How to Make Sunflower Seed Meal – A Cheap Almond Meal Alternative

Sunflower seed meal

I have been eating a gluten free diet for around six months now. However I never really got into gluten free substitutes, like bread and pasta, partly because they are so expensive and partly because they are usually made from refined white grains, which I try to avoid. For the most part I eat meals that are naturally gluten free, like baked potatoes, dosa and roast chicken, but sometimes I make my own substitutes like socca pizza

So when I had a craving for hot cross buns I started to look for gluten free recipes that didn’t use white flours. There were two types of recipes, those using coconut flour and those using almond meal. Coconut flour is horrendously expensive here and also requires a lot of eggs, so I decided to go the almond meal route.

Almond meal is also quite pricey, but I had some in the freezer that I’d bought on sale. I was planning on making some more by grinding up whole almonds in the food processor, then started to wonder if I could grind something else up instead. The almond flavour wasn’t essential to the recipe, it was just a substitute for flour. I decided to try making my own sunflower seed meal and use that as a substitute for half of the almond meal. Where I live sunflower seeds are about half the price of almonds, so that would save me quite a bit.

Sunflower seeds

To make sunflower seed meal, just process the required amount of sunflower seeds in the food processor until they form a fine meal. This took just over one minute in my food processor, but I stopped it every 15-20 seconds to check it. You don’t want to process it too much or you will end up with sunflower seed butter!

Almond and sunflower seed meal

That’s it, and you could also use this method to make your own almond meal or any other type of nut meal. Just a word of warning though, my hot cross buns ended up turning green the day after they were baked. With a little help from google I found out that baking powder turns sunflower seeds green. So maybe keep that in mind if cooking with it for other people! It is still completely safe to eat.

So where is the recipe for the grain free hot cross buns, I hear you ask. I’m not going to share that with you today, because mine turned out like this:

Grain free hot cross buns

Not very pretty, but they did actually taste good. You can find the original recipe here, if you’re interested, including a picture of what they should look like! I don’t think the cracking was because of the sunflower seed meal, I think it was to do with me shaping them.

What kind of foods do you cook/bake for Easter?

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  1. You can do this in the blender, as well, for someone who doesn’t have a high powered food processor. Just stir it up from the bottom a few times, to keep it from turning to seed butter. Turning sunflower seeds into meal is the one of the first steps I use when processing to make my sunflower seed butter recipe.

    I don’t know if you know this, but raw nuts and seeds contain phytic acid, which binds magnesium, calcium, iron and zinc, making those minerals unavailable to the human body. Toasting the nuts or seeds disables the phytic acid, allowing the body to absorb key minerals. (Soaking in water for a day also disables phytic acid.) So, I toast my sunflower seeds before turning into butter or meal. Toasting also makes for a crisper seed/nut so it processes easier, and gives good flavor.

    Eating raw nuts and seeds occasionally won’t harm a person significantly. But someone who is relying on seed meal as a gluten-free alternative to flour, on a regular basis, could wind up with mineral deficiencies.

    • Thanks so much for that info Lili, I’d heard about soaking and then dehydrating nuts as a way to get rid of phytic acid, but had written it off as too difficult to do. I didn’t know that toasting nuts and seeds can also have the same effect (as well as making them tastier!). I’ll definitely be doing that from now on 🙂

  2. Anonymous says:

    I don’t need gluten free things, but the thought of sunflower flour sounds good. Do you notice any difference in the taste or does it just blend with the other flavors?

  3. Oh wow, I wanted to see the green hot cross bun photo!

    I try to be GF, but it’s a try, rather than a flat out ban. Which means that I have been consuming hot cross buns this last week. I haven’t eaten them prior to this week, for both the gluten and the sugar reasons. But I do like them, and if I wait til Sunday (for the no sugar Lent to expire) I won’t get much enjoyment, as they leave the shops. I’m not sure I’ll put in the effort to make GF ones (but perhaps one day I should put in the effort to make a real go at being GF and see what impact it has).

    Have a great Easter EK!

    • I tried to take a photo of them, but you couldn’t really see the green colour because it’s quite dark.

      I cheat very occasionally on the gluten free diet, since I have an intolerance rather than coeliac disease, but it’s usually when I’m at other people’s houses. I always regret it the next day, but sometimes that slice of cake is just so tempting! I think most people benefit from cutting out or reducing their gluten though.

      You have a great Easter too 🙂

  4. De Klein says:

    Thank you for all your post. It is an inspiration to us. Trying to live and eat healthy and trying out new foods and different ways to prepare.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Thank you SOOO much for sharing this information. It made such a huge difference for me! I used to grind seeds with Vitamix and it always turned to a butter so fast. The food processor totally resolved this issue and it fits in way more seeds!!!

  6. Anonymous says:

    The reason for the green using sunflower seed flour is it’s reacting to the aluminum in the baking soda. Just use aluminum free baking soda and that will stop your baked goods from turning green.


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