Healthy Ingredient of the Week – Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are fun to munch on – and they’re a much healthier alternative to other crunchy snacks like chips and pretzels.  Sunflower kernels, the edible portions of the seeds, are excellent sources of Vitamin E, Vitamin B6, thiamin, and magnesium, and good sources of fiber, protein, and iron.  A handful of sunflower seed kernels can make for a satisfying snack, but why limit your consumption solely to snack time?  Try topping salads, cereal, or oatmeal with the kernels, or incorporate them into a main dish, like the one below.

Linguini with Blue Cheese and Sunflower Seeds

Ingredients
10 ounces whole grain linguini
1 shallot or 3 green onions
2 teaspoons canola oil
3 ounces blue cheese
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
1¾ cup Greek yogurt
½ teaspoon white pepper
⅓ cup roasted sunflower kernels
Chopped parsley, to taste

Instructions

  1. Cook linguini according to package directions.
  2. Peel shallot or onions and cut into small pieces.
  3. Sauté shallot or onions in canola oil. Add yogurt. Heat until sauce thickens.
  4. Crumble blue cheese with a fork, add to yogurt mixture, and heat until melted, stirring occasionally. Season with white pepper.
  5. Add ¼ cup sunflower kernels to the blue cheese sauce.
  6. Serve the sauce over the hot, cooked noodles and top with chopped parsley and remaining sunflower kernels. Serves 4.

 Recipe adapted from the National Sunflower Association 

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