TunaFlower Spread

Dive into this goodness.

Tuna. Even if other seafood was easy for you to quit, there’s probably at least a 50/50 chance you still have cravings for this lunchbox treat. And in this season of eating things raw, sometimes you just want something filling to toss with your salad.

Yes, chickpeas work okay, but if you ask me the best sub I’ve found so far is the humble sunflower seed. These unassuming little seeds are cheap in bulk and soften up wonderfully in water to make an accommodating purée that the lemon, vinegar, and seaweed can easily possess and consume with that undersea pungency. The tahini and syrup mellow it and make it creamy without mayo and the dill and basil give it savor, while celery and onion provide some crunch and bite. In case you’re curious, they’re also a rich protein source with 9 essential amino acids, and are high in Omega-6 and potassium. Plus while chickpeas can tend to give you bloat, sunflower seeds help reduce it. What’s not to love?

This full batch serves about 6-8 – have a picnic! – or make a half batch. I’m not sure how long it keeps in the fridge because it’s usually gone by day 3, but I’d say at least as long as the real thing.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups raw hulled sunflower seeds, soaked overnight
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 3 T tahini
  • 1 T plum vinegar
  • 1 T maple syrup
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 3 T dulse (seaweed) flakes
  • 1 heaping T dill (can use 3 T fresh & chopped)
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped fine
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped fine
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 dill pickle, chopped fine (optional)
  • handful chopped parsley (optional)

Place the seeds, lemon juice, tahini, vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, and dulse in the blender or food processor with about 1/2 cup water and pulse to combine well and break up the seeds. Add water as needed by the tablespoon to create a consistency akin to tuna salad. Add to a large bowl with the dill, basil, celery, and onion and combine, along with salt and pepper to taste. Fold in the pickle and parsley if desired. Chill until cold for the best taste, and serve with a salad or spread on bread, crackers, wraps… any which way you like to spread ’em.

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