Roasted Red Pepper Pesto with Sunflower Seeds

Roasted Red Pepper and Sunflower Seed Pesto at

Traditionally pesto is made with pine nuts.  I do love pine nuts, but wow have they gotten pricey lately. So I decided to switch things up with a little more affordable choice.  Sunflower seeds are full of Vitamin E, magnesium and selenium, so it’s great to use them in other ways besides just roasted and salted as a snack.

Another benefit of this pesto, my kids ate peppers without complaint.  Peppers are one of the few veggies that none of them like.  I was very pleased to find a way we could all enjoy them.  I roasted my own, but you can definitely just use the ones in the jar to save time.

What do you get when you combine red peppers, green basil, and brown sunflower seeds?  Kind of a brownish color.  Yes I admit this is not the most vibrant colored pesto.  It actually tasted great about two peppers earlier but I added  2 more to improve the color.   But I promise the flavor is out of this world. 

What should you do with this pesto?  It’s great on crostini, tossed with pasta, a sandwich condiment, or a dressing for cooked vegetables.  I mixed it with some cream and made a sauce for chicken.

Add all ingredients to a blender and pulse until well blended.  When storing, cover with a thin layer of olive oil to prevent browning.

Roasted Red Pepper and Suflower Seed Pesto at

Roasted Red Pepper and Sunflower Seed Pesto

10 minutes

Yield: Approximately 2 Cups


  • 1/4 Cup Raw Sunflower Seeds
  • 1 Cup Packed Basil Leaves
  • 1/4 Cup Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese
  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
  • 4 Roasted Red Peppers, Peeled and Seeded
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • 1/2 Tsp. Fresh Ground Pepper
  • 1/2 Tsp. Salt


  • Place all ingredients in a blender and pulse until well blended.
  • Store in refrigerator covered with a thin layer of olive oil to prevent browning.
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Shared with:  Whole Foods Wednesday , Real Food Wednesday, and Simple Lives Thursday.

8 Responses to Roasted Red Pepper Pesto with Sunflower Seeds

  1. Just made this to go in a Panini and it was delicious! Great recipe! Thanks!

  2. This sounds just delicious, Sherri! I like how someone with a nut allergy could enjoy this pesto.

  3. This sounds fabulous. Pine nuts have gotten ridiculously expensive! We can’t do dairy so I think I’ll up the content of the sunflower seeds. Thanks for sharing!

  4. What a unique pesto! I like this. I bet it was delicious on a sandwich especially!

  5. Love the idea of sunflower seeds in pesto instead of pine nuts. Beautiful colors too. Great post!

  6. I love roasted peppers! Did you seed the peppers first or just put the whole, peeled pepper in the blender?

    • thewellflouredkitchen

      I roughly peeled and seeded the peppers first. Although I am not a perfectionist by any means, and some seeds/skin definitely slipped in. However they will get blended right up in the pesto.

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