in pursuit of more

living with just a little less

Super Ace Artichoke & Sunflower Spread

Today’s post is dedicated to new friends and old, those who support us through all the tough times in life. Those who believe in us, and see something in us that makes them want to hang with us (or just eat our delicious food, I am totally fine with either or both). Friendships are special, as folks are busy and time is tight. Friends kind of make this girl’s world go ’round and I love any chance to win someone over. What better way to do that than with super homemade food?

This recipe was recently inspired by the creamy texture of canned artichoke hearts. Blended together with a few winners like the protein-loaded sunflower seed and made rich & sophisticated by the addition of roasted pepper, this spread is dressed to impress – it can be made totally vegan as the cheese is optional – and is full of delicious and healthy ingredients!

Super Ace Artichoke & Sunflower Spread:

(1) cup raw sunflower seeds
(2/3) cup olive oil
(1) clove garlic
(1) tsp salt
(1) tbsp fresh thyme
(1/2) bunch chives (about 2 tbsp)
(1) red pepper, roasted, charred and peeled
(4) tbsp fresh lemon juice
(1) 398 ml can un-marinated artichoke hearts (5 each)
(1/4) cup good parmesan cheese (totally optional!)

Begin by roasting the red pepper – this is so easy and fun! Turn the oven on to broil and prepare the pepper by washing it and slicing it in half (no need to do anything else!). Without any oil, add the pepper halves, seed side down, to a flat cookie sheet and pop into the hot oven, on the second rack from the top. The pepper will start to char in the skin after 10 minutes or so – keep roasting under the broiler for 25 minutes or so until the skin is black and has popped off the flesh. Your pepper should begin to smell wonderful too at the finish of this process – enjoy! Remove from oven and allow to cool. Once cool, remove the skins, the top, and the seeds with your hands. They will just fall off easily as the pepper will be well cooked and ready to use!

Next, toast (or roast) about a 1/3 of the sunflower seeds either in the warm oven for a few minutes or in a dry skillet on the stove top. Add the remaining raw seeds to your blender along with the lemon juice, chives, thyme leaves, garlic, and the roasted pepper flesh. Drain the artichokes and save the liquid from the can. Add artichokes to the blender along with the oil, salt, and optional cheese. Once the seeds are toasted perfectly, add them (still warm) to the mixture. Blend all on a pulsing blend and stop here and there to agitate the mixture with a spatula or wooden spoon. Do not do what I do and put it in while it runs! Ooooops! Blend until thick and well incorporated, using additional artichoke water if you need to facilitate better blending. Transfer to your favourite container (this recipe makes a generous amount) and refrigerate. This will keep at least 5 days in the fridge and makes a generous portion!

Enjoy this yummy spread as a base for your next sandwich, as a dip for your next celery snack attack, or to start an evening or gathering with friends and family off on the right foot! We enjoyed this week with a bit of broiled toast – just drizzle a few pieces of old toast with olive oil and pop under the broiler until brown. Another great way to jazz up stale bread! However, you choose to enjoy it, do it well, do it with friends or loved ones, and enjoy!

59 responses to “Super Ace Artichoke & Sunflower Spread

  1. Shira! I love this nod to friendship. Plus, I was on the hunt for a brand new dip to share with, yes, friends. You can’t go wrong with dips. The perfect dinner, in my book! This one looks fun and easy, breezy to make. I also love your table cloth! It’s a beauty. Does it have a history?! Theadora

    1. Thanks Theadora! I just couldn’t imagine life without friends..and totally agree about dip for dinner! The print here is from the Pottery Barn of all places…they are the only nice place settings we own actually – inspired by my love for all things French of course!! I am eagerly preparing for our trip in August….coming your way and oh so excited…
      Hope you are great! I love hearing from you! 😉 xo

    1. Yes! Was feeling bad posting about nuts constantly – hoping this offers a nice alternative to any that can tolerate seeds! And nice not to rely on beans all the time either..! Thanks Gabby! xo

  2. The REAL question is “will this overtake the kale pesto as our favourite IPOM number?” Big ask… Do love an artichoke dip. Mine has ricotta and spinach in it (do you want me to ping it to you?) but yours might be a go for the visiting ‘rents next week… Mum would love this! 🙂

    LOVE that “I am good at thinking” pic. What a great thing to be good at!

    1. Isn’t it just THE most adorable? I’ve a bunch more to share too….
      Only time will tell girl on the fave dip..I think at this point the best I can get is a rival, after all, it’s taxing to love too many things, isn’t it? 😉 And the pesto IS killer..!
      Of course I would love a little ricotta recipe action! Always!!
      Love it!

  3. thats a beautifully written post and a delicious dip! some days i wish i was 7 again to enjoy those simple things in life..:) all my good friends from those years are all distributed across the world.. some in touch some lost. and the pattern continues.. so eventually the sweetest friend for me is hubbs and boy do i feed him well:) and he is one sweet sweetie.

    1. Aw, thank you Richa! That is super sweet – wouldn’t it be good to be young again Even for a moment like this so we can appreciate with truth all the little things…..I sometimes wish!
      I am (just a little) jealous of your hubbs, he is ONE lucky guy! Your stuff always looks drool worthy…and full of soul just like this lovely comment! Thanks girl!

  4. Roasted red pepper and artichoke–what a great combination! I also like the idea of sunflower seeds in place of other nuts–especially the super-expensive pine nuts that would be my first impulse here. Thanks for the great idea!

    1. Thanks Eileen – for stopping by and for your comment! Couldn’t agree more about the pine nuts..they are not even a thought for me anymore. I do try my best to stick to reasonably attainable ingredients, so everyone can enjoy! Hope you like it! 😉

    1. Thanks and so true about the seeds! They are easily forgotten, such a humble little seed – it’s about time they got some glory, hey? 😉

  5. I love that you dedicated your post to family and friends – that’s really cool 🙂 The quote by Democritus is just so true. I took a class led by Bikram in LA when I was in there, and he said that our God is our soul, and you just need to look ‘inside’. I thought that was the best thing he said all class – that went for TWO hours! But I loved it. Thanks for sharing a lovely recipe that I know I would thoroughly enjoy. I am always the one to order a Mezze plate 🙂

    1. Thanks Marina! How exciting was Bikram’s in LA? That would be so cool…TWO hours?! Amazing – was that the first time you had taken a class led by Bikram himself? I can imagine how awesome that was! I just love his attitude and approach to yoga! 🙂
      This dip would be puuuuuuur-fect on a mezze plate (my fave too!) xo

      1. It was pretty serendipitous that he was even there – he only teaches Saturdays at 10am and this was the first time he’d been back in 3 weeks. I ‘scored’! I had been to his classes a couple times before but this time around I knew what to expect so wasn’t feeling as intimidated about the whole thing. Bikram talks you through the class so much that it goes for a while… but you leave feeling pretty relaxed. I had the best Mezze Plate at Urth Caffe in LA. I know you’ll love that place. Match green tea latte with moroccan mint – amazing. Great post Shira 🙂

        1. Oh that drink sounds dreeeeeeamy – what a score indeed on that timing! Some things just line up nicely sometimes don’t they….

          1. It’s great, especially with soy. Soy + powdered matcha + mint syrup. I encourage you to make it at home if that’s your thing – it’s easy and such a craving curber! RE: timing – I definitely am trying to let go of expectations and didn’t even call ahead to ask if Bikram was teaching… I thought I’d approach it all with a yogic mindset. And when I saw him, I was SO happy! He corrected one of my poses… nicely!

          2. Awesome! I love having poses corrected, individual attention is wonderful in those packed classes!
            I have a few tins of matcha in my fridge…you’ve just reminded me! Maybe that’s an upcoming post now! 😉

  6. What a pretty, sunny color! I’ve never bought artichokes that were not either fresh or marinated. I can’t see any reason not to use marinated artichokes here — I can always drain them and cut down on the olive oil. If I experiment successfully I’ll report back.

    1. Thanks – would love to hear!! The canned ones just come in water – and the oil marinated would be great! Would love to hear how it turns out – keep us posed! Have a fabulous night! 🙂

  7. Your photos make everything look tasty! Even the bread! I’m really wanting to try this spread. We just started making our own home made hummus – I wonder why we even did store bought in the first place. Home made is always more healthy….and delicious 🙂

    1. Homemade hummus is about the best thing in the world (I’ve got my fave version!) – this dip seems very sophisticated – a must try! Thanks! 🙂

    1. Thanks – that’s so nice! I just checked you guys out – and followed you of course – you have a great blog too! Looking forward to sharing…glad you stopped in! Happy Easter!!

  8. I’ll have to try this! Thanks for the idea! I love throwing soaked sunflower seeds, fresh dill, lemon juice, and a little olive oil in a food processor and using that as a sandwich spread with avocado and salad greens. I’m loving your blog!

    1. Thanks Becca – I am so happy you like – comments like this just make my day! 🙂 Love love love the sound of your sandwich spread – you should really post that if you haven’t already! Sounds so good!

  9. I have had a craving for artichokes recently (shrimp as well – which was satisfied by a stop by a local sustainable seafood restaurant and 1 lb of shell on shrimp *yum*) and I just bought sunflower seeds in bulk. I will definitely have to try this out! Looks delish!

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