Sunflower Seed Paté and Avocado Mousse Two Ways—Raw Tacos and Cucumber Appetizers (GF,V)

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So I have this "secret weapon" party dish. Meat eaters love them. After I get people hooked, I'm asked to bring them to the next party or potluck. I like to make it two ways, depending on the party—as raw tacos and as cucumber rounds. Both look complicated, but are so easy to make! Soak the sunflower seeds a few hours ahead of time and either of these can be done in half an hour.

A few years ago, a friend passed on a raw sunflower seed dip recipe from a cookbook. I took the idea and ran with it to make it my own.

I rough chop the jalapenos and shallot, but you don't really have to even have to do that. Literally throw everything but the water and herbs in the food processor to begin.

Start with a few pulses and then process way! You will have to scrape down the sides a few times to chase any stray seed that try to get away. And then slowly pour in the water while processing to give it that paté consistency.

Now on to the fresh herbs. So I use flat leaf parsley and sometimes chives if I have them in my garden. You could certainly use cilantro instead and many prefer it. I won't touch the stuff because I am one of those people who thinks cilantro tastes like soap. It seriously grosses me out. But if you happen to like soapy water, give it a try instead of the parsley. Throw it in and pulse for about 15 seconds and your sunflower seed "meat" is done!

Now on to the decadent part—the avocado mousse. I could easily eat this stuff right out of the bowl. And you really only have to make half a batch to have enough for either of these recipes, but if you make the full batch, you will thank me later. (Think with chips, dollop on a bowl of chili, on your bean burritos, etc. the possibilities are endless!)

Of course, I personally use vegan sour cream. It is made with tofu. I promise, you can NOT taste the difference. But there is a nutritional difference. If you compare two tablespoon of tofu vs dairy sour cream, they are similar in calories and total fat, but the tofu sour cream has half the saturated fat, no cholesterol compared to 20 mg in the dairy version. However, the tofu version has 160 vs. 15 mg of sodium and 9 g vs. no carbs in the dairy version. So if you are worried about your heart health, this is a great alternative. If you are worried about the carbs...well, don't have that piece of toast for breakfast so you can do your heart happy with tofu sour cream. And if you just aren't willing to give it a try, certainly use your dairy sour cream but go for a light version.

So how do I know when to make the raw tacos and when it's better to make the cucumber rounds? If it's the kind of party where I think there will be regular sized napkins I make the raw tacos. And if it's the kind of party where I think there will just be cocktail sized napkins, I make the neater cucumber rounds. Also, if it's a party where there will be a lot of men, I make the tacos. I kid-you-not, the meat-eating men are always the ones who ask me to bring the raw tacos to the next party.

Both are delicious. Both are meaty. Both are filling. Both are sure to steal the show. 


Sunflower Seed Paté with Avocado Mousse—Raw Tacos and Cucumber Appetizers (GF,V)

Time: 2 hours 30 minutes total, 30 minutes of hands on time

Ingredients:
Sunflower Seed Paté
1 1/4 c. raw sunflower seeds, unshelled
4 oz. sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil or 1 c. sun-dried tomatoes dried (never packed in oil)
2 jalapeños, de-seeded and de-veined, large chopped
1 shallot, chopped or 1/4 c. green onions chopped
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp. ground ancho chili powder
2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. agave nectar
5 tbsp of filtered water
1/2 c. fresh parsley or cilantro
Handful of chives (optional)

Avocado Mousse
2 ripe avocados
Juice from 1 lime (or two if dry)
1/3 c. tofu sour cream (or regular if you are not vegan)
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. course ground black pepper

Directions:
Sunflower Seed Paté
Soak raw sunflower seed meat for 2 hours, strain, rinse and strain thoroughly. Place into high powered food processor. Add rest of ingredients except fresh herbs. Pulse to start and then run continuous to combine, scraping down sides as needed. Once it starts resembling a pate, add the herbs and pulse a few more times to combine.

Avocado Mousse
Once you have cleaned your food processor, add the meat from the two avocados and the rest of the ingredients. Process for approx. 20-30 seconds until light and fluffy. This makes more than you need…because this stuff is good on everything!


Presentation:
The options are unlimited!
For raw tacos, fill romaine or bib lettuce with the paté, spoon in on the avocado mousse and add chopped tomatoes.
For the cucumber appetizers, slice an english cucumber into rounds. Spread paté on, add a dollop of avocado mousse and top with a small diced tomato.

Serves 8.


Nutritional Estimations Paté: Calories 197.  Total Fat 16 g. Cholesterol 0 mg. Sodium 201 mg. Potassium 92 mg. Total Carbs 8 g. Fiber 3 g. Sugars 4 g. Protein 6 g. Vitamin A 17%. Vitamin C  48%. Calcium 3%. Iron 14%.


Nutritional Estimations Mousse: Calories 63.  Total Fat 7 g. Cholesterol 0 mg. Sodium 162 mg. Potassium 128 mg. Total Carbs 3 g. Fiber 2 g. Sugars 0 g. Protein 1 g. Vitamin A 1%. Vitamin C  5%. Calcium 3%. Iron 0%.

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I love having leftovers of each of these elements after I have made my party appetizers. I save each for the next day to toss over some chopped lettuce But my favorite leftover use is to make a rice bowl with cooked brown rice, black beans, the paté and mousse, topped with fresh diced tomatoes from my garden.

I'd love to hear what variations you come up with, so please feel free to share in the comment section!