Since moving to the great country of Denmark I have discovered that Danes are very traditional people that live for their customs, especially when it comes to food: layer cake for birthdays, rice pudding at Christmas, and always open-faced rye bread sandwiches for lunch.
As far as the last item goes, I understand its appeal; it’s both convenient and versatile, but they are insanely inflexible when it comes to the toppings. Liver paté is a favorite, and must be eaten on rye bread with cucumbers, pickled red beets, salt, and pepper. It also stinks to high heaven, looks like dog food, and is on my hit list of “the most unhealthy things to eat in Denmark”.
At a recent family luncheon as the proverbial liver paté was being passed around, I wondered if I could come up with some sort of whole-food alternative that would appeal to the open-faced sandwich lover. I knew would have to taste rich and satisfying, but still be healthy, and it would have to taste great on rye bread!
So, here’s what I came up with: Tomato-Basil Sunflower Seed Paté.
The richness comes from the sunflower seeds, which add fat, and the sundried tomatoes lend a hearty depth on behalf of their highly concentrated flavour. The basil is a great addition since it pairs so naturally with the tomato, as does the lemon, but you could add any fresh herb you like really – dill would be delicious, or maybe even cilantro.
The other great thing about this recipe? It’s raw! And by soaking the sunflower seeds overnight, you liberate all of their life-giving nutrients, making this spread, oh about a thousand times healthier than any old liver paté. Indeed.
This is a great sandwich spread, but it is also tasty as a dip for raw veggies. You can even make “boats” out of cucumber by making a lengthwise down the middle, scooping out the seeds and filling the center.
Why sunflower seeds?
Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of vitamin E, the body’s primary fat-soluble antioxidant. Vitamin E travels throughout the body neutralizing free radicals that would otherwise damage fat-containing structures and molecules, such as cell membranes, brain cells, and cholesterol. Vitamin E has also been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer, help decrease the severity and frequency of hot flashes in women going through menopause, and help reduce the development of diabetic complications. In addition, vitamin E plays an important role in the prevention of cardiovascular disease.(1)
Tomato-Basil Sunflower Seed Paté
1 ½ cup shelled sunflower seeds
10-12 sundried tomatoes
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
juice + zest of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup fresh basil, chopped
1 tsp. honey or agave nectar
1 tsp. tamari
sea salt + pepper to taste
1. Place sunflower seeds in a bowl and cover with water. Soak for at least 4 hours if possible, overnight is best. Drain and rinse.
2. Pour boiling water over sundried tomatoes and soak for 20 minutes or so, until they have softened. Drain, reserving liquid. Roughly chop tomatoes and set aside.
3. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until desired consistency is reached. For a creamier texture, add tomato soaking liquid one tablespoon at a time (I used about 4 or 5 tablespoons of liquid in total).
4. Serve and enjoy! Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days.
Well, the results are in: the Danes love it! I served this to the family at lunch yesterday and they gobbled it up. I know that it’s not going to completely replace the liver paté, but once in a while, it’s a healthy break from tradition.
source: World’s Healthiest Foods