5-Minute Sunflower Seed Basil Pesto Recipe Brightens Up Dinner by Ann Marie Patitucci

5-Minute Sunflower Seed Basil Pesto Recipe Brightens Up Dinner

I tend to be a picky eater, but I love pesto. This surprises people because, as they tell me, many fussy eaters tend not to like pesto and other flavorful, aromatic sauces like it. I must be the exception, then because I could eat it daily!

This five-minute basil pesto recipe is made with fresh basil leaves, grated Parmesan cheese, fresh garlic, sunflower seeds, salt, black pepper and extra virgin olive oil. The ingredients are pulsed together in a blender or food processor. So simple. 

I love the sunflower seed pesto in pasta, on chicken, with bread, in my family’s favorite pasta salad and more! Of course homemade is always the best. Here is a wonderful pesto recipe from my friend Craig Couture, teacher by day and award-winning local cook by night (weekends). Enjoy!

Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 8


  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Here's how to make it: 

  1. In a food processor or blender, blend basil, Parmesan cheese, garlic, sunflower seeds, salt and pepper. 
  2. Once roughly chopped, slowly stream in extra virgin olive oil while the food processor is on. Process until smooth (for a thinner pesto, add more olive oil until you reach your preferred consistency). Use immediately for pasta dishes, pizza or as an herb sauce for meat dishes like chicken kebabs.

Note: You can also freeze the pesto in ice cube trays for later use.

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Blenders $25 & Up
Olive Oil
Olive Oil $4 & Up

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Donna John
Love the idea of making pesto with sunflower seeds! My basil is growing and almost ready to be picked, so soon!
Elisa Schmitz
I'm with you on loving pesto, Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead . Many thanks to Craig Couture for the inspiring recipe! #yum
Ann Marie Patitucci
Thank you, Craig Couture , got another fantastic recipe!

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