Nuts and seeds such as sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds, are essential components in the vegan diet, as they are loaded with minerals, vitamins, proteins and beneficial fats.
By using nuts and seeds as the main ingredient in recipes such as non dairy cheeses, we can enjoy both their nutritional benefits and their strong and deep taste and flavor which is combined perfectly with savory dishes.
Especially sunflower seeds are widely used by vegetarians and vegans not only for their great nutritional value but also for their comparatively low price. However the basic problem I had to deal with when I wanted to prepare a raw cheese or even a raw dessert using sunflower seeds was that, after they were soaked in water for a couple of hours and then mixed with the ingredients of the raw recipe, they always developed a bitter, unpleasant taste especially the next day. In contrast, when I use them in recipes where they are cooked -for example I often replace cashews in my fennel tart with equal amount of sunflower seeds soaked for 2-3 hours- the bitter taste does not develop. So the secret is in the heat!
Thus, when I prepare a sunflower seed cheese, I pour plenty of boiling water over my seeds and I let them soak for at least one hour. Alternatively we can boil them for 15 minutes, but this way we will lose a lot of their nutritional value. Of course if we want to keep our recipe 100% raw, we can simply soak the seeds in cold water for 2-3 hours and continue with the remaining steps.
From this recipe you will get 1 cup of nutty and tasty cream cheese.
- 1 cup shelled sunflower seeds
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp Cayenne pepper
- 2 tbs lemon juice
- 2 tbs apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup water
- 4-5 pieces of sun-dried tomato in olive oil (for extra umami !!!)
- 2 tbs olive oil (preferably from the sun-dried tomatoes)
- 1 tsp salt
- pinch of pepper
- Put sunflower seeds in a large glass or metal bowl and cover with plenty of boiling water. Leave for at least one hour to absorb moisture and soften.
- Drain sunflower seeds and pour in the blender with the rest of the ingredients. Blend at medium speed for 5 minutes, or until a smooth cream is formed.
- Taste and if necessary, add salt or apple cider vinegar.
- Transfer to an airtight glass container and keep in the fridge for up to 5-6 days.