Sunflower Seed and Avocado Pesto


By Dane Feldman

Photo by Dane Feldman.

Quirky pesto recipes are a personal passion of mine and this one is no different. This pesto is sunflower seed-based and is adapted from a recipe written by DJ Molly.

What you’ll need:
1 package Trader Joe’s seafood blend
1/2 cup sunflower seeds, unsalted and shelled
2 tbsp additional sunflower seeds
1 avocado 
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
3 tbsp pecorino romano
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried parsley
Black pepper
Red pepper flakes

Cook the pasta.

While the pasta cooks, combine the seeds, avocado, juice, oil, and a generous amount of black pepper in a food processor. Purée, add cheese, parsley, and basil. Pulse and add more olive oil if needed.

Combine the pasta, seafood, and pesto into large sauté pan once pasta is done. Cook for a few minutes and add pasta water as needed. I used about 1/2 cup.

Serve and add the 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds as garnish. Add red pepper flakes to taste.