Filed Under: cook, italian, main-dish, Pasta, Under 20 Mins

Sunflower Seed Pesto Pasta

Toasted sunflower seeds replace pine nuts and produce a similar flavour but with a little more crunch (and a lot less cost). This pesto would be equally delicious served on grilled vegetables, as a spread for sandwiches or used in vinaigrettes or dressings

April 8th, 2012

Recipe by Paula Bowman

Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
  • ¾ pounds rotini pasta
  • ½ cup toasted, unsalted sunflower seeds, shelled
  • ⅓ cup finely grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
  • 1½ cups basil leaves, about 1 bunch
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped store-bought rotisserie chicken, or similar (kept warm)
  1. Set a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente and drain, reserving ¼ cup pasta water.

  2. Meanwhile, combine sunflower seeds and next 4 ingredients in the small bowl of a food processor or blender and pulse until it resembles coarse meal. Slowly add olive oil with motor running and process until well blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss cooked pasta and chicken with pesto and thin with reserved water, as needed. Serve with extra Parmesan cheese for garnish.

Nutrients Per Serving

760 calories, 33 g fat, 50 g protein, 68 g carbohydrates, 493 mg sodium. Excellent source of vitamin E, thiamin (B1), ribovlavin (B2), niacin (B3), vitamin B6, folate, magnesium, iron and zinc. Good source of vitamin B12.

Sunflower Seed Pesto Pasta
Photography by Carlo Mendoza

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