butter, preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Line two baking trays with baking paper or silicone baking mats.
- Strain the sunflower seeds, running fresh through to wash off any residue. Shake out any excess water and spread the seeds evenly on the baking trays.
- Place in the oven and bake until seeds are golden brown, 20-30 minutes. You will need to mix the seeds at the 10 minute mark to ensure evenness of the baking, then again every 5-10 minutes until all the seeds are golden. They may clump together in the beginning as they are quite wet, just do your best to mix and un-clump them. Ensure that all the seeds are at least dry if not completely toasted as this can affect the butter.
- Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then place in a food processor/blender/thermomix and process on high speed for 2-4 minutes. The seeds will go from full seeds, to powder then eventually the oils will be released and your sunflower seed butter is made! Stop and scrap down the sides of the bowl/blender/processor to ensure all the seeds have been processed. Continue to blend until you get a consistency you like, I found to get it really smooth it was around 4 minutes.
- Store in a clean and airtight container. It will last 2-3 months. Best stored in the fridge in the warmer months.