Basil and Sunflower Seed Pesto


pesto with basil and sunflower seedsThis basil pesto is a simple, easy combo of delicious ingredients that allows you to throw together a meal in less than 15 minutes.

Full of flavour and bursting with Summer goodness from the sweet basil leaves, it ranks as one of my ultimate comfort foods.  Truth be told, I have been known to eat it directly from the jar!

Fresh pesto is incredibly different in an oh wow lick-your-lips way from its inferior cousin that you pick up off a supermarket shelf. If the only pesto you have ever tried is from a prepackaged jar, your taste buds are about to be turned upside down. Why? Because it is deliciously addictive!basil-and-sunflower-seed-pesto-1

Think of pesto as the all-around nice guy in your kitchen, as it goes with just about everything.  Well, that is everything savoury unless you have a sweet pesto recipe to share with me! It is a favourite paired with roasted Mediterranean vegetables, tossed through pasta or spiralized veggie noodles, swirled onto pizzas, or as an accompaniment to grilled meats. At a yoga retreat recently this recipe featured as a yummy dressing for Mason jar salads, with everyone selecting from over 20 different ingredients to construct their very own jars. It was this basil sunflower pesto that had people going back for seconds and eagerly asking for the recipe to be shared!

pesto basil sunflower seed

Just in case you’re curious, basil ranks amongst herbs and spices as the highest provider of zanthophylls. This is a nutritionally important plant compound that scientific research has associated with lowered risk of various cancers and eye diseases. With nutritional cred of increasing DNA repair, strengthening the immune system and also reducing inflammation, this is remaining on my favourite happy food list for a long time. How about you?

Basil and Sunflower Seed Pesto


50g parmesan cheese, grated
1 garlic clove, peeled and halved
150g (1 cup) sunflower seeds
1 packed cup basil leaves
1 packed cup parsley leaves
generous pinch Himalayan pink rock salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon/big squeeze lemon juice
70g-100g Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) to taste

Thermomix Method
  • First grate parmesan cheese cubes 10 sec/speed 9.
  • Place all ingredients except for the EVOO into Thermomix bowl and blend 7 sec/speed 7.
  • With blades rotating speed 3, very slowly pour EVOO through MC hole in lid until a smooth pesto paste has formed.
  • Serve immediately, or if storing place pesto into glass jar and pour a thin layer of EVOO over the top to retain the pesto’s vibrant colour.
Food Processor or Blender Method
  • Place garlic, sunflower seeds, basil and parsley leaves into processor bowl and blend until leaves are finely chopped.
  • Add all remaining ingredients except for EVOO.
  • With blades rotating, very slowly pour in EVOO until a smooth pesto paste has formed.
  • Serve immediately, or if storing place into glass jar and pour a thin layer of EVOO over the top to retain the pesto’s vibrant colour.

Comments 4

  1. Thanks Mel I love pesto and will definitely enjoy making this recipe .x maree

    1. Post

      I agree Maree I’m a huge fan of pesto too, and it’s so easy to make healthy as well as delicious! Let me know how you go ?

  2. Conveying my sincere thanks for an enjoyable Friday 27.10.17 evening with Mel who shared her home, warmth, infectious inspiration, vast knowledge and remarkable recipes, incorporating a Christmas theme. Your attention to detail and meticulous presentation is to be applauded. The experience exceeded all my expectations. I am still savouring the healthy delicious food tastings and I am inspired to cook and share the recipes with family and friends. Thank you, Mel, for your very thoughtful gift at the end of the class. Best wishes for continued success. Jacqueline C.

    1. Post

      Thanks so much Jacqueline, it was such a pleasure to meet you and so fabulous to hear how much you loved the class!

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