I have been intrigued by the popularity of “nut meat” lately – not only is fun to say (say it five times fast!), but all of the recipes I’ve seen for it seem to be crazy creative. See, for example, this raw walnut taco meat, or these sunflower seed patties. Plus, nuts and seeds are pretty amazing for your health, especially when soaked a bit prior to use. So when I was flipping through my copy of Choosing Raw and came across a recipe for “Dilly Raw Vegan Sunflower ‘Tuna’ Salad”, I knew I would have to give it a try. (Side note: Gena Hamshaw, author of Choosing Raw, takes a very healthy and well-reasoned approach to eating raw foods; her cookbook is beautiful and everything I’ve tried out of it has been fantastic, especially the “Chocomole”.)
“Dilly Raw Vegan Sunflower ‘Tuna’ Salad”, aside from being a mouthful to speak, is a simple recipe that can be thrown together in the blender in a few minutes. It relies on sunflower seeds, copious amounts of fresh dill, dill pickles, lemon juice, onion, and dulse or kelp granules. That last ingredient is new to my pantry – it’s basically pulverized kelp (seaweed), and it’s there to impart a salty-sea flavor (indeed, it’s often sold as a salt alternative). Kelp granules look almost like poppy or chopped chia seeds, but they smell like the beach – you know, if the beach was packaged in tiny little canisters and shipped all over the country.
In Gena’s recipe, the sea-flavoring is rather mild, and the recipe is almost as reminiscent of a coleslaw as it is a tuna salad – but it’s still quite flavorful. The soaked-and-obliterated sunflower seeds impart an almost tuna-like texture, though I found them just the slightest bit crunchy, which is fine with me (a longer soaking time would probably help with this – I only let them soak 2 hours). The thing is – I was never crazy about tuna salad (or fish in general), and I think I like this mild version, with its rich amounts of vitamin E and linoleic acid, even better!
Here’s a similar recipe for raw tuna salad from Gena (unfortunately the recipe for the version I made is not available online). That version uses dulse flakes, which serve the same purpose as kelp granules, but I think it would give you a sense of what raw sunflower tuna is like.
In short, raw sunflower tuna is…. pretty good! Kelp granules are…. interesting. More experimentation is required!