Thursday, January 21, 2010

raw pizza with sunflower pesto

photo from  

not only do sunflowers cheerfully resemble the sun, they produce a little seed loaded with nutrients to nourish humans and animals alike.

sources say sunflower seeds are an excellent source of vitamin E, fiber, protein (6 grams per ounce) and phytochemicals. they also have a beautiful history....
"Sunflowers are native to both North and South America where indigenous people were first to cultivate them. The natives, following a 4,000-year-old practice, chose the largest seeds from the biggest heads year after year, developing the largest sunflowers that, in turn, produced the largest seeds. Ancient farmers tended their sunflower gardens with bone hoes and antler rakes. To encourage an abundant crop, they created special songs and held ceremonies at the time the seeds were sown.

Buffalo Bird Woman, a Hidatsa Native American farmer born in 1839, carried the ancient tradition forward and sang to her plants. Native Americans form deep spiritual bonds with the earth and are grateful for all it produces. Buffalo Bird Woman said, "We cared for our crops in those days as we would care for a child, for we Indian people loved our garden just as a mother loves her children ..."

(from you can read the rest of the write-up here.)
another glorious aspect of sunflower seeds is the price. i find them to be considerably cheaper than other seeds and nuts used in raw food recipes (less than a quarter of the price). i use a very heavy hand when pouring my sunflower seeds from the bulk bins!

with all its wonderful qualities, i try to use sunflower seeds often in breads (see sunny bread recipe below) and other raw delights. tonight i decided to make a sunflower seed pesto (instead of walnut or pine nut) to top my favorite dinner, raw pizza.

Sunflower Pesto

1/2 C. sunflower seeds, soaked
4 C. lightly packed basil
1/4 C. water
3 Tbsp. olive oil
5 garlic cloves
1/4 tsp salt or shoyu
2 tsp. nutritional yeast
1 tsp. lemon juice

for the last four ingredients, use more or less to taste (note: i like garlic). process all ingredients until smooth.

1 1/4 C. buckwheat, soaked overnight
2/3 C. sunflower seeds, soaked overnight
5 T. ground flax seed
1 C. zucchini, chopped
1/4 C. water
1 T. olive oil
1 tsp. herbs
1 tsp. garlic
1 tsp. sea salt

1. blend all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

2. spread batter about 1/4 " thick on 3 3/4 dehydrator trays covered with teflex sheets. score into 9 squares per tray (or make pizza rounds).

3. dehydrate at 125 for 2-3 hours, then flip onto mesh and turn the temperature down to 110.

4. dehydrate until dry.

the pizza was assembled with cashew cheese, marinated mushrooms and bruschetta, then warmed in the dehydrator for about one hour.

not the most flattering pic, but doesn't that cashew cheese look like mozzarella?!

it seems like every raw pizza i make is tastier than the last. i was literally dancing in my seat while i ate it. so much better than SAD pizza!

photo from

once when i was feeling really down, my bestest friend missy's mother bought me a sunflower to cheer me up. it sure did! i remember that as one of the nicest things anyone has done for me.

i guess the moral of this post is sunflowers are a great way to brighten someone's day...

...and raw pizza is another! =)


  1. If you are a big pizza fan, then I will trust you that this pizza is a good one! I find its hard to get the right flavor.

    I am so over pine nuts! What's with the price? And coming from China? Gimme a break. Never thought of using sunflower seeds, although I've used hemp and pistachio.

    Cute little veggie flower. :-)

  2. I tried to grow them back in Bahrain. I love this "fleur" ;-] and I just needed this to brighten my "today". and your recipes are full of warmth. made with love.XOXOXO.

  3. Love the food pics. So i'm guessing you are still on your cooking kick. :)

  4. thanks ladies =)

    bitt - i didn't know pine nuts were shipped from china (though i'm not surprised). the sunflower seeds made the pesto nice and creamy. mmm, pistachio pesto sounds like something i'd like to try!

    hippiemom - your comments always brighten my day! =) xoxoxo

  5. hey miss! thanks. of course i'm still on my cooking kick. what else would i do? =)

  6. Your pizza looks amazing, kelli! So pretty:) Thanks for the wonderful recipes.

    I like to sub sunflower seeds for nuts in many recipes, too. I agree, sunflowers are so cheery!

  7. hi evergreen! thank you, and it is my pleasure to share! =)

    thank you, debra!

  8. I'm a huge pizza fan and I think the pizza pic is very flattering! Yum! I love how cheesey it looks.

  9. wow, another post about pizza (rawgoddess did one too)! Is this a sign I should be making pizza?! :) I just might!
    Thank you :)

  10. Amazing looking pizza - ure right the cashew cheese totally looks like melted cheese! Mmmm... cute flower too! :)

  11. thank you ladies. it was effin scrumptious. =)

  12. I love this post, and I'm really excited to try both of these recipes. Thanks!

  13. thanks val, and you're welcome! please let me know how you like them!


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