Thursday, 9 May 2013

Sunflower Butter and Hummus

Sitting here in my new fluffy PJs with a hot cuppa after a hearty dinner - it must be winter!

On the menu tonight was made-from-scratch Butter Chicken, with Banana 'icecream' for dessert - I will post the recipes for this tomorrow - the night has kind of run away from me!

The school holidays are over, and life is returning to normal routines which has been a great relief in many ways, although it was lovely to spend some extra time with the kids.

With both kids at kindy now, packed lunches are becoming a bit more time consuming in the morning. Add gluten and dairy free for the kids, and nut free for kindy regulations to the mix and there are mornings when I stare blankly into the pantry waiting for inspiration to strike! Today I decided to get back into my routine of making homemade spreads for the kids to have on their toast or rice crackers.

Sunflower butter and hummus were on the menu for today - both tick all the boxes for the kids lunchboxes. Easy to make, tasty to eat, and nutritious - these spreads are a great addition to the arsenal.

Here is a picture of the finished products - terrible presentation, but we had to run out the door to ballet so I didn't have time to do much other than throw them in a container. The sunflower butter is a delicious alternative to any of the nut butters you usually use, and the hummus is a classic. Nice to make them at home and know that there are no nasty preservatives or other additives.

Sunflower butter on the left, hummus on the right 

Here are the recipes:

Sunflower Butter:


2 cups raw unsalted sunflower seeds
2 tbsp oil (I used coconut oil, but you could also use olive oil)
a couple of pinches of salt if you like some seasoning - not necessary if you prefer not to add salt to your food.

1. Preheat oven to 180C. Spread sunflower seeds onto an oven tray and bake for around 10-15 minutes until golden roasted. Keep and eye on the seeds, and you may need to mix the, around a couple of times as the ones at the edges may cook sooner than the ones in the middle. This step is not 100% crucial, however the nut butter will taste far better with roasted seeds than raw ones - it gives the butter a nice toasty flavour. Allow the seeds to cool for a few minutes before moving on to the next step.
2. Place the seeds in the bowl of a food processor (I used a high powered blender to speed the process up, but it does work in a standard food processor) and process. The mixture will turn become flour like in consistency and will then start to clump together as the oils are released. At this point, add the oil and salt and continue to process until the mixture turns creamy and smooth and moves easily in the bowl. This process will take a few minutes so be patient. If it does not start to come together it is ok to add another tbsp or 2 of oil to add a little more liquid. Blend for a couple more minutes until the mixture is really creamy. 
3. Enjoy! The kids and I were enjoying it straight off the spoon while it was still warm after blending, but usually we eat it on toast, or rice crackers or on slices of pear or apple. 

Speaking of eating it on slices of apple, our current favourite for snack time if Apple Donuts! Sounds complicated and unhealthy, but it's really super simple. Take an apple, get the core out (while leaving the apple whole, so either a de-coring tool, or a thin sharp knife will be needed) and the cut across the apple in thick slices. This leaves you with an apple slice with a hole in the middle. Either eat as is, or spread with a little nut butter or sunflower butter for a delicious, nutritious snack. I will take a photo next time I make them in case those instructions are confusing!


This recipe is adapted from The Real Food Chef by Dr Libby Weaver - there are so many hummus recipes out there though, and no matter which recipe you follow the final product really just comes down to your own personal tastes. Keep tasting as you go and play with the quantities of the ingredients until you find a balance of flavours that works for you.


1 cup (I just use one standard can) of chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1.5 tsps ground cumin
2 teaspoons tahini
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (you could use rice bran oil if you don't like the taste of olive oil)
Juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste


1. Combine chickpeas, garlic, cumin and tahini in a food processor or blend. Pulse until well combined. 
2. Slowly pour the oil into the food processor while keeping it running on low (or do as I do today when you are short of time and using a stick blender attachment like I was, you can just dump it all in - it still works!). Blend until the oil is well incorporated then add the lemon juice and give a quick pulse to combine. 
3. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

As I said above, if this combination of ingredients isn't to your liking, feel free to play around with it. Prefer your hummus a little more sour? Add more lemon. Like a bigger garlic hit? Throw in a couple of extra cloves. Experiment with different flavours too - maybe try adding some cooked beetroot or carrots to create something a bit different. Great way to sneak in some extra veges for the kids as well!