There’s nothing I love more than sunflower seeds, for creating blended dips and pâtés. In my attempt to transition Paleoveganista.com into a completely allergen-free vegan food blog, I plan to use seeds as a base (as opposed to nuts) whenever possible moving forward.
Sunflower seeds are quite sustainable when compared with cashews, for example. They are also high in selenium, which is proven to prevent against cancer and other diseases. Additionally, they are rich in Vitamin E, magnesium, folate, copper, and the following B vitamins: Thiamine (B1), Niacin (B3), and Pyridoxine (B6).
I wanted to create a dish that resembled the flavors present in deviled eggs, because the Super Bowl is next month (and I know lots of people are into that). As a child I recall being present nearly-annually at Super Bowl parties, and my strongest memories of those events involved the food served.
Appetiezer-type things, or “finger food”, typically chicken wings, chili nachos, and sometimes deviled eggs. I also remember seeing a lot of vegetable platters with ranch dip, and also trays with baguette slices and spinach-artichoke dip. Since I’ve already done a vegan-paleo rendition of spinach artichoke dip, I thought I’d try my hand at a deviled egg alternative (also involving raw vegetables/crudites).
The key to making a vegan dish taste like eggs is Kala manak black salt. It truly puts the “egg” in Creamy Sunflower Deviled “Egg” dip. Kala manak, otherwise known as “Himalayan Black salt”, ulemani namak, bit lobon, kala noon, or pada loon, is typically imported to the United States and elsewhere from Pakistan. Highly regarded in Ayurveda (traditional Indian medicine), it has a pungent, sulfur-like taste and aroma that lends itself to the success of vegan-izing egg or cheese-based dishes.
Kala manak black salt is typically sold as rock salt, so when I use it as a condiment or seasoning I put it in a salt grinder. However, in this case (since we will be using a blender or food processor) just add the kala manak black salt krystals along with all of the other ingredients:
The other key ingredient here is nutritional yeast. Even though it is marketed and sold, nutritional yeast is derived from a fungus and therefore paleo. Varieties of yeast/fungus can be beneficial, neutral, or harmful. For anyone concerned with the common pathogenic yeast called Candida albicans or for those on a Candida diet: nutritional yeast does not contribute to Candida infections. Benefits of nutritional yeast include its anti-bacterial and anti-viral, and otherwise immune-boosting properties. It is a complete protein and B-complex vitamins including Folate, Thiamine, Riboflavin, and Niacin. Nutritional yeast is also high in selenium. Makes it sound quite similar to sunflower seeds, with the added benefit of even more zinc.
Nutritional yeast is basically a vegan staple, with its cheese-like flavor and high B vitamin content. Most nutritional yeast brands are fortified with B12 as well, making it an important supplement for those who prefer to eat their nutrients rather than take multi-vitamin supplements:
Creamy Sunflower Deviled Egg Dip
1 cup shelled raw sunflower seeds
1 (14 oz.) can unsweetened full-fat coconut milk*
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp kala manak black salt**
1/4 tsp black pepper
*Place the can of coconut milk in the refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours. When you open the can, the coconut cream will have hardened at the top of the can and the oil will be at the bottom. Use a spoon to scoop 1/2 cup of the hardened coconut cream off the top of the can. Try not to avoid any separated oil from the bottom of the can.
Blend coconut cream with the raw sunflower seeds and Dijon mustard. If any water is necessary in order to create a creamy texture, add in Tbsp increments. Once a creamy texture is reached, add the nutritional yeast, smoked paprika, kala manak black salt, and black pepper. Blend until smooth. Sprinkle with smoked paprika before serving, as a dip with raw vegetables, flax crackers, or whatever you prefer.