No matter how they’re prepared—roasted, salted, or plain—sunflower seeds are a fantastic snack. They also taste wonderful in salads. But if you’re lacking sunflower seeds and need them for a dish or just as a snack, you might be searching for some alternatives.
What are the finest alternatives to sunflower seeds? Whether you would be using them in a salad or on their own, the finest sunflower seed substitutions will vary. Pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds, chopped nuts, poppy seeds, and hemp seeds are some of the best alternatives.
Continue reading to learn about the alternatives, how to use them in lieu of sunflower seeds, and how they stack up to the real thing to help you discover the ideal replacement for your need!
What Are Sunflower Seeds?
To select the best sunflower seed substitute, you must first understand what sunflower seeds are. Sunflower seeds are seeds extracted from the flower head of the sunflower plant. A single sunflower can hold up to 2,000 seeds!
Sunflower seeds are found in black and white striped shells, and each one must be removed before eating. Sunflower seeds have a pleasant and nutty flavor and a soft yet firm texture. They can be eaten raw, roasted, salted, in salads, or as part of a trail mix.
Sunflower seeds are high in beneficial fats and nutrients, making them not only tasty but also nutritious.
The Best Substitutes For Sunflower Seeds
There are several excellent substitutes for sunflower seeds, but you must first analyze what you were using them for in the first place to determine the ideal option. Take a look at the alternatives to sunflower seeds listed below and choose the one you believe will serve your needs best.
In many applications, pine nuts are preferable to sunflower seeds. They cost a little more than sunflower seeds, but their superior taste makes up for the difference.
Pine nuts are a wonderful substitute for sunflower seeds and can be used in many of the same ways. They are a great addition to salads and may be sprinkled on top of baked goods.
Pine nuts are almost identical to sunflower seeds in appearance and size, and they share the latter’s moderate nuttiness.
Pine nuts may not taste exactly like sunflower seeds, but they have such a wonderful taste on their own that you won’t really notice the difference.
1. Pumpkin Seeds
Sunflower seeds are a wonderful substitute, but you can also use pumpkin seeds in almost the same way. Despite being a little bigger than sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds are still small enough to be added to salads, baked products, trail mix, or just eaten on their own when salted and roasted. Compared to sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds have less of a nutty flavor, but they still have a wonderful flavor and can fill the void.
Due to its larger size and ability to double as a snack, pumpkin seeds can even be used in smaller quantities than sunflower seeds. Additionally, they are simple to store, so you don’t have to worry about them expiring. Additionally, pumpkin seeds have a satisfying crunch that is enhanced by roasting.
2. Whole Foods Market, Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds are the closest option to sunflower seeds in terms of taste and flavor, but they are a little smaller in size. Both sunflower and sesame seeds have a nutty, buttery flavor. Although sesame seeds are not as nutritious as sunflower seeds, they are pleasant enough to compensate.
Sesame seeds are not ideal for snacking because they are much smaller than sunflower seeds, but they are excellent for salads, baking, and even some cooking! The advantage of utilizing sesame seeds is that they are inexpensive and come in large quantities that will last you a long time!
3. Spectrum Essentials Organic Ground Premium Flaxseed
Flax seeds may not be the first thing that comes to mind when considering alternatives to sunflower seeds, but they are a viable option. They have a satisfying crunch and a delicious flavor. They can be substituted for sunflower seeds in a variety of recipes and applications.
You definitely won’t be able to munch on flax seeds due to their small size and lack of satisfaction, but they can be utilized in salads, baked products, yogurts, and even breakfast meals. You may also crush them without sunflower seeds to make “sunflower butter”!
4. Fisher Chopped Walnuts, 32 Ounces, California Grown Walnuts
Sunflower seeds can be easily replaced with chopped nuts, which are not only cheap but also readily available. Chopped nuts have a wonderful crunch and nutty flavor, and they may be prepared in many ways and flavored in many ways.
In place of sunflower seeds, you might use peanuts, cashews, almonds, or walnuts. These are great for snacking, or for using in recipes like trail mix and granola bars.
Salads can be topped with a variety of chopped nuts, and their flavor is enhanced when they have been roasted and lightly salted. Mixed nuts can be used for sunflower seeds for a more flavorful and crunchy snack.
In the event that you only have whole nuts on hand, you can easily chop them with a knife or pulse them for a few seconds in a food processor.
5. McCormick Gourmet, Poppy Seed
Although poppy seeds are not the best replacement for sunflower seeds, there are several situations in which they might be successful. Poppy seeds can be added to baked products, salads, or even oats, yogurt, or smoothies. They can’t be eaten as a snack like sunflower seeds can, though.
Even though poppy seeds are tiny, they still have a wonderful crunch and some nutty flavor, though not as much as sunflower seeds. Poppy seeds certainly have a fantastic flavor on their own, and while they may not taste exactly like sunflower seeds, your meal won’t suffer because of it.
6. Hemp Seeds, 16oz; 10g Plant Based Protein
Hemp seeds are a little more difficult to get, but if you haven’t tried them yet, they could be a terrific substitute for sunflower seeds in a variety of dishes.
Hemp seeds can be used in smoothies, oatmeal, and as a topping for some sweets. They have a strong herby flavor and lack the nuttiness of sunflower seeds, but they add a nice flavor to anything they are added to.
You may also use a combination of flax seeds and hemp seeds, or sesame and poppy seeds. This is a terrific method for making granola bars and yogurt toppings that have a nice crunch and a lot of flavor!
7. Final Thoughts
If you find yourself in need of sunflower seeds but don’t have any on hand, there are some excellent options to consider. You can choose from delicious pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, chopped nuts, or even poppy seeds – and they’re all suitable for a variety of uses and recipes!
Pumpkin seeds or chopped nuts are the greatest options for snacking, but all of the others can be used to make granola bars, top oatmeal, yogurt, and smoothies, or even sprinkle on top of salads.
As with sunflower seeds, you can experiment with spices and seasonings to achieve the ideal taste. Roasting and salting assist to add crunch and taste as well!
Can I use chia seeds in place of sunflower seeds?
You can swap chia seeds for sunflower seeds, but your substitution options are fairly restricted. Chia seeds are fantastic for smoothies, oatmeal, and puddings, but they are far smaller than sunflower seeds, so you will likely not achieve the same result. They may not have the same crunchiness as sunflower seeds, but they are a good substitute if you have no other option.
What do sesame seeds taste like?
For such a tiny seed, sesame packs a lot of flavor. They can be utilized in either sweet or savory applications because to their sweet, mild, and somewhat nutty flavor.