Sunflower Loaf

Although my dad is not a vegetarian, he had attempted vegetarianism years ago, and remembered some foods that he really liked. One of them was sunflower loaf.

A few weeks ago, he bought me some sunflower seeds at the grocery store, and I began plotting to make him a sunflower loaf. He had described the recipe he remembered in a certain way, but I could hardly come close in my research. I was going to try to improvise again, using a recipe I found online (which was very off) and what I remembered of him telling me about the ingredients that were in it.

I explained this to dad, and he decided to look up the recipe, himself. He found a page online called “Magical Loaf Studio”, and put in all but two of the ingredients that he remembered.

Using the recipe that the page generated, I skipped an ingredient that dad didn’t think needed to be in there, missed an ingredient (unfortunately, I didn’t see it on the list until after the sunflower loaf was baked), and added an ingredient that the studio didn’t offer, following some of my dad’s instruction on how to prepare it (the potatoes). I had to do a little improvising, but dad said this comes close to what he remembered. I agree that it is delicious, and plan to make this again, soon. I might use more breadcrumbs though. The original recipe that he found called for 1 cup, but I only made 3/4 cup of breadcrumbs.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sunflower seeds, shells removed (I like using ones that are already roasted, but raw is probably fine, too, and may be healthier.)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil (100% extra virgin, recommended)
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped, or about 1/2 – 1 cup chopped onion (seasoning)
  • 2-3 medium potatoes (4-6 small), peeled and diced (medium or small) or about 2 cups of cooked potatoes, mashed
  • ½ cup soy or almond milk
  • ¾-1 cup breadcrumbs, whole grain/whole wheat recommended (but I used white, because that’s what I had)
  • ½ tsp ground, crushed or rubbed sage
  • 1 tsp basil leaves (crushed, ground, or similar)
  • ¼ tsp Italian seasoning, or 1/8 tsp oregano and 1/8 tsp thyme
  • black pepper (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt or 1/2 tsp sea salt, plus a pinch for boiling potatoes
  • non-stick cooking spray or oil (for greasing pan) (May I recommend coconut oil?)

To Make: 

  1. Place potatoes in a medium sauce pan, pot, or kettle. Fill with enough water to cover the potatoes, at least by half an inch. Add a pinch of salt, and bring them to a boil. Reduce heat to  medium.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. In a blender, food processor, vitamixer, or similar (I used a blender), grind sunflower seeds. I like mine as fine as I can make it. The particles should be very small, almost like flour, but it most likely won’t get that fine.
  4. Combine with breadcrumbs.
  5. Thoroughly mix in seasonings. Only add enough black pepper to taste (if using).
  6. Mix in onions.
  7. After potatoes have boiled about 10 minutes (they should still be at least a little firm, and not watery), remove with a slotted spoon and place into a blender.
  8. Blend together potatoes and almond/soy milk.
  9. Thoroughly mix the mashed potatoes with the dry mixture.
  10. If the batch is watery, add more breadcrumbs and more sunflower seeds if possible. It should not be watery, nor should it be too dry, but should be wet enough to hold together.
  11. Pack into a well greased standard-sized loaf pan.
  12. Back at 400 degrees for 45 minutes.
  13. The loaf should have dried out a bit, although it might still be moist in the center. It should hold together well, when it is finished. You can poke it with a fork, toothpick, or cake tester. I recommend cutting into it a little to see if it will hold together. You can also test it with a cake tester or fork. It may come out sticky and dirty and still be done, but if it’s like custard, it might need more time. It should be solid and golden brown, like a meatloaf, or brown on the top when finished.
  14. Let cool for about 10-15 minutes before slicing.

This was delicious as part of a meal. Dad mashed some vegan mashed potatoes for us, and I made cashew gravy, and enjoyed the loaf with cashew gravy (I think I put cashew gravy on it, if not, it was delicious without anyway). For leftovers, I made a sandwich with the loaf and bbq suace, and made two sandwiches another day with spaghetti sauce microwaved over the loaf. You could also bake either sauce onto it as well. Either way, it’s a delicious loaf!

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