Pumpkin-Sunflower-Flax Seed Butter: Better Than Peanut Butter
Pumpkin-Sunflower-Flax Seed Butter

After a week of hiking and eating PBJ sandwiches once, often twice a day (supplemented with salal berries), I'm fairly peanut buttered out. On the bright side, this has led me to experiment with other nut and seed butters. Here's a peanut butter alternative made from a blend of pumpkin, sunflower and flax seeds. It's rich, creamy and super easy to make at home.

This recipe was inspired by a seed butter I tasted at a farmers' market in Portland, Ore. I'd had pumpkin seed butter and sunflower seed butter before, but never the combination of the two, which turns out to be addictively satisfying. The addition of ground flaxseed enhances the nutty flavor and healthfulness of the butter. I highly recommend it, whether you're allergic to peanuts or just looking for something different to spread on crackers, sandwiches and apple slices.

One of the best things about making your own nut and seed butters is the ability to control additives. I like the flavor without salt or sugar, but feel free to adjust the recipe to your liking with salt, honey or other sweeteners. For the oil, I used a combination of half pumpkin seed oil and half sunflower oil; pumpkin seed oil is deeply flavorful but a bit pricey. Another neutral-tasting oil like safflower or canola would also work.

Pumpkin-Sunflower-Flax Seed Butter

Makes about 1 1/4 cups.

1 cup raw pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds

1/4 cup ground flaxseed

About 1/4 cup pumpkin seed, sunflower, safflower or canola oil

Salt (optional)

Sweetener such as honey, agave nectar or brown rice syrup (optional)

Working in batches, toast pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds in a dry skillet over low heat. Stir frequently to prevent burning and remove from heat when fragrant.

Combine cooled pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and ground flaxseed in a food processor, and process for a minute.

With the food processor running, slowly drizzle in 1/4 cup oil. Continue processing until mixture is smooth and creamy, about 5 minutes. You may need to occasionally turn off the food processor and scrape it down with a spatula.

Taste and add salt and/or sweetener, if desired. (Add just a small amount at a time and taste frequently.)

If mixture is too dry, continue to add a little more oil, processing until desired consistency is reached.

Transfer to an airtight container and store in refrigerator up to two weeks.


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Pumpkin-Sunflower-Flax Seed Butter: Better Than Peanut Butter

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