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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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. This sun cheese sounds awesome! That is so neat, I have to try! Sometimes the alternative cheeses and milks made with nuts can be pricy (like almond milk seems so much cheaper and easier to buy!) but this sounds like it would be a winner! I’m excited to try.

  2. sara from cupcakemuffin.blogspot.com

    Love! These look incredible!!

  3. Jerry from kakkujerry.wordpress.com

    Love the idea of “sun-cheese”! I’ve gotta try this myself…

  4. maura from maurakikstra.com

    Inspiration! I simply can’t wait to try this recipe considering I am dairy free. I also must say . . . your blog is beautiful! Many thanks.

  5. Made this tonight and it was a wonderful light but filling dinner. The suncheese is so good and easy to pull together last minute too.

    • jeanine

      so glad you liked it! (I love how quick it is!)

  6. Though I love cheese, I’m always looking for vegan alternatives to cut down on the dairy in my diet. Can’t wait to try this out, It looks delicious with the tomatoes on top!

    • jeanine

      me to – I find I go through cheese phases then have to scale it back 🙂

  7. Lili

    Made this recipe and WE LOVED IT!!!
    A very creative and nutritious alternative to cheese. Yummy!
    Thank you for your amazing blog. We check it often 🙂

    • jeanine

      thanks!! and I’m so glad you loved it 🙂

  8. sun-cheese sounds very good..also i cant get enough of heirloom tomatoes. i have been eating them with just feta cheese (heaven in my mouth).

  9. Nicole B.

    I have never thought of blending sunflower seeds to make a dip. Thanks so much for the recipe. This is a great idea for an appetizer when inviting guests over.

  10. What a creative and delicious looking idea! I’ve gotta try this and I loooove heirloom tomatoes 🙂

  11. Ella from youtube.com

    This looks WONDERFUL! I’ve made the tofu cheese that goes with your stuffed lasagna shells for several different dishes (including a lasagna that I used zucchini slices as the noodles!). I trust your non-dairy judgement! 😉

  12. Although I’m not allergic to nuts, I’m always looking for other vegan friendly cheeses, this looks like it fits the bill perfectly!

  13. I have a few friends who are allergic to both dairy and nuts, so I’m sure they’d be really excited if I could make this for them. I’m a little excited to try it myself, too. Sounds yummy. Thanks!

  14. What an absolutely fantastic idea to make suncheese. I feel like we (I) can go overboard on all the almond products (and nuts in general) these days so I try to sub in seeds when I can. And I will be trying this out ASAP!

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.