Homemade, Salt-Kissed Vanilla Sunflower Seed Butter

Homemade, Salt-Kissed Vanilla Sunflower Seed Butter

Ah, Sundays. They’ve always put me in a peculiar mood (the “Sunday blues,” as my mother and I call it), but for many years I was able to combat Sabbath Day ennui with a few pleasant traditions: quiet editing, fetching some particularly good morning coffee at Joe, and staying abreast of world events (or at least the style section) with The New York Times. Nowadays, Sundays are typically full of school related deadline panic and lab reports. No fun, but in some ways it staves off the tendency toward melancholy reflection. And if I’m lucky, I can squeeze in a little cooking.

Last week, I mentioned sunflower seed butter on my blog (it’s my favorite, I alleged, which is true), and one of my readers asked me how I make mine. From scratch? Store bought? The truth is that I often purchase the Maranatha brand, which my lovely friend Kathleen introduced me to, or the Trader Joe’s brand. But I also love to make my own. In spite of the extra time involved, making homemade nut and seed butter is well worth it: you can modify the flavors however you like (maple syrup and cinnamon is a favorite combination of mine) and you can also work with the nuts and seeds you like best. I’m a sunflower seed fanatic, so it’s always one of my first choices.


What makes sunflower seeds so great? For one thing, they’re packed with Vitamin E, which has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and cardiovascular benefits. For another, they’re loaded with Thiamine, which aids in proper brain function and metabolism of fats and protein. They’re also rich in magnesium, an essential electrolyte, and they’re full of heart-healthy fat. From a purely practical perspective, they’re quite a bit cheaper than cashews (another favorite), which makes them ideal for students. And on top of all this, they are appropriate alternatives for some people who have tree nut allergies.

As you’ll see, this recipe calls for roasting your sunflower seeds. This is a big no-no among strict raw foodists, who often believe that roasting any type of nut or seed causes it to go rancid or lose health properties. Thus far, I haven’t found much mainstream literature to prove this claim, unless the nuts or seeds in question were rancid to start with (which is why it’s a great idea to store nuts and seeds in the freezer). I have, however, found numerous studies which suggest that roasting cashews and pistachios can actually enhance their antioxidative (read: anti-aging) properties, and that roasting has no effect on the polyphenols (a class of antioxidants) in walnuts.

When all is said and done, I think it’s OK to eat a mixture of raw and toasted nuts and seeds. In salads, dressings, and desserts, not to mention when I make nut milks or seed milks, I prefer raw. When it comes to making a delicious nut or seed butter, I get roasting. The following recipe is really designed for roasted sunflower seeds, which release their oils and turn into butter more easily, so don’t try it with raw seeds unless you’ve had success in the past. Trust me on this one—the taste and overall effect of the recipe will make you feel that the roasting was worth it, even if you’re usually a raw nut and seed fanatic.


Salt-Kissed Vanilla Sunflower Seed Butter (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Makes about 10 oz

2 cups sunflower seeds, shelled
1 1/2 tsps sea salt
2 tsps vanilla extract
3 tbsp demerara sugar

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and spread seeds on it. Sprinkle with sea salt, and bake for 8 minutes or so. Move seeds around with a spatula, and keep baking for another 4-5 minutes. If at any point the seeds go from pleasantly golden to burnt, take them out immediately; time may vary based upon your oven.

2) Allow seeds to cool until room temperature. Place in a food processor fitted with the S blade, and turn the processor on. Walk away for about ten minutes. Yes: ten whole minutes.

3) After ten minutes, check on your seed butter. It will most likely be in the “awkward phase” of nut butter making: this is when it looks like a thick paste, rather than a smooth nut butter, and it seems as though it’ll never reach a good consistency. Just keep waiting. At a certain point, enough natural oil will be released, and the mixture will start to get loose again. Trust me. This could take another 5 minutes, or even a little more.

4) As soon as the seed butter looks like normal seed butter, add the sugar and vanilla. Taste and adjust sweetness; try not to devour all at once. This stuff is just blissful.

Homemade, Salt-Kissed Vanilla Sunflower Seed Butter

It’s a bit sweeter and saltier than normal nut or seed butter—decadence is the point of this recipe—so you can probably use a little less of it than you normally might. The flavor goes a long way. Put it in PB+J sandwiches, spread it on fresh fruit, or do as I did, and mix some into a bowl of berry banana oat bran:


Absolutely lovely.

Hope you all get to experience this delicious spread for yourselves soon. As with homemade almond milk making, you won’t save too much money by making your own, but you will certainly get a chance to enhance taste, and you’ll have the sense of pride that can only come with DIY food projects!

So before I go, how many of you have seen the new PETA “my boyfriend went vegan” ad? If you haven’t yet, you can view it here. Given the longish post on PCRM’s new campaign that I did a few weeks ago, I don’t want to tire you all out by writing endlessly on this one. But I did want to bring it up, because a few of you have asked me what my thoughts are by email.

Well, I think it’s sexist, and I think it makes PETA—and by extension, vegans—look pretty desperate. Given all of the horrors of factory farming, not to mention the destruction that animal agriculture wreaks on our planet, I don’t think we need to use harmful messages about sex and gender to advocate for the vegan diet: we can simply use common sense facts. There are so many troublesome stereotypes alive in this ad: the idea that men must be physically aggressive in order to be sexy or masculine; the idea that women are passive recipients of sex, rather than active participants; the idea that women should do their boyfriends’ grocery shopping for them, to name only a few. And of course, there’s the disturbing implication of domestic violence.

The ad has caused a lot of outrage, but it has also elicited quite a few responses of “lighten up, it’s just an ad. If it appeals to some guys, who cares if it’s a little offensive?” The trouble here is that these ads are directed to teenagers, who are often impressionable. I realize that it can be very, very hard for young men to adopt an ethical diet when they’re likely to be told that they’re not “real men.” And I do appreciate that these ads are trying to boost the self-esteem and confidence of teenage boys who want to go vegan. But, in putting forth the sad notion that masculinty resides in sexual aggression, they’re also reinforcing a culture in which we allow popular stereotypes to dictate our understanding of what is and isn’t manly. And that is the very culture in which it’s OK to mock a man for going vegan in the first place. It’s a vicious cycle.

Think of it this way: how would we all feel if the ads portrayed companion animals who had clearly been the victims of physical aggression? If they featured limping or wounded cats or dogs, or farm animals in braces—even if they did it in a way that was meant to be funny? I doubt that many vegans would say “hey, it’s just an ad.” I think we’d feel discomfort, because we’d worry that the ads might subtly influence the way people think about animals—not as equals who are worthy of respect, but rather as inferiors whom we can push around. Reverence for all animals (human and non-human) is at the heart of the vegan message. And there are ways to advocate for the lifestyle without betraying that reverence.

PETA tirelessly crusades against animal testing, vivisection, dog fighting, and many other kinds of animal cruelty. I hope that their future ads manage to appeal to young people without reinforcing aggression or sexism. By all means, let’s try to reach young men. But let’s not do it at the expense of young women.

In the meantime, for a meditation on masculinity and compassion read the brilliant James McWilliams’s new essay on hunting. He says, “our culture—in so many ways so advanced and so enlightened—has yet to promote the idea that it’s extremely attractive for a man to love and nurture animals.”

I couldn’t agree more.

What do you all think of the new ad? And more importantly, what do you think of delicious sunflower seed butter? As always, dying to know.


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  1. I just made this recipie! And it’s amazing! I have never tried any sort of nut or seed butter before (apart from regular peanut butter),. With my partner being serverly allergic to nuts this is a perfect alternative to peanut butter, but with not to much of a taste difference.

    Just wondering how long this will keep for? And if it should be kept in the fridge?

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. I bought a har of TJ’s Sunflower Seed Butter when I was in Nashville around Chirstmas and I LOVELOVELOVE it with celery sticks. my questions are:

    1) What do you store your in?
    2) Refridgerate correct?
    3) How long is one batch good for?

    Thanks! I am trying to add some new healthy options to my diet. πŸ™‚

  3. I just found your recipe and will give it a try (some day) in my Vitamix. I am a HUGE, HUGE fan of Sunflower Seed butter (and other nut butters)! I buy the Maranatha brand in bulk since I don’t have a lot of free time to make my own butters…but at least now I have a recipe to try out in case some free time comes my way. Thank you so much for sharing this! πŸ™‚

  4. This nut butter turned out nice and creamy, but way too salty for me. I used 1 1/2 t sea salt and will probably cut down to 1/2 t next time. I’ll use this salty batch for sunflower butter granola bars.

  5. I’m late to the party, but I just wanted to say I made this seed butter and it’s great! I didn’t add vanilla extract or sugar just liquid vanilla creme stevia and it’s wonderful. Thank you!

  6. Getting ready to make the sunflower seed butter now. I’ve made it before, but never roasted my own sunflower seeds yet, so here goes.
    BTW I guess it’s just a couple bucks difference each batch, but Trader Joe’s sunflower seed butter is around $4, while a pound of their seeds is $2. Considering how often I make this stuff, that’s some significant savings. Thanks for the ideas on variations too!

    Also, the ad – you are totally right. It was sickening. Just another example of how messed up our idea of humanity is. It is so sad that gentleness and caring about others are “effeminate” notions that “real” men don’t bother with. Their egos are apparently supposed to be running the show.
    It seems insane how our society sees violence as a necessary component of a man. The criminal justice system even considers out-of-control rage as a factor that downplays violent crime. And women are blamed as the victim of assault when they dress provocatively (as society tells them a woman who is “sexually liberated” should dress).
    And yet men still run things around here, even though the system has basically recognized their lack of control over their animalistic tendencies.
    Women as victims of our patriarchy is one of the most complex problems our society faces. Very few (if any) members of minorities would say that racism is no longer a problem, yet a good chunk of women would hate to be called feminists and think the battle for equality is won. They live in the box and can’t see how small it is. It is so hard to get them to realize it.

    That was my own little rant. Sorry about that.

  7. I just made this. It took a little extra time in my processor, but the wait was definitely worth it! The whole process was so simple. Thank you for introducing me to sunflower seed butter!

  8. Have now enjoyed this on sprouted grain cinnamon raisin muffins w/ banana and blended w/ frozen bananas into a dessert. Can hardly wait for tomorrow to find more ways to play with this wonderfulness!

  9. Oh, I also added a bit of canola oil (the only neutral oil I had around) since it wouldn’t smooth out properly – but I’m still quite satisfied!

  10. Just mere minutes ago, another vegan grad student was making delicious sunflower seed butter right across the river (I live in Fairfax, VA – and I know you’re somewhere floating around near Georgetown!) Thanks for the awesome recipe – tried it on a whim and it’s delicious πŸ™‚

  11. tried using the vitamix and it totally overheated….boo. it came out chunky. i think i’ll try your method next time πŸ™‚

  12. I think the ad is truly awful. If they wanted to ‘man-up’ the idea of being vegan, couldn’t they choose some other manly pursuit?! If they needed to go for this approach, there was no need to make her look like she’d been beaten – what the heck do they think that achieves?! Wrong, very wrong.

  13. Just made your sunflower butter — something strange happened. I processed the seeds until they turned into butter, and it was smooth and liquidy just like it should be. Then I added the vanilla, salt and subbed agave nectar in for the sugar….and when I turned the food processor back on, the mixture seized up, and essentially turned into a spreadable fudge. Now, I’m not complaining, because my children think that this mistake is DELIGHTFUL (we get to have SUNFLOWER FUDGE SANDWICHES for SCHOOL!!!), but I was just so surprised at the texture change!! Not sure if it’s because my mixture heated up during the processing, or if it was because of the agave nectar…thoughts to ponder. I will definitely make some again once we run out of this batch. I’ve had two of my girlfriends taste-test it (they are not “used” to raw/vegan flavors, so they are good test subjects), and they adored it as well. I’m curious to see if a different sweetener choice would produce different results next time.

    • The same thing happened to me! I added two tablespoons of coconut oil and processed it a little bit and it was smooth again!

  14. Sunflower seed butter is also my favorite! Have you tried the Once Again brand? They also make one without salt and sugar that tastes great! Your recipe sounds delicious. Thanks for sharing.


    p.s. I’ve also heard that raw cashews (although for the most part they are not technically raw) have toxins unless they’re introduced to heat.

  15. Hi Gena,
    i Have been a silent reader for so long but today I realy had to write to tell you that I just made the sunflower seed butter and I LOVE it!

    By the way, you can never post too many salads your ideas always inspire me!
    Greetings from Germany, Lisa

  16. I just made this and it’s so delicious!! I usually eat an apple with peanut butter as an afternoon snack, but since I had just made the sunflower seed butter I had it with a pear, and it was AMAZING!! Does this need to be stored in the fridge or is room temp ok?

    Thanks for the great recipes! Your recipes really help make being a vegan so tasty and delightful πŸ™‚

  17. Gena, we made the sunflower nut butter last night and found it to be very good! The 3T. demerara & 2 tsps. vanilla was the right amount! Thanks so much for this recipe!

  18. AGH! That add is awful! I thought it wasn’t real at first…It still shocks me to see what horrors of sexism are tolerated. To add to it, the add doesn’t educate about veganism at all.

  19. I just made sunflower seed butter for the first time, I have tons of sunflower seeds! It won’t last long, so this is next on my list. It looks so creamy and drippy.

    I have a post planned on the PETA ad, but I do agree with your sentiment. I also have to say I admire your ability to always find something positive to say, it’s something I strive for! I think my main issue comes from the feminist side, but there’s also a disconnect for me between denouncing violence toward animals while promoting violence toward other humans.

  20. Sunflower seed butter looks and sounds delicious… especially homemade! I’ve been trying to start mixing up my nut butters, I can’t wait to try this recipe! πŸ™‚

  21. I’ve been experimenting a lot with eating Sunflower Seed Butter, but I hadn’t thought about making it from scratch. I’ll definitely be trying this, for sure.

  22. AWESOME recipe!! Gonna try it out asap. Quick question though–do you need to refrigerate it afterwards, or is it okay to keep it in room temperature?

  23. That dish looks fantastic, with fresh fruit a seed butter dish can be a great breakfast or a delicious dessert.

  24. Ooh, I bet this version is better than the Maranatha! Plus, anything labeled “kissed” gets my attention.

    Thanks for bringing attention to the PETA ad. It’s pretty disheartening. I have mixed feeling about most of their ads – they certainly gain attention and get people talking – but this one is definitely over the line. Organizations make mistakes, however, and hopefully the outcry will influence better future decisions. Not ready to write them off yet!

  25. That looks so creamy and delicious. I’ve never made nut butter! I know, what am I waiting for? πŸ˜‰

  26. I know many people are getting into sunflower seed butter, it’s a great option for kids who have to bring peanut-free lunches to school. I personally find that I don’t digest roasted nuts and seeds as well as raw ones, and sprouted ones even better. But I think for people with stronger digestion they can handle it, especially blended seeds.

    The PETA ad made me pretty frustrated too. I think you’ve said all the main points, I also must mention that PETA actually KILLS animals, they continue to kill perfectly adoptable cats and dogs, which is equally sick in my opinion and I am tired of people looking the other way on that issue as well.

  27. Just tried this recipe, but put in a combination of stevia and molasses instead of the brown sugar, and I highly recommend. I’ve really been digging the blackstrap this February, I think the deep sweet flavor reminds me of home.

    As for the ad, I think it’s funny. When we consider the issue, most people get so serious about it- inhumane treatment of animals, statistics about how much red meat we eat and how it affects the environment, etcetera etcetera. We become desensitized to the issue when it’s only presented to us in that single way, but when we are surprised by how it’s presented, we spend a little time thinking about it. And I think most people could benefit from spending a little time considering how the things they put in their bodies affects their lives and the world.
    We live in a sexualized culture- I would argue that the problem is not the focus on sex (what could be more natural?), but the shame and embarrassment about the topic that’s equally as widespread, evidenced by this conversation. The same goes for violence: people fear it, but it’s absolutely natural.

    • So glad you liked the recipe, Colleen. And more importantly, thank you so much for such an intelligent comment.

      I don’t disagree that, on the whole, our society’s discomfort talking about sex and dealing with sex is more troubling than any public conversation/imagery to do with sex. And my main objection here isn’t even PETA’s constant use of sex to sell veganism (though I do think it’s redundant and limited), but rather, the fact that the sex depicted was so egregiously exploitative. The ad could have featured a man whose libido had been boosted, but who was using it to have great sex with a girlfriend who hadn’t been injured or worn down. In fact, it might have done all kinds of adorable, amusing things with the idea of enhanced sexual performance.

      Instead, it made fun of real TV spots that are aimed to real, domestically abused women, which is troubling in and of itself. But it also tried to sell, not a consensual sex life, but an abusive and self-centered one. That’s the issue here. I’m all for funny, candid dialogs about human mating. But not for the celebration of sexual relationships that have turned violent.

      As for your point that violence is natural, well sure it is. By that token, so is violence to animals. I think the point is, do we want to celebrate violence in an ad that’s designed to sell a compassionate, non-violent stance toward animals? Or use it to sell anything?

  28. I like the melancholic reflection of Sundays, it gives me lots of lyric/song ideas. πŸ™‚ Sunflower seeds take a while to transform into butter, but then, so do almonds so it’s not that surprising. I always worry about my food processor when I make almond butter. πŸ™‚ And thanks for sharing your thoughts on the PETA ad, you can always be counted on for a succinct and eloquent response to these things!

  29. Two things!
    1) I just made the sunflower butter with a few tweaks: 1 and a 1/2 cups (because I didn’t have enough for 2) of trader joe’s pre-roasted, salted sunflower seeds, 1 tablespoon and 1 tsp of white sugar because I didn’t have demerera, and 6 drops of vanilla stevia because I had no vanilla. Delightful either way!!! πŸ™‚ Mine is probably a little less decadent and a little more like the norm, but still a salty sweet delight–almost reminds me of peanut brittle the way you bite into it and the sugar crystals crunch. Lovely πŸ™‚ Can’t wait to share with my dad and my boyfriend.
    2) I am a vegan…my boyfriend is not, and I am accepting of that and don’t judge him as a person for what he chooses…But I couldn’t believe that ad, so I wanted to share with him. I first showed my boyfriend the PETA ad, telling him my disgust of it…and he thought nothing of it and on the contrary thought it was kind of cool. Sigh. >.< (which in a way helps veganism I guess, but does nothing for sexism). Then I directed him to your entry, because you enunciate your disgust better than I do, and your reasoning was very concise and fit with my values perfectly. He stopped reading after a paragraph and disagreed with you. How frustrating!! I'm sure he does these things because he thinks it's funny when I get angry.
    I suppose PETA is targeting all kinds of audiences with this ad. It's disgruntling people like you and I and targeting the naivetΓ© of teenage boys, and for all the wrong reasons. I guess their way of advertising though is to shock–that's how they get themselves across to the masses.

    • Great comment πŸ™‚

      I think that many more men than women are are going to chuckle at this ad. And I don’t think that’s particularly surprising or strange. Interestingly, the non-vegan male friends of mine whom I showed it to agreed it was a pretty awful ad, though they also found it harmless. What’s really significant is that they all said it was a stupid ad, if nothing else, and that it would be likely to affirm a certain skepticism they have about vegans. One friend of mine said that his immediate assumption is that whoever made the ad must love animals and hate people.

      At the end of the day, isn’t that the real issue here? The fact that the ads distastefulness is likely to alienate people, and thus not only not help animals, but possibly turn prospective vegans away, and thus harm them?

    • Lyza, The sun butter is great and on track to healthy eating, but your boyfriend is using you to poke fun at or press your buttons. That is a divorce in the making before one occurs. Have some self-respect and drop him, before you get hurt and naively wonder later how come there were no signs of “this” Creep-to-nite infecting our relationship. Get on track with some common sense. If it is pure it WILL ACT LIKE IT.

  30. Soaking and dehydrating would have a similar effect on liberating the nutrients in the seeds, but who has time to constantly soak and dehydrate nuts and seeds? πŸ™‚ I love roasted ones, especially cashews. I think I’m the only person that still hasn’t tried sunbutter…I’m a little wary of the omega-6s in there right now, as I’m trying to reduce inflammation in my body/gut, but I know at some point I’ll give them a go.

  31. That PETA advert…what the?! Personally I find it offensive on so many levels. Like the PCRM ads, I understand the need for shock value at times..but really? This? It’s ignorant, sexist, offensive, and not even remotely funny. I can’t see how it would encourage anyone to look into going vegan.

    Anyways, the sunflower seed butter sounds wonderful – will have to try soon. I’m also glad to hear you’re not opposed to roasting nuts and seeds!

  32. MMMM What food processor do you use / recommend? Mine just exploded last week – sacre bleu!

  33. I’m also disgusted by that ad. Their excuses are pathetic, too. If it’s okay to glamourise domestic abuse and sexual violence because it’s just a joke and no-one will take it seriously, then why bother with the pro-vegan message? If these messages aren’t intended to get into and affect the brains of young people, why make the advert in the first place? They know it’s misogynist, they know they are tapping into, reinforcing and heightening people’s (and especially young men’s) misogyny, and they still do this. How can they have compassion for cows, hens, ewes and sows and not women?

    Your blog is so refreshing, by the way. It’s the only vegan blog I can wholeheartedly recommend to everybody because I know it won’t talk about dieting, it’s pro-science, and it highlights awful campaigns like this one (and not to talk about how great they are!). No-one’s going to come away with ideas that veganism means anything other than avoiding animal products for ethical reasons. If there is any other blog like this out there, then I don’t know about it. Oh, and your recipes are great too! Haha!

    I’m going to try this seed butter today! But I think I’ll roast half the seeds and soak the other half. I love the flavour of roasted seeds but there’s no way my food processor will cope with just roasted. (I don’t know how soaking the seeds prior to roasting them would work, either.) It’s one you have to pulse, you can’t actually turn it on, fine for most applications but annoying with recipes like this! I don’t like vanilla so I will substitute some cocoa powder (I’m assuming it’s just to take off the remaining “green” edge of the sunflower seed taste, right?) I’ll let you know whether or not it’s a terrible disaster! πŸ˜€

    • Let me know! I’m nervous that the soaking may somehow affect the process…but I’ll await your report πŸ™‚

  34. Oh, a part of me wishes these had been two separate posts, as I was so thrilled and full of excited cheering and whooping over the seed butter (I’ve made walnut coconut butter, chocolate coconut butter, fig cashew molasses butter, maple almond butter, why not sunflower?!), but that ad makes me feel sick, and destroys my ability to feel anything but fury and nausea until I’ve cleared my mind by a lot of deep breathing. The current obsession with portraying the most erotic sex as brutal, even when “consensual”, is upsetting enough, but this video actually makes me nauseous.

  35. Ack! This was the first time I’ve seen this add and 1) I think it’s gross Injuring your partner during sex such that the end up needing a neck brace is NOT OKAY, and 2) I don’t get it! Certainly not effective at all!
    I am really glad that you posted this recipe. I prefer raw sunflower seeds on my salads and in bars. I have a bag of roasted sunflower seeds sitting in my fridge and just didn’t know what to do with it. Sunflower seed butter-> WOO! I will probably make some tonight! Thanks, Gena!

  36. That PETA ad definitely wasn’t doing the vegan community any favors. Avoiding animal products may improve your sex life, sure, but to suggest it in this way is really quite vulgar and unnecessary. It appears that Youtube has flagged it as “adult” material, too. Thanks once again for your thoughts on the promotion of a plant-based diet!! The sunflower seed butter looks ridiculous…It’s definitely going to get made SOON!

  37. I’m looking forward to reading that article, living in hunting country as I do…

    As for the sunflower seed butter–although of course I was raised on tahini, and although I love the price of sunflower seeds, I’ve never had sunflower butter! The truth is, I don’t like sunflower seeds very much. I think part of this is my phobia of their omega-6, even though their super-high vitamin E content protects against some of the proinflammatoriness of the omega 6’s, but partly I just don’t care for the taste. I think this is an awesome recipe nonetheless…

    • Ela,

      I do think that your fear of Omega-6’s is perhaps a little excessive, or out of keeping with the real risks! But if you don’t care for them, well then, you don’t care for them.


  38. pets just really needs to stop b/c they tend to go overboard,and really this ad was presented all wrong b/c of the tone they set and shouldve had diff details.

  39. Looks great! How did you make the oat bran? Also, do you think nut butter is more easily made in the food processor than the Vitamix? I haven’t tried either. TIA!!

    • Hi D!!!

      I have never made nut butter in a Vitamix, so while I’m sure it would work, I don’t really know how! I’d be curious to hear if you have success.

      As for the oat bran, I simply cook it up in water (1 cup water, 1/3 cup bran), adding cinnamon, banana, and sometimes a tiny, tiny bit of maple syrup at the end. I almost always top with fruit and nut butter for healthy fat.


      • If anyone has a Champion juicer, nut/seed butters go through well with the homogenizing plate (I think that’s what it’s called). My husband does the butters and he won’t go back to the food processor/Blendtec process. Let us know how your Vitamix handles it! – Rebecca

  40. I’ve never had sunflower seed butter, but you had me at sweet, salty, and vanilla. Yum!

  41. The sunflower seed butter sounds fantastic. I’d love to try it, soon but I’m afraid I wouldn’t be able to let the little go a long way and gobble it up too quickly! Worse things have happened, though.
    As for the PETA ad, I think it was completely tasteless. I’ve never been a huge fan of PETA’s campaigns but they seem to have gotten worse over the years, which makes no sense. The reliance on sexuality to sell an idea disgusts me for so many reasons but I think it also discounts the intelligent reasons for anyone to go vegan. For anyone who felt that people needed to “lighten up” and find the ad funny, the fact that it could even potentially trigger people who have had a history of sexual violence is more than enough reason to pull the ad. If it makes any person feel uncomfortable, it should make us consider why it doesn’t make us all feel uncomfortable.
    Thanks for bringing it up.

  42. Gena, before I talk about the ad… holy hannah that is the best looking sunflower butter I’ve seen! It looks far lighter and creamier. And sweet idea to add a little vanilla and maple syrup, as I always find seed butters to be naturally slightly bitter, esp for younger buds!

    Now the ad… I am grateful you discuss this for your readers. As I mentioned before, as a mom of three girls, messages like these are very troubling for me. And, I assert that (much like your analogy of companion animals), if someone thinks this ad is funny or shouldn’t be taken seriously, would they feel the same if their daughter, mother, sister, girlfriend, or wife was the female depicted in this video? I think not.
    You said it simply and perfectly that reverence for all animals should be at the
    heart of being vegan. The heart. Where compassion and respect reside.
    Thank you for covering this topic Gena.

    • Thanks Dreena, for bringing it to my attention in the first place. I can only imagine that motherhood ads a dimension of distress to seeing these ads. You ring up precisely the right point: how would we feel if the woman in the ad was a friend, wife, daughter, or mother? If the answer is “horrified” then the ad isn’t a worthy, effective, or necessary one.

  43. This looks beyond fabulous!!!

    I loveeeeeee sunflower seed butter and yours, with a touch of vanilla, omg even better.

    “Yes: ten whole minutes.” = whenever I make nut butter, I always wish I had earplugs on hand. Lol

  44. Wonderful post Gena! I’m always excited to read your take on media portrayals of veganism. I was deeply disturbed by the PETA ad, for precisely the reasons you suggested Gena. I felt that it was a) sexist, b) a poor reflection of the central values of veganism of respect and compassion, and c) potentially harmful to young women who are working to build a healthy sexuality. There is no reason to sexualize veganism at all, in my opinion; but if that is something that you want to explore – as an ad campaign, or even individually in your own life, or as an intellectual pursuit – there are much more respectful and less harmful ways of creating that link between sexuality and veganism. It’s all about ethics; why try to promote an ethically-informed lifestyle in such an ethically-devoid way? Joke or not, I think the campaign is irresponsible.

    On another note, I have been looking for an alternative to peanut butter for a while now! Almond and cashew butter are too expensive for me on my student budget (undergrad), so I will definitely look into Trader Joe’s sunflower seed butter; and if I get any time in the next couple weeks, I’ll definitely give your recipe a whirl!

  45. I can’t tolerate peanuts or almonds, so both of those nut butters went out the window a couple of years ago. Enter sunflower seed butter to the rescue! I’ve never made my own, but I eat sunflower seed butter at least four or five times a week. And although I don’t like things sweetened and prefer mine plain and simple (no vanilla,) it’s nice to see it getting some love from the masses!

  46. Thanks for the recipe!! Sunflower seeds and butter are my go-to (they’re so inexpensive!) and I was buying the T.J.’s brand until I realized that it has evaporated cane juice. I’m trying to get rid of candida these days so that’s a definite no-no for me, and almond butter has been upsetting my belly, but I think I can modify this recipe to suit my needs. Awesome!
    Re: second half of post – I couldn’t agree more. Aren’t there more subtle ways of getting the message across?

  47. Totally making this. Like, rightnow. As far as the ad, even without thinking about it too much, it made me a little ill. I think the implication of aggression is too strong for me to be ok with.

  48. This sounds absolutely delicious!

    I’ve seen the ad, but thought it was a bit too provocative. I know we need radical ways to get the message through, but I’m not sure if this ad really delivered that message.