Make Ahead

My New Roots' Inspirational Sunflower Seed Risotto

January  5, 2016
2 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4
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

What You'll Need
  • 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
  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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Risottogirl
  • Alicia Powell
    Alicia Powell
  • Grammymem
  • Mamazz
  • Michele Wood
    Michele Wood
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

12 Reviews

Risottogirl January 8, 2018
This was just terrible...waste of good sunflower seeds. Definitely NOT a genius recipe. Probably no mad rush to try it either...I was curious. And we always have sunflower seeds. No, just no. Dreadful.
Kristen M. January 8, 2018
Risottogirl, I'm sorry it wasn't to your taste (see my comments below if you'd want to know how to adjust). But I have to ask: did you make it again since the last time you called it dreadful 2 years ago, or is this a delayed comment on that first experience?
Liz April 26, 2017
What kind of onion is best?
Kristen M. January 8, 2018
Liz, I'm sorry I missed your question—I've typically used plain yellow onions, but really any type of onion will work here, from yellow to red to shallots or even scallions.
Alicia P. January 30, 2016
I strongly recommend avoiding this recipe as written. It was looking & tasting terribly bland, so I added ras el hanout spice, some orange zest & roasted vegetables.
Kristen M. January 31, 2016
I'm sorry to hear you didn't like this. Salting to taste is really important, and between that and the sauteed onion and garlic, I find the sunflower seeds to be plenty flavorful, though not especially inspiring if served all on their own. But that's why the recipe also calls for bright vegetables, lemon, olive oil, and flaky salt to garnish, which I find rounds it out to a very comforting whole meal—I've clarified the ingredients list to be more clear about the garnishes listed in the last step. Your additions sound great, too.
Grammymem January 10, 2016
I do wish you would include nutrition info in all your recipes.
Mamazz January 10, 2016
sounds interesting/good, but aren't sunflower seeds like 800 calories/cup?
Kristen M. January 10, 2016
You don't need much to feel full and satisfied—it's very nourishing.
Michele W. January 10, 2016
Nutrition Information????
MarZig January 6, 2016
This is the second feature/article I have seen with this oil bottle in the picture, where do I get one :)
Lindsay-Jean H. January 9, 2016
From terrain! You can find it here: