Toasted Sunflower Seeds are a great nut-free alternative snack to serve at parties.
Some of my favourite snack foods were discovered on the playground of my primary school.
Even in 1980s North Yorkshire, chocolate and sweets were exiled from the school – forbidden contraband that even the boldest child would not attempt to smuggle under the eager eyes of the dinner ladies.
Of-course there were the permitted nibbles to snack on at morning break – flapjacks, clementines, glossy apples etc. But then there were the sophisticated kids – pushing the envelope with what seemed to be the most exotic of tasty tidbits. One friend used to bring in sheets of dried seaweed – toasted and seasoned with a very light sprinkling of salt. I would happily barter away my box of raisins for just a solitary sheet of seaweed.
And then there was my friend Grace.
Our Mother’s had teamed up at the school gates on our first day in infants – becoming lifelong friends from that moment onwards. They went on to embark on vegetarianism together, jointly gave up all chocolate, successfully sued the local gym when the membership rules changed to favour working men at the detriment of working women (girl power!), and set up a wholesale club to distribute bulk-bought foods to all their friends. It was the latter which led to an embarrassing faux-pas at one parent’s evening when my teacher mis-read my Mother’s Day essay and thought I had written “My mum and Grace’s mum do SUMO together” … The wholesale club was in fact called SUMA…!
Anyway, back to the break time snack… Grace would periodically arrive at school with a small Tupperware box of toasted sunflower seeds. Dark and crispy – almost like a dry roasted peanuts but BETTER (and nut-free!) The memory of this snack would swim into mind every so often, yet it took me some twenty years before I finally asked for the recipe.
They are wonderfully easy to make, and perfect at this time of year when you need a non-crisp-or-nut-based nibblet to serve as a snack with drinks at a party. I also like to make these in summer when I will drizzle a large pinch over salads for added crunch.Print
- 200g sunflower seeds
- 60ml soy sauce
- Heat a large pan over a medium-high heat. When the pan starts to steam slightly, tip in the sunflower seeds and over them around with a wooden spoon. Keep an eager watch of the seeds to make sure they don’t start to burn (you may need to adjust the temperature down if they start to darken too quickly). They are ready when the seeds have the golden colour of good toast.
- Remove the pan from the heat and quickly pour over the 60ml of soy sauce. Stir the seeds together with the wooden spoon, breaking up clumps which form. The residual heat of the pan should evaporate all the liquid – however, if the mix still seems wet, return the pan to a low heat to dry up the mix.
- Finally, turn the seeds out onto a sheet of greaseproof paper, tapping them into a flat layer with the back of the wooden spoon. Allow to cool fully before crumbling any clumps with your hands to separate the seeds. Store in an airtight jar and keep in a dark cool place.
- Prep Time: 2 minutes
- Cook Time: 5 minutes
- Category: Snacks
- Cuisine: Snacks
Keywords: Snacks, Nibbles, Drinks Parties, Party food