Nutrient powerhouse that's good for baking. Boom.
I love making paleo treat like these layer bars and biscuits. They’re made with almonds, which are touted as a superfood thanks to their vitamins (B2, B7, E) and healthy fat and protein content. But bloody hell almond meal and flour are expensive. So I started looking for alternatives and lo and behold, the humble sunflower seed.
Pros of this little kernel include: high in antioxidants like vitamin E (an amazing antioxidant that fights inflammation in the body) and selenium, which is deficient in NZ soils and we need for thyroid health. They have copper (essential for our blood cells), vitamin B1 (helps regulate metabolism, among other things), B2 and B3 (for converting fats, protein and carbs into energy), magnesium (essential for hundreds of bodily functions) and other beneficial vitamins and minerals that our bodies need on a daily basis to run properly. (I could write about 25 pages more about the benefits of sunflower seeds.)
And they sub beautifully into recipes that call for almond flour. Admittedly I haven’t tried them in everything, such as an orange-almond cake. But for cookies and slices, brilliant. And they’re so easy to use—they don’t need to be toasted first, you simply put them in a food processor and blitz. After a couple minutes you have a flour. A few minutes more (and the addition of a few splashes of light olive oil), you get sunbutter.
I use sunbutter in recipes that call for peanut butter or almond butter. Sunbutter can have a slightly bitter taste and isn’t as sweet as the other nut butters, so if you use it on toast or a rice cake, add a drizzle of honey as well.
Oh, and did I mention the best part? One fourth of the price of ground almonds. Sunny days all around.
Image by Joao Jesus