This mint sunflower seed pesto is the result of a lot of pondering. I have had the goal of developing a pesto for a while, but I wanted it to be different but doable with easy-to-find ingredients (so no to a ramp-based pesto…). By this point in the summer, however, after seeing so many amazing pesto recipes on social media, it is really really hard to come up with an iteration that is not duplicative.
I recently started playing around with mint and sunflower seeds, however, and came up with this formulation. Though this mint sunflower seed pesto is still very much savory, the hint of mint gives it a cool twist. I used applemint, which is a softer flavored mint, so if you use a stronger one like spearmint, add a few leaves to the blender at a time and taste test. I use sunflower seeds because, being from a family packed with nut-allergic people (thankfully, I was spared that gene!) who are constantly avoiding pesto dishes though they love the taste, I wanted this recipe to be accessible to them.
The best thing about making a pesto? You can scoop it into an ice tray, freeze it into cubes, and use the cubes in the winter to switch up your veggie and protein seasonings. Will be so thankful for the option when I have OD’d on curries and tomato sauce!
Ingredients (makes about 1½ cups):
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds
- 1 cup arugula (tightly packed)
- 2 cups fresh basil (tightly packed)
- ¼ cup mint leaves (tightly packed)
- 3 tbsp Kasandrino’s organic extra virgin olive oil (use discount code SLICEOFPAI for 10% off)
- Juice from half a medium-sized lemon
- 2 cloves garlic (diced)
- 1 tsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- ⅓ cup water
- Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender and pulse until they are thoroughly combined and the pesto is a sauce-like texture.