Zel's Vegan NutGourmet

Zel Allen Goes Nuts for Good Health

Posts Tagged ‘sunflower seeds’

The NUTTY Ball-Off Contest

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on April 18, 2009

My friend, Chef AJ, teaches healthy vegan cooking classes. At the end of a special 6-week session, she inspired her students to take on a unique challenge—to create their own, from-scratch NUT BALL recipe as a dessert treat. To make this challenge even more exciting, she gave them a deadline and said there would be a contest and an enticing prize.

Chef AJ gave her students a rough recipe for the Nut Balls and asked that they design their recipe without any kind of traditional sweetener—only dates. There were no restrictions on ingredients—only that they be natural, unrefined, and unprocessed.

On the evening of Sunday, April 4, three of us intrepid tasters participated in judging this unique and very spirited event—my husband and I and Kimberly Elliott (because she hates healthy food and will only eat stuff that tastes really great.) Of AJ’s nine students, five of them entered their creations and made enough Nut Balls for all of the 15 to 20 attendees to taste as well. Though the event took on a raucous party-like atmosphere, there was a serious edge to the contest–the judging was to be based on appearance, taste, and creativity. The entire group also voted.

Knowing what lay ahead, my husband and I ate lightly for dinner to keep our palates refreshed and clear. Each of the Nut Balls was innovatively conceived, deliciously indulgent, and looked visually engaging, but two recipes stood out from the rest for their exceptional taste and out-of-the-box creativity.

Following are the NUTTY BALLS recipes along with their photos that are so enticing you might want to reach into the dish and nab one:

yifan

    Blue Ribbon Prize Winner

NUT BALLS by YiFan Rao

Yield: about 25 to 30 one-inch balls

1 1/2 cups of raw almonds

1 cup of macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
1 cup of dried pineapple, diced
1 cup of dried apricots, diced
1/2 cup of raw almonds, roughly chopped

10 to 12 dates, soaked in water overnight

1 cup golden flax seeds

1. Grind the 1 1/2 cups of raw almonds to a fine meal in the food processor and transfer to a large bowl.
2. Add the macadamias, pineapple, apricots and the 1/2 cup chopped almonds to the bowl.
3. Chop the dates and add them to the bowl. Mix well until the mixture becomes sticky.
4. Form the mixture into 1-inch balls by rolling between the palms of the hands, then, roll the balls in the flax seeds to coat them completely. Place the balls into a covered container and freeze. Serve the balls frozen, partly defrosted, or room temperature.

Note: If you prefer sweeter balls, add more dates to taste.

The balls are very sweet for my taste so I rolled them in golden flax seeds to offset the sweetness. Since many people thought the flax seeds were sesame, I’m sure sesame seeds will work just as well. …YiFan

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paula

    Second Prize Winner

NUT BALLS by Paula Shields

Yield: 18 to 20 one-inch balls

1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup raw pecans
1/2 cup raw almonds, soaked for several hours
1 1/2 teaspoons non-alcoholic vanilla extract
10 to 12 dates soaked in water overnight
1 tablespoon goji berries
1 tablespoon raisins (black, golden, or a blend)
1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon raw cacao nibs, slightly ground

1/4 cup dried coconut, finely ground

1. Combine all the ingredients, except the dried coconut, in the food processor and process to a fine or slightly chunky consistency, adding the date soaking water as needed to moisten and bind the ingredients together.
2. Form into balls by hand and roll each one in the ground coconut. Place the balls into a covered container and put them into the freezer. Serve frozen or room temperature.

Note: Dried cranberries would also make a tasty addition.

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wolfie

    Honorable Mention

NUT BALLS by Wolfie Cavender

Yield: about 40 one-inch balls

2 cups raw cashews
1 1/2 cups raw sunflower seeds

1 3/4 cups cacao powder, divided
2 cups of dates, finely chopped
1 cup of dried cherries, finely chopped

1. Place the cashews and sunflower seeds into the food processor and process them until they are finely ground.
2. Add 1/2 cup of the cacao powder, the dates, and the cherries to the food processor and process until all the ingredients are finely ground.
3. Form the mixture into 1-inch balls by rolling between the palms of the hands. Place the remaining cacao powder into a bowl and roll the balls in the powder, coating them completely.
4. Place the finished balls into a covered container and freeze them. Serve them frozen, partially thawed, or room temperature.

Note: The balls are quite firm and dense. Soaking the dates or cherries or both will create balls with a more moist texture.

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pamela

    Honorable Mention

NUT BALLS by Pamela Lopez

Yield: about 24 one-inch balls

1 cup raw almonds, finely ground in food processor
3/4 cup sunflower seeds, finely ground
1/4 cup cacao powder

1 cup chopped dates
1 handful raw cacao nibs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons cacao powder

1. Combine the nuts, seeds, and cacao powder in the food processor and pulse briefly.
2. Add the dates, cacao nibs, and vanilla extract and process until the mixture becomes well blended and sticky.
3. Form the mixture into 1-inch balls by rolling between the palms of the hands and then roll them in cacao powder. Place the balls into a covered, shallow, plastic container and freeze them. Serve frozen, slightly thawed, or room temperature.

Note: To vary the recipe, use pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, or a mixture in place of the sunflower seeds. Other dried fruits like goji berries or cherries may be used instead of or in addition to the dates.

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matthew

    Honorable Mention

NUT BALLS by Matthew Weisman

My recipe was the same as Pamela’s, but I used raw pistachios instead of the raw almonds.

Posted in almonds, cashews, coconut, Macadamias, Nut Desserts, Nut Recipes, Nut Uses, pecans, sunflower seeds, Vegan Desserts | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

GOT PEANUT ALLERGIES? SUNFLOWER SEED BUTTER TO THE RESCUE!

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on April 17, 2009

Peanut allergies can make life rather harrowing for those who must avoid even the smallest quantity of peanuts and any by-products containing peanuts. That means many of the delicious foods made from peanuts and peanut butters are strictly off limits.

But sunflower seeds may come to the rescue! When I attended the Natural Products EXPO in Anaheim, California, in March, 2008, I enjoyed a pleasant encounter with SunGold Foods, Inc., a company that makes Sunbutter, a creamy product made of sunflower seeds.
sunflower
When I tasted their organic creamy Sunbutter, my first thought was that it was so like peanut butter I really thought it contained some peanuts. I was assured the smooth and rich-tasting “butter” was made only from roasted sunflower seeds—it didn’t even contain salt or sugar. It was thick, like peanut butter, and totally engaging. As I walked away from the booth, the thought of the sunflower seed butter clung to me like my favorite red sweater, and I knew a jar of it would soon become part of my regular pantry items.

Several of the peanut butter recipes in my cookbook, The Nut Gourmet, will taste equally as delicious with this sunflower seed butter standing in for the peanut butter–recipes like the Peanut Butter Carob Pie, Yam and Nut Butter Soup, Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse, Pistachio Peanut Bon Bons, and African Peanut Soup.

And sunflower seeds are highly nutritious with plenty of protein, fiber, B vitamins, and Vitamin E. And as for the all-important minerals, they’re naturally packed with calcium, magnesium, potassium, selenium, iron, zinc, and copper.

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Sunflower seed butter–what a delight and what a treasure for those who will no longer have to miss out on a host of delicious peanut butter recipes! Armed with sunflower seed butter, peanut allergy sufferers and anyone who enjoys a flavorful and zesty dish can now make this delicious sauce for recipes like Indonesian Gado Gado or Satay. For this easy sauce that takes no more than 5 minutes to make, I would suggest using the unsalted and unsweetened variety. You can choose either the chunky or smooth texture.

A word of caution is in order, though. For those with peanut and tree nut allergies, sunflower seeds and products made from them may possibly pose the same risks as consuming peanuts and tree nuts. Always read labels of any products you purchase to make sure they were not made in a facility that processes peanuts or tree nuts. The Sunbutter is made in a peanut and tree nut-free facility, but may still cause serious risks of severe reaction for some people.

sunseedsauce

SUNFLOWER SEED SWEET AND SOUR SAUCE

Yield: 1 1/2 cups

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sunflower seed butter
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup lemon or lime juice
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup or organic sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 large clove garlic, crushed
Cayenne pepper or hot sauce to taste

1 to 2 teaspoons finely minced chives

Combine all the ingredients, except the chives, in a small mixing bowl and stir with a whisk to blend the flavors. Stirring for a full minute creates a thicker sauce. Transfer to an attractive serving bowl and garnish with the chives. Serve as a dip for baked tofu or seitan, or spoon over steamed vegetables, cooked grains, or tossed salad.

Posted in peanuts, sunflower seeds | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 13 Comments »

 
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