Make Ahead

My New Roots' Inspirational Sunflower Seed Risotto

January  5, 2016
Photo by James Ransom
Author Notes

Sunflower seeds are just like other nuts and seeds that we can soak, then blend into rich, magical dairy-free milks and creams. Plus, we can cook and flavor it just like rice, too. Combine the two for a risotto-like dish that will be a warming supper, a filling make-ahead lunch, and a dinner party conversation starter.

Adapted slightly from Sarah Britton of My New Roots —Genius Recipes

  • Serves 4
  • Risotto
  • 2 1/2 cups shelled, raw, unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or ghee
  • 2 medium onions, finely diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 2 to 3 cups water (or good-tasting vegetable broth)
  • Vegetables and toppings
  • Assorted seasonal vegetables, like carrots, radishes, Romanesco broccoli, plus frozen green peas (or fresh, in season)
  • Handful of watercress per person (stirred in before serving)
  • Good quality olive oil
  • Lemon wedges
  • Flaky sea salt
In This Recipe
  1. Soak sunflower seeds overnight or all day in pure water with 2 tablespoons of sea salt.
  2. Drain and rinse sunflower seeds. Remove about 1 cup / 135g of the soaked seeds and place in a blender with 1 cup / 250ml water. Blend on high until completely smooth. Set aside.
  3. Melt coconut oil in a large stockpot. Add onions and sea salt, stir to coat and cook over medium-high heat until translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes, then add sunflower seeds and about 2 cups of the water. Bring to a simmer and cook covered for 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of your seeds, adding more water as needed. When cooked, the seeds should be al dente: tender with only the slightest crunch still left in them. If there seems to be a lot of liquid left in the pot, let it simmer uncovered for about 5 minutes to evaporate the excess. Add the sunflower cream from the blender and stir to combine, and heat gently. Season to taste. Remove from heat and fold in a few generous handfuls of watercress.
  4. Chop the vegetables into manageably-sized pieces, and blanch in succession in the same pot of salted water till crisp-tender, testing as you go. Do not overcook!
  5. To serve, place about a quarter of the risotto on each plate, then top with the vegetables. Drizzle with olive oil, lemon juice and a sprinkling of flaky sea salt. Top with extra watercress and enjoy warm.

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Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

Genius recipes surprise us and make us rethink cooking tropes. They're handed down by luminaries of the food world and become their legacy. They get us talking and change the way we cook. And, once we've folded them into our repertoires, they make us feel pretty genius too. Watch for new Genius Recipes every Wednesday morning on our blog, dug up by Food52's Creative Director Kristen Miglore.