Isa’s Sunflower Mac

This recipe is for my friend, Betty, the number one lover of creamy pasta dishes. Betty recently learned she has a number of food sensitivities. Eager to begin a new diet but a little baffled as to where to start, Betty called me up one day for some advice and recipes. With her top sensitivities being wheat, dairy, egg white, and nuts, Betty was a little worried that her mac and cheese days were over. Not so, Betty!

Sunflower Mac

Thanks to Isa Chandra Moskowitz, Betty can enjoy a big bowl of some comforting cheezy noodles. If you enjoy dairy-free dishes, you probably know that most creamy pasta sauces are made from nuts, like Chloe Coscarelli’s Fettuccine Alfredo. But… sunflower seeds?! Well, as Chandra writes in her cookbook Isa Does It, “Sunflower seeds have a mellow, nutty quality that fits right into a cheezy sauce”. Oh, yah! πŸ™‚

SUNFLOWER MAC (recipe from Isa Does It)

  • 1 cup unroasted sunflower seed kernels, soaked for at least 2 hours
  • 8 ounces gluten-free elbow macaroni or other small pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced carrots
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus a pinch
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons organic cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • sweet paprika, for garnish

Place the sunflower seeds in a bowl and submerge in water. Let soak for about 2 hours or up to overnight. Drain well.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook your pasta according to package directions. Drain, return to the pot, and set aside while you make the sauce.

Preheat a saucepan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Saute the carrots and onions with a pinch of salt for about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds, then remove from the heat.

Place the mixture in a blender or food processor. Add the broth, cornstarch, nutritional yeast, tomato paste, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and sunflower seeds and blend until very smooth. Allow about 5 minutes, periodically checking sauce for smoothness.

Transfer the sauce to the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until thickened. This should take about 15 minutes. Add the lemon juice.

Pour most of the sauce over the pasta. Mix it up, and serve with extra sauce. Sprinkle pasta with paprika and dig in!


Mac & Cheeze

I highly recommend you check out Chandra’s cookbook “Isa Does It – Amazingly Easy, Wildly, Delicious Vegan Recipes for Every Day of the Week” at your local bookstore. It’s well worth the purchase. (Now, it’s here where I had planned to list and show all of our favourite “Chandra” dishes. Too crazy because there’s just way too many! You seriously have to buy this book).




7 thoughts on “Isa’s Sunflower Mac

  1. liveblissful

    That looks delicious! I tried making sunflower cream before but I found it tasted really bitter so I ended up throwing it out. Does soaking them take out the bitter taste? I have been hesitant to try something like this again lol

    1. uberdish Post author

      Nice to hear from you liveblissful! Sorry you had a past bad experience with your sunflower seed cream. Soaking the seeds can affect the taste, but it is mostly done to soften the seed and help increase their digestibility. I buy organic raw sunflower seeds and store them in jars in the fridge.They do have a shelf life and storing them in the fridge keeps them fresh a little longer. Could it be that your seeds were about to expire? Maybe they weren’t stored properly at your market or store? I haven’t had a problem with sunflower seeds, but I have with almonds. The odd time you end up with a bad one and it throws the whole dish out the window. If you get a chance to try it again, let me know. Good luck. πŸ™‚

      1. liveblissful

        Thanks for your reply. I just used some conventional ones from Aldi. They may of been off since I never stored they in the fridge.. I will try again with some organic seeds and see how they go. I just never knew why they never tasted as good as the sunflower seed butter.

    1. uberdish Post author

      You’ll love it! I make sooo many meals from this book. I’ve made her Butternut Squash, Lentil and Kale Salad several times for family dinners. Big hit. Even for those “I-don’t-eat-kale-types”! Have fun with it.


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