Savory Sunflower Seed Dressing with Herbs

by Gena on February 7, 2011

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Hello from a post-Super Bowl high :)

A few days ago, when I posted my raw nori cigar snacks, one of my readers commented, “These look amazing! And as a fellow student, I really love recipes that use sunflower seeds instead of other nuts, which tend to be four times as expensive. Thank Gena!”

I agree, Hannah! Sunflower seeds are relatively inexpensive, and it seems that they’re always on sale at my local health food store, too. With that in mind, I decided I’d give you guys another sunflower seed recipe today: savory sunflower dressing with herbs.

As you all know, I’m fanatical about raw dressings. Salad and raw veggies are at the base of any semi-raw diet, and they’re a lot tastier and more fun when they’re slathered in dressings that are delicious. I have so many I love (my soon to be updated recipe tab lists just a few), and they all add different character to my nutrient dense salads, my raw collard wraps, and my veggie dipping plates. They range from the rich (raw caesar) to the light (zucchini dressing). This one is a perfect in-between: the sunflower seeds add creaminess, but it’s not overly thick, and the flavors are light and bright from lemon and fresh herbs. Enjoy it on any salad, or as a tangy and refreshing vegetable dip.

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Savory Sunflower Seed Dressing with Herbs (Raw, Vegan, can be gluten or soy free depending on whether you use nama shoyu or tamari)

Makes 1 1/2 cups

1/2 cup hulled sunflower seeds
1 cup water
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp Bragg’s, nama shoyu, or tamari
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried dill OR basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp agave nectar
1/2 tsp minced garlic

Put all ingredients in a high speed blender, and blend till creamy and smooth.

I think it goes very nicely over broccoli and tomatoes—a little mid-morning snack made from crudité platter leftovers from last night’s party!

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Here’s a portable portion that I’ll be taking to campus for tonight’s dinner (salad with dressing; raw sunshine burger), which takes place in my chem auditorium lecture:

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If you don’t have mini tupperware containers for dressings, I really recommend getting some—or, a more health and environment friendly option is to get mini Ball canning jars. This is one of the first things that I tell my new clients to do: it’ll be so much easier to actually bring salads to work (and bypass subpar cafeteria food) if you have the right equipment—and by that I mean containers for greens and dressing. Sometimes, investing in something as small as a little dressing carrier is all it takes to make a healthy lifestyle stick.

Happy Monday!


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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) February 7, 2011 at 2:59 pm

The dressing looks and sounds fabulous! I love sunflower seeds in anything…from snack bars to sunflower seed butter to dips. In dressing, sounds perfect.

Love that you recommended Tupperware/plastic containers to transport food. I always use them when possible (rather than ziplock baggies) b/c they are more friendly on the environment…and let’s fact it, cheaper. (and Im cheap…I mean frugal :))

I used to try to transport things in glass. Til I had one shatter. All over my diaper bag when Skylar was a baby. So plastic is as far as I take it these days.

Enjoy that chem lecture. Better you than me :)


Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn February 7, 2011 at 3:02 pm

Thank you for this Gena! I’m with Hannah, this is definitely much more student-friendly! Also, I have been following a high-raw diet lately (besides cooked quinoa and beans), so your recipes make that transition so much easier along with Brendan’s recipes from the Thrive Diet!:)


Sarah (Flavoropolis) February 7, 2011 at 3:13 pm

This looks fabulous. It seems to be just the perfect texture. The combo of herbs sounds like a new way to spice up a salad. Dill in anything is fantastic.


Hannah February 7, 2011 at 3:37 pm

I’m not the Hannah mentioned in this post, but I also think this is a fantastic idea. The thing about raw dressings is that they do heighten the flavor of raw veggies. Sometimes I find tons of raw veggies to be too bulky and dry, but a nice slather of dressing makes it all the more fun to eat them!


Christin@purplebirdblog February 7, 2011 at 3:38 pm

Sounds delicious!! I made a sunflower seed pate type dip based on the flavoring profile of Averie’s spicy Dorito dip that I am just in looooove with! I tried to make cigars with it in some nori wraps for lunch today, but I need more practice. I also used chard leaves today for wraps for the first time, but with a cooked filling (leftover coconut milk/tomato rice, kidney beans, and split peas), and needless to say, I need to practice wrapping those more too. The red chard was DELICIOUS though, and I can’t wait to experiment with more raw wraps. Thanks for the inspiration, Gena! :)


Megan @ Healthy Hoggin February 7, 2011 at 3:47 pm

I have the exact same mini-dressing containers! I love them so much!

I’m always on the lookout for new dressing ideas, so I’m looking forward to trying this one!


Eliz@The Sweet Life February 7, 2011 at 4:24 pm

I love the jar!!! Looks delicious, too.


Christine (The Raw Project) February 7, 2011 at 4:29 pm

Agreed on dressings, I adore trying new dressing recipes to make each salad a new adventure and that the Vita-Mix has made that so easy and fun. This dressing looks wonderful, I can’t wait to try it – thanks! I tend to use small, reused glass jars to store and transport homemade dressings.


Melomeals: Vegan for $3.33 a Day February 7, 2011 at 5:05 pm

I love sunflower seeds too.. and you are so right about having the right containers. I like re-using olive jars and other small jars for dressing too.


Heather @ Get Healthy With Heather February 7, 2011 at 5:06 pm

This dressing comes at the perfect time! I need to restock my fridge with some fresh new dressing and i’ve always got sunflower seeds on hand. I love how much more affordable they are than some other seeds.


VeggieGirl February 7, 2011 at 6:01 pm

That is THE cutest jar!


bitt February 7, 2011 at 6:20 pm

Thanks for get another yummy sounding dressing!

I use small tiffins for dressing transport rather than glass that is heavy and can break (as someone mentioned). Here’s a link:


Catherine February 8, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Awesome website – thanks for sharing.


Victoria February 7, 2011 at 6:53 pm

This looks great. I can’t wait to make it and eat it with my peppers or on a salad.


Ela February 7, 2011 at 6:55 pm

Great that you’re sharing all these pack-friendly options: as students, we get to think that out, but lots of non-students could really benefit from doing this too. I love that you recommend the mason jars as well: they are my go-to for sure. I guess stainless steel is even better because of the breakability though…


Laura Neff February 7, 2011 at 7:54 pm

This was *such* perfect timing! You’re my go-to woman for lots of recipe, and definitely dressings. I popped onto your site this evening, and ta da! I have tons of sunflower seeds, and this was awesome! Thank you, Gena!


Cassandra February 7, 2011 at 8:56 pm

I always need new dressing ideas! Thanks for this. I wanted to mention the best option I found for transporting food — tiffins from To-Go Ware ( I have the two-tiered version, which comes with a little dressing container. Stainless steel, easy to clean (doesn’t hold flavors/odors like plastic), portable, lightweight. I like to put a ton of salad in the big bottom part and then spreads, seeds, extras in the top one, with the dressing container.


FoodFeud February 7, 2011 at 9:08 pm

You know, it’s funny that you posted this because I’ve recently been experimenting more with different types of seeds and at the store today, “Gena uses sunflower seeds a lot in her recipes, I wonder if I should get some…” actually ran through my head. I didn’t get them because I was already picking up some expensive necessary other items, but I definitely would have liked to now.
Soon! I will attempt to branch out even more.


Hannah February 7, 2011 at 9:20 pm

Squee! Oh, this made my day Gena, thank you! I wish I could give you a big hug of delightedness right now, both for the shout-out and the delicious, delicious recipe. I’m rather duty-bound to make this one asap, aren’t I? ;) I know it’ll be amazing, as I completely trust your judgement and also recently made my very first vegan cheeze (with macadamias… the opposite end of the budget spectrum to sunflower seeds!), which was scrumptious.

Squee! Thank you again!


Stefanie @TheNewHealthy February 8, 2011 at 10:05 am

Oh yum! I can’t wait to make this! I have a nice big bag of raw sunflower seeds waiting me in the kitchen too! :)


Dani @ Body By Nature February 8, 2011 at 10:41 am

Yum, sunflower seed dressing is my favourite!

Do you think you could substitute nuts (ie walnuts)?


Katie (quickcookrice) February 8, 2011 at 11:08 am

Yum! You’re beyond right about needing the right containers. I swear my officemates think I’m a freak trotting around with 6-7 containers of all shapes and sizes. I fear the day when they ask what’s inside: “um, massaged kale, raw dressing, chia pudding.”


Alex @ Healing Beauty February 8, 2011 at 11:57 am

I happen to have some sunflower seeds that need using! I cannot wait to make this dressing for lunch!


Mike Lieberman February 8, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Nice. I’ll be whippin this up for my lunch today.


Love February 8, 2011 at 5:34 pm



corrin bennett February 8, 2011 at 9:30 pm

Just had this dressing on a big, delicious, raw kale salad for dinner tonight. It was definitely divine! Even my husband, who is a carnivore, loved it. Thank-you for your generous, friendly website.


ashley@quasichick February 8, 2011 at 10:30 pm

I love all of your dressing recipes. I can’t even bring myself to buy bottled dressing anymore. It is usually full of yucky ingredients.


Marlena Torres February 9, 2011 at 9:09 am

mmm, this looks so good. My favorite seed dressing is a sesame, lemon, braggs, and garlic blend. Sunflower seeds would be a yummy substitute. :)


vicky February 9, 2011 at 11:52 am

made your collard wraps, so good. this would be great with the wraps!!! thanks


Allie February 9, 2011 at 12:56 pm

This looks so delicious! I’ve never tried dill, but I see it in a lot of raw recipes so I’m guessing I should try it soon. I love that this recipe uses dried herbs… as a student, dried herbs are so much easier. I also love that this is so simple. I feel like a lot of dressing recipes call for everything you can possibly put in a dressing… lemon juice, agave, miso, tahini, etc, etc and I feel like if I don’t put it all in, it won’t be tasty.

Always love your blog posts! =)


Quisha February 9, 2011 at 1:39 pm

Mmm that looks so good.

Would you say that raw dressings have less calories than your average ‘low-fat’ or yogurt salad dressing? I’ve been trying different brands and for me sodium is a biggie in terms of what I need to cut out of my regular diet.


Green Shushi February 10, 2011 at 12:40 pm

So random but I love the Bonne Maman jar you used–they have yummy stuff! I bought some chestnut spread from France from that company and I think I licked the jar clean! YUM!


Elizabeth February 11, 2011 at 10:40 am

Looks wonderful! I just stocked up on sunflower seeds. Looks like I will be making this! Yum.
Peace & Raw Health,


Kathryn February 13, 2011 at 7:28 pm

This is amazing and it whips up SO fast. Now I’m off to make some sweet potato humus. I have a friend with a sesame alergy (TERRIBLE) so I’m subbing sunflower butter. You rock Gena!


Gwen September 21, 2012 at 2:05 pm

This is a fantastic idea. When I made it the ratio of seeds to water was much higher, as I like a thick sauce to fill my happy tummy.

Next time I make it I will soak the seeds first, as they’re more digestible that way, and it will make the sauce smoother.


The Happy Juicer April 16, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Cannot wait to try this recipe. Love your site! Thank you!


Charlotte April 8, 2014 at 7:58 pm

Yum! I loved this recipe sooo much! I have been raw for three weeks now (with the exception of the occasional soy latte-ah awful I know! Making raw dressings that are good has been a challenge for me. This has been my favorite so far!


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