Monday, 1 August 2011

Sunflower seed pate

I'm in love with the fact that food, like music can induce so many memories. Sunflower seed pate reminds me of the first few years I lived in Byron Bay. Even though it was the early 90's, it felt like the 60's -70's. With barefoot 'rainbow hippies' floating

 about the place, the 'new age' around here was still tinged with the flower power era. Sunflower seed pate reminds me of something you'd find on top of a picnic rug with love children scraping their carrot sticks across a ceramic bowl full of sunflower seed pate, saying “wow, this pate is groovy”. I always wanted to be a real hippy from the 60's.

I remember eating the sunflower seed pate when I first came here to Byron Bay and it was earthy and delicious. It seemed to be around the health food shop sporadically even then. But you rarely see it these days. I had a flash back to it and thought I'd try to make my version of it on a retreat I was catering for a couple of week ago.

Sunflower seeds are so good for you. Being high in Vitamin E, it helps to reduce the worse asthma, colon cancer, cardiovascular diseases and rheumatoid arthritis. Just ¼ of a cup is enough to supply almost 90% of daily requirement. It's great for reducing cholesterol levels and increases your serotonin, helping to prevent anxiety and depression.

They are a fine source of the B complex vitamins and a great source of protein, just 100gms of seeds gives you 37% of the daily recommended values. It is an antioxidant as well as being high in iron, calcium, manganese, zinc, magnesium, selenium and copper.

Just a handful a day and you get all this! That's why this pate is so fabulous – it taste so good and it's a wonderful way to 'feed' your body with nature's goodness.

The pate

2 cups sunflower seeds
1 cup brazil nuts
1 dsp savory yeast flakes (the flaky yellow yeast)
½ cup lemon juice (approx 1 juicy lemon)
½ cup olive oil
1 tsp good salt
2 dsp mixed dried herbs
3 dsp tamari
2 dsp apple cider vinegar (a raw one if possible)
1 small sprig of rosemary, thyme and oregano, if you have access to it.

Blend the brazil nuts into a fine meal in your food processor and put aside in a bowl. Then grind the sunflower seeds to a fine meal also. Add the rest of the ingredients including the brazil nuts and blend until it forms a smooth but thick paste. Be sure to scrap down the side as often as you need to and be careful not to stress your food processor. It's such a thick, earthy paste.

Once all the ingredients are blended together, stop the machine and give it a rest. Spoon out the pate onto a platter and form into a flat square shape or whatever shape takes your fancy. You can use your hands at first to get the basic shape right, then use the flat edge of a knife or spatula to smooth it off.

Garnish with sprigs of herbs, a drizzle of oil and black sesame seeds or cracked pepper.

Serve it with your favorite crackers, crudites or crusty bread. Something simple in flavor works best as it's such a full, rich flavor.


  1. Sarah Armstrong2 August 2011 at 02:50

    I missed this the first (and second) time around - but look forward to a little groovy flashback soon. Looks delicious!

  2. Hi Sarah, have you made the sunflower pate yet? It's really a wonderful rich and full flavored dish. So good with fresh crudite...