Sunflower seed sour cream is a nut-free, plant-based sour cream recipe. It's a lower cost and more environmentally friendly alternative to traditional vegan recipes that rely on cashews.
making the switch
Sunflower seeds used to sit in the dark recesses of my pantry, waiting for a nut-seed blend to top tostadas or to make tofu ricotta. But these nutritious little gems are incredibly versatile, and they deserve a bit more credit and application.
Why? Because when it comes to sunflower seeds have some noteworthy positive attributes.
1. Environmental – Sunflower seeds do not require as much water as many nuts (including cashews). Because they are ubiquitous, they tend to have lower transportation costs.
2. Cost – The ease at which sunflowers and their seeds are grown throughout the world results in lower costs. You only need to go to the supermarket or health food store to realize this. Raw sunflower seeds, unshelled, are cheaper than cashews.
3. Allergies – Allergies are less common for seeds than nuts.
4. Nutrition – Like other nuts and seeds, those of the sunflower are nutritionally power-packed. They are brimming with vitamin E and are substantive sources of vitamins B and K, as well as iron, magnesium, omega fatty acids, selenium, calcium, and folic acid.
Comparing the overall fat content of sunflower seeds with cashews, you might be alarmed that it is slightly higher. I know I was.
Take a closer look. Sunflower seeds are comparatively lower in saturated fat than cashews. They are higher in polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats. That’s great news for our hearts. Foods with high ratios of polyunsaturated fats compared to saturated are considered to be most heart-healthy when eaten in moderation.
5. Flavor – Sunflower seeds are less sweet than cashews which may (or may) not be desirable. This is something to consider when making Bechamel or other sauces.
Sunflower seeds – For best results, use raw sunflower seeds. It’s possible to use roasted, although the nutty flavor will be more pronounced. Adjust the lemon juice and apple cider vinegar accordingly.
Lemon juice – You’ll want to have 2-3 lemons on hand or prepared lemon juice. I ended up using 7 tablespoons.
Apple cider vinegar – I used slightly less vinegar, 5 tablespoons. You may end up adjusting, so be sure you have enough on hand to get the flavor you want.
Salt – You need just a pinch of salt to balance the acids you are adding.
prepping the seeds
Sunflower seeds are harder than cashews. This may not be a problem if you have a powerful blender. However, I tested this recipe using a standard speed blender. And I learned a few things along the way.
For the smoothest blend in any blender, grind the seeds into a fine powder. Hands down, this worked better for me than soaking. After soaking overnight and in boiling water, I ended up with a gritty texture after blending. This may not be the case for you, depending on your blender.
If you have a powerful blender and don’t want the extra minutes of grinding the seeds, soak them the first time. There are two ways to approach this.
First, do an overnight soak by covering the seeds with at least twice the water (2 cups). Alternatively, you can cover them with boiling water and soak them for 30 minutes.
Again, this all depends on your blender. I use a standard type because I like the assurance that what I make will work for everyone.
If you've made vegan cashew sour cream, note that it takes more lemon juice and apple cider vinegar when using sunflower seeds.
- Start by adding 4 tablespoons of lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, and ¼ of a teaspoon of salt along with the sunflower seeds.
- Process this with 2 tablespoons of water to get started. It’s going to be thick so add another 2 tablespoons of water.
- Even if the texture or consistency is where you ultimately want it, pause to taste. Then start adding more lemon juice, vinegar, and water.
- Keep processing, pausing, tasting, and adjusting until you get the flavor and consistency that suits you.
A blender is the best device for making sour cream based on its design. It will compress the ingredients more than a food processor unless you have one with a smaller bowl. It is also possible to use an immersion blender.
Sunflower seed sour cream will keep in the refrigerator for at least 5 days. Store it in a tightly sealed container.
Raw sunflower seeds have a mild, slightly nutty flavor. Roasting the seeds enhances their flavor and firms their texture. Some roasted seeds will also contain added oil and salt.
The best substitute for apple cider vinegar is either rice vinegar or white wine vinegar. Champaign vinegar or another low-sugar white vinegar can also be used in a pinch.
how to use plant-based sour cream
Use plant-based sour cream as you would any plant-based or non-plant-based sour cream. Dollop it on tacos, chili, or use it as the foundation for dips, dressings, and sauces. You can use ground sunflower seeds to replace recipes that use cashews; however, you may need to double the acids such as citrus juice or vinegar.
ideas for using ground sunflower seeds
sunflower seed sour cream
Sunflower seed sour cream is a nut-free, plant-based sour cream recipe that is lower in cost and a more environmentally friendly alternative to vegan cashew cream.
- Prep Time: 20 min
- Cook Time: 0 min
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 12 1x
- Category: ingredients
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegan
- 1 cup of raw sunflower seeds, ground
- 7 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 5 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ¼ - ½ cup water
- Use a spice grinder or clean coffee grinder to break the sunflower seeds into a fine powder. If you have a high-speed blender, you can skip grinding the seeds by soaking them overnight or in boiling water for at least 30 minutes.
- Place the sunflower seeds, 4 Tbsp. of lemon juice, 3 Tbsp. of apple cider vinegar, ¼ tsp. of salt, and 2 Tbsp. of water into the blender.
- Blend the ingredients. Then taste and start adjusting the amounts of lemon juice, vinegar, and water by a tablespoon each. Continue blending, tasting, and adding ingredients until you have a smooth sour cream with a taste that suits your palate.
- Use this sour cream in the same way you would for any plant-based or non-plant-based sour cream.
- Makes 1 ½ cups. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- The nutritional information is based on 2 tablespoons of sour cream.
- The time required to blend the sour cream smooth and the texture varies. It depends on the power of your blender.
- Sunflower seeds have a more pronounced nutty flavor compared to cashews. Therefore, it takes more lemon juice and vinegar to adjust the flavors to replicate sour cream. If you use ground sunflower seeds to replace cashews in recipes, be aware that you may need to add more citrus juice, vinegar, and other flavors. Follow the practice of blending, tasting, and adjusting.
- If you need a substitute for apple cider vinegar, consider rice vinegar or white wine vinegar.
Keywords: sunflower seed sour cream
hi! can you explain how i should blend my soaked seeds in a 750W food processor such that it doesn't remain gritty? i've tried with my food processor and it turns out gritty like you mentioned above.. i soaked my seeds overnight before grinding.
Hi Cheryl, I feel your pain about gritty sunflower seeds. What's works best for me is to grind unsoaked (dry) sunflower seeds in a spice or coffee grinder. Really pulverize them. Then, make the sour cream. I usually suggest a blender over a food processor because I find the design is a better fit; however if you are grinding the seeds, you may be able to use a food processor. If you have a food processor, go for that. Let me know if you have any further questions. My best to you 🙂
Made this last night and it came out great! Really simple to make and so tasty. I've a whole load of ideas where I can liven up quick lunches and the like with this (4 years now 'sober' as a recovering dairy-addict and always looking for options).
Woohoo!Thanks so much for your kind comments - we love this sour cream too. Makes great salad dressings too. 🙂