Sunflower shoots spread – Vegan | Gluten-free | Raw

I made this delicious spread nearly two-three months back. Yes, the pictures are that old too. I had been to Godrej Nature’s Basket’s new outlet at Ghatkopar once, and you know how they stock the best things when the outlet is recent. I found a pretty box of fresh microgreens in the herb section and it had a tag that read ‘sunflower shoots’. I imagined sprinkling it arounds salads, dropping a few here and there while styling some other monochrome foods that need a lot of imagination to look pretty on a plate. But when I delicately rinsed the greens the day after, I forgot about reserving some green for styling completely. The thick texture of the leaves seemed to make them good for the spread. I bit on a few leaves and found that the shoots were nutty, sweet, and juicy all at the same time, and the best feature was that they were very, very refreshing. I have found most shoots to have a bitter or astringent quality to them, but sunflower shoots do not have either. That is what renders them so perfect for a spread.

I make a lot of spreads and I am sure you know how much the members of the TT household love it. We smear them liberally on toast, on rotis, bhakris, smother our idlis and dosas with them, and generously scoop them onto crackers and papadams! Yes, we do. We are a little fanatical when it comes to using spreads. 🙂 It is rare not to find a pesto, a green spread or a hummus in my refrigerator.

This one is easy and I am sure you will have everything else but these greens in your pantry! Soon I will have them in a pot on my window sill too. The idea of getting greens from a mall is not as welcome as snipping them off your own little herb garden. For someone with a not-so-green-thumb getting these to shoot out of their seeds in a pot is one big challenge!

Recipe: Sunflower shoots spread – Vegan | Gluten-free | Raw
A spread for breads, a chutney to go with dosai / idli, and all kinds of flatbreads, a dip for crisp salads and vegetable fingers.


Sunflower shoots (tender) – 2 cups, with stems

Sunflower seeds – 2 tbsp., soaked in water for 15-20 minutes

Cashewnuts – 4-5, more if you would like it more creamy

Nutritional yeast flakes – 2 tbsp. (or as per taste)

Sea salt – to taste

Water – just enough to blitz and bring the mix to a spreadable consistency


The shoots came with soil so I cut them off on the surface with kitchen scissors and rinsed lightly to remove the soil.  Set aside on a towel to let off the excess water.

Place in a chutney grinder with the sunflower seeds, cashewnuts, a little salt and water.  Blitz till creamy or textural, as per your liking.  Spoon the mix from the sides and blitz again till the required consistency is reached.

Remove into a bowl, add the nutritional yeast flakes, and adjust the salt and water.


A drizzle of extra virgin olive would not hurt. Some crispy capers or a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds are very tasty too.


Since I toasted the bread slices with drops of olive oil I could not bring myself to add any to the spread, and, honestly there is no need.


Harini is a vegan food photographer, writer and recipe developer. She also loves feeding birds, reading, watching crime thrillers, and travelling amongst other things.

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  • Bharathi

    Thanks for the lovely tips Harini. will now buy a Cast iron Tawa for rotis too.Now you must make that post on -” How does one season the cast iron tawa before making the first roti and how to care for our cast iron tawas…please please do. with pics of course. will be of huge help to lots of us out there, who end up with rusty tawas. Thanks a ton again

    • Harini Prakash

      Good idea, Bharathi! Will do it. It is not very difficult to do it. 🙂

  • Anitha Raj

    Hi, I’m very happy to read your post after a long time. Welcome back!
    I have tried your kadhi recipe which cam out well.

  • Anisha Ranjit

    Dint even know sunflower shoots were edible… This recipe sounds interesting… Good to see a new recipe here…

    I tried your cashew parsley spread… it was awesome… I mean even the non vegans opted to have that over other cheese spread on the table…:)

    • Harini Prakash

      Hey Anisha, so glad to know that! Especially knowing that it won over non-vegans – that is something. 🙂 Let me tell you, this is as good!

  • Bharathi

    Looks delicious and simple to make. I love spreads too. Could you tell me how you store them. In plastic/ steel or fact i would love it if you could do a separate post on essential kitchen utensils and tips on stroring and freezing. My other query is do you use separate tawas for dosa and roti. And do u recommend nonstick cook ware. Thanks

    • Harini Prakash

      I use glass/ceramic jars (sometimes baranis) for storage of spreads. Thanks for the idea. I will do that sometime. I use separate tawas for roti and dosa, and all my tawas are cast iron. I have four tawas of cast iron. The one I use for neer dosa is a small skillet and I also use it for making tarts and pizzas. The dosa tawa is medium sized, and my large tawa is reserved for rotis. I find that making rotis spoils the seasoning. I cannot explain how but it does. I do not use or recommend non-stick cookware.

  • Radhika

    Good to see you post, after ages. R

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