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It's Golden: Sunflower Seed
Fall isn't just for the pumpkin spice lovers and all-you-can-eat baked goods (though, there are days I wish it was!), so I try to balance the diet with some healthy meals during the week in order to allow for some weekend fun. And, these healthier recipes are super fun, too! I had a blast using my sunflower seed tahini to make a delicious sunshine-adjacent hummus that served as the foundation for a great meal - this sunflower seed hummus bowl. 🌞
Sunflower Seed Tahini
What I particularly love about this hummus is the fact the tahini is made from sunflower seeds as opposed to traditional sesame seeds. The use of sunflower seeds was ideal for a few reasons: (1) they are easier to buy in bulk in my area than sesame seeds, (2) I love munching on leftover sunflower seeds as a snack, and (3) the flavor of the tahini lends a subtle - almost sweet - flavor to hummus. Pair it with some lemon juice, fresh olive oil, and garlic for an utterly delicious flavor.
To make the tahini...
I used 1 cup of raw, shelled sunflower seeds, 3 ½ tablespoon neutral-flavored extra virgin olive oil, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt (to ensure even distribution). All you need to do is blend in the food processor until thick, or reaches the desired consistency. Keep a little extra olive oil on hand in case you want to add more to thin the tahini a bit. Store in an airtight container and use as a dip for veggies or add it to hummus like we did. (You won't be sorry).
Reserve the aquafaba from the chickpeas to really max out on your money and ingredients. Why? When making the hummus, you can thin it to reach the desired consistency either using the reserved aquafaba, olive oil, lemon juice, or a hint of water. I prefer to use the aquafaba or olive oil to maintain a certain level of richness, but if you need just a *little* liquid, water is neutral and won't create an imbalance.
Chickpeas: Don't forget to reserve the aquafaba for later use! See the above pro tips for more.
Pita bread of your choice: Whole wheat is great, but you are welcome to pick the variety that works best for you.
Lemon juice: If you can use fresh lemon juice, that really does make a difference. One lemon typically yields 3 - 5 tablespoons lemon juice. Find more equivalencies with this article from Cooking Light.
Garlic: Again, fresh is best. When using the food processor, I don't bother mincing them first.
EVOO: If you have grapeseed oil on hand, I would suggest trying it. Otherwise, a good neutral-flavored olive oil is best.
Cauliflower + zucchini: Use whichever veggies you like, but cauliflower and zucchini make an awesome pairing.
Salt: I use kosher salt in the hummus to make sure it is thoroughly combined. When roasting the cauliflower and zucchini - and topping the final hummus bowls - I like to use coarse sea salt.
Freshly-ground black pepper: Use this on the cauliflower and zucchini.
Alfalfa sprouts: I love the extra fiber and texture these add.
Sundried tomatoes: Bonus points if you make them yourself, but you can TOTALLY use store bought.
Extra sunflower seeds: For a little crunch!
Tips for the best hummus bowls
- Taste the hummus as you make it - since this is the main ingredient for the hummus bowls. Feel free to add another garlic clove, or any other aromatic that will make you happy.
- Warm the pita bread and the veggies if you don't cook them when you're ready to serve. The contrast with the cold hummus is yummy.
- Though tempting, don't overdue the olive oil with the cauliflower and zucchini before roasting. A few tablespoons is plenty, even if it doesn't seem like it before roasting.
- I would suggest chopping the sundried tomatoes to avoid them getting stringy.
- Eat by scooping the ingredients onto the pita bread, or use a fork to scoop the veggies in the hummus.
How to turn this into a hummus dinner bowl
For me, this just means adding quality ingredients that are filling enough for dinner. I understand many nutritionists stand by the idea that dinner should actually be one of the smaller meals of the day (and I'm not a nutritionist!), but I still gravitate towards larger portions in the evening. At least, that's compared to my other portion sizes throughout the day. Though I was first introduced to hummus as a snack or appetizer, including roasted veggies or protein rounds out the combination of hummus and pita bread making this seriously filling.
Sunflower Seed Hummus Bowl
Sunflower Seed Hummus
- 1 15.5 ounce can chickpeas rinsed and drained (don't forget to reserve the aquafaba in case you need to thin the hummus, or use for another recipe!)
- 4 medium cloves garlic
- 2 ½ tablespoons sunflower seed tahini
- ⅛ cup EVOO extra virgin olive oil, for hummus
- 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Sunflower Seed Hummus Bowl
- 1 head cauliflower chopped into small florets
- 1 large zucchini sliced and quartered
- 4 pita bread slices quartered
- 2 tablespoons EVOO extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle over dish
- 2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese optional
- 1 tablespoon alfalfa sprouts optional
- 1 tablespoon sundried tomatoes chopped, optional
- 2 teaspoons sunflower seeds for garnish
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- pinch freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 375ºF.
- In a medium bowl, stir cauliflower florets and zucchini with 2 tablespoon EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) and freshly-ground black pepper. Spread evenly on non-stick baking sheet and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Roast in oven for about 30 minutes, or until the edges turn brown and the veggies are tender.
- While the veggies are roasting, prepare the hummus. In a food processor, combine chickpeas, EVOO, salt, lemon juice, and cloves of garlic. Once you reach the desired consistency, add the sunflower seed tahini and mix until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Divide the hummus between two plates and add pita bread pieces. Top with roasted veggies, alfalfa sprouts, sundried tomatoes, sunflower seeds, and feta cheese. Drizzle with just a hint of olive oil. Enjoy!
What veggie combo would you pick to top your own hummus bowl? I'd love some inspo! I'm thinking about trying this with some roasted garlic Parmesan edamame next. Just a thought. 😉 Until next time, friends, I hope you enjoy and cheers to your hearth, health, and happiness!