Sunflower Seed Pesto | Mostly Homemade Mom

Sunflower Seed Pesto

August 12, 2012

A few years ago, a time period I like to refer to as "the Hamburger Helper days," the only time I would eat pesto was at Panera on one of their delish sandwiches. I knew it was good. So good that I thought pesto must have a million ingredients to make it taste like that. Who knew it was basil, olive oil, garlic, parm, and pine nuts? 4 out of 5 of those I have on hand at all times. Though, I don't know about you, we can't afford pine nuts. With the cost of the pine nuts it's cheaper to just buy the stuff in the jar. And believe me when I say the stuff in the jar DOES NOT compare to the homemade stuff.

That's when the fabulous Melanie of Melanie in the Middle (formerly the Coupon Goddess) posted her BRILLIANT idea of using sunflower seeds in place of the pine nuts. Her family was fooled and you know what? It was the best darn pesto I've ever had!

Sunflower Seed Pesto
from Melanie in the Middle

4-6 cloves garlic (we LOVE garlic around here, dial this back if it's too much for you though)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup basil, packed down
olive oil

In your food processor, dump everything except olive oil.

Make sure you pick the leaves off the basil, the stems don't taste very well. Don't ask me how I know this. :) Pulse your food processor to get everything chopped down and mixed.

Drizzle some olive oil in there and pulse again. Keep adding olive oil until you get the consistency you want.

Ok so now you have delish homemade pesto that didn't cost you an arm and a leg. What are you going to do with it?! Here are two Mostly Homemade Mom pesto recipes...

Ranch Pesto Rigatoni Bake

Crockpot Portabella Mushroom Sandwiches

Pesto Hoagie Melts

This honestly took 5 minutes to put together and it tastes better than takeout. Plus, you know exactly what your kids are eating.

Have any great ideas for pesto?

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10 comments on "Sunflower Seed Pesto"
  1. Hmmmm intersting...great swap out!

  2. I'm a "pesto-freak" and I can actually eat it with a teaspoon.
    Thanks so much for sharing his unique recipe :)

  3. What a great idea for pesto! Sunflower seeds are much more affordable than pine nuts, and it looks just as tasty!

    Stopping by from Must Try Monday (#25 Beef Burgers with Bacon and Red Onion)

    Amber @ The Cook's Sister

  4. I never knew pesto was so easy, either, until about a year ago. Yours looks great! Especially on the pizza thanks for sharing at Must Try Monday!

  5. i sometimes use walnuts instead of pine nuts and it too tastes nice...but will deff try the sunflower seed...thanks

  6. Kelly, I was laughing out loud at "the hamburger helper days"! Nothing wrong with a little hamburger helper once in a while though, lol! We were raised on it weren't we?

  7. We love pesto! I have a huge basil plant that I'm constantly having to "thin out" pesto is made A LOT! Love substituting the sunflower seeds...that's awesome. I have a friend who makes hers with walnuts. Thanks so much for sharing with Mop It Up Mondays! I'm featuring this recipe tomorrow night at the party!


    1. I definitely need to add basil to my list of things to grow next year. I'm constantly buying it! Thanks so much for featuring me, Kristi. I'm so thrilled!!


  8. Thank you so much for linking up last week at Recipe Sharing Monday. The new link party is now up and I'd love it if you joined us again. Have a great week!

  9. I can't believe I've never thought of that! We can't afford pine nuts either. I have used walnuts- but they are expensive too. I buy organic sunflower seeds in bulk through our food coop. Will be making soon!!