Heirloom Tomato Sun-Cheese Toasts

Heirloom tomato sun-cheese toasts (vegan) / @loveandlemons

You may have noticed that I love making non-dairy sauces & spreads of out cashews, walnuts, and almonds (to name just a few). Every time I post a nutty sauce, I get a comment or two from readers who are allergic to dairy and nuts. (And I totally feel for you). Hopefully, you are not also allergic to seeds because my current obsession is this spread made from sunflower seeds.

Heirloom tomato sun-cheese toasts (vegan) / @loveandlemons Heirloom tomato sun-cheese toasts (vegan) / @loveandlemons

Sunflower seeds blend up to become a similar texture to ricotta, although the flavor of this spread is a bit more rich & tangy. I’ve posted similar recipes in the past – this time I’ve altered it to use easier-to-find ingredients. I’m hoping you love it as much as I do.

I made this last weekend and slathered it on grilled baguette along with some beautiful brandywine heirloom tomato slices. It would also work well as a dairy/nut replacement on this fig pizza, on this peach salad, on these avocado tartines, and also dolloped onto these baked sweet potatoes. (If you can’t tell by now, I make this all the time).

Heirloom tomato sun-cheese toasts (vegan) / @loveandlemons

Of course, summer snacks are best enjoyed on pretty plates! These Cool Montecito Salad Plates from Q Squared are a fun & festive way to serve brightly colored appetizers. Love and Lemons readers will receive 20% off purchases. (enter code: LOVEANDLEMONS)

Heirloom tomato sun-cheese toasts (vegan) / @loveandlemons

heirloom tomato sun-cheese toasts

Serves: about 1.5 cups of sunflower spread, enough for many toasts
for the sun-cheese:
  • 1¼ cup hulled sunflower seeds, soaked & drained*
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, plus a bit of zest
  • 1 cup water (more as needed)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
for the toasts:
  • 1 baguette, sliced
  • mix of heirloom tomatoes
  • micro sprouts or sliced basil
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  1. Blend together the sunflower seeds, garlic, white wine vinegar, lemon juice, lemon zest, water, and salt. Start your blender on slow and add more water if you need to get the blade moving. Taste and adjust seasonings. Chill for 15 minutes, or until ready to use.
  2. Slice baguette & brush slices with olive oil & a bit of salt. Grill each side (or toast them). Top with a slather of sun-cheese, sliced tomatoes and sprouts or sliced basil. Drizzle a little more olive oil on top and add more salt & pepper to taste.
  3. Store extra sun-cheese in the fridge, it'll last at least 2-3 more days. If it starts to separate, just give it a stir.
*I should add that if you are allergic to nuts, make sure the seeds you buy are not processed in a facility that processes nuts. It should say on the label.

If you can't find hulled sunflower seeds (I get mine in the bulk bins and central market), this will still work with un-hulled.

If you have a vitamix, you don't need to soak your seeds. If you're using a regular blender, it'll be easier to blend if you soak them for a few hours or overnight.

This post was created in partnership with Q Squared NYC. All content, ideas, and words are my own. As always, thank you for supporting the sponsors that keep us cooking & sharing!

recipe inspired by Casa de Luz.


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  1. Karen Lipsey

    Do you need raw sunflower seeds to make the sun cheese, or can you use roasted and unsalted or roasted and salted?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      raw sunflower seeds are best

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      also, make sure they’re raw, hulled sunflower seeds. Hope you enjoy!

  2. Sandy

    My mom is allergic to both dairy and nuts so I am going to try and make this sun cheese for her ^_^. She’s unfortunately also allergic to tomato so I’ll make her the avocado toasts.

  3. This looks perfect! I’ve been on a BIG sunflower seed kick lately, adding them to pestos, salad dressings and my sons favorite seed bars, etc. I can’t wait to add this recipe to my repertoire. Thanks for always providing such creative inspiration and gorgeous photos!

    • jeanine

      you’re welcome! I’ve never thought of adding sunflower seeds to pesto – I’ll have to try that!

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.