How to Make an Easy 5-Minute Green Onion and Sunflower Seed Pesto Sauce


John D Lee is a chef and restauranteur living and working in Chiang Mai, Thailand. He's always loved to cook.

5-Minute Green Onion and Sunflower Seed Pesto Sauce

5-Minute Green Onion and Sunflower Seed Pesto Sauce

Green Onion Pesto Recipe

Green onion pesto—some call it a poor man's pesto. But it's perfect for those days when pine nuts are a touch pricey or when fresh basil is just out of season and not available.

I actually like it better, but it's sort of a different beast, and although you could use it as a pasta sauce, I like it as a garnish, stirred into mayonnaise, or serve it at the restaurant as a topping for crispy, fried sweet potato fritters.

The itemized recipe as follows does give amounts, but please take the quantities as given with a grain of salt. This is a terrifically easy recipe that consists of a few good ingredients thrown haphazardly into a blender. It's a taste-as-you-go kind of process and one that should be started and finished within about 2 minutes! It goes (almost) without saying as well that this recipe is well open to modifications, interpretations and complete changes in direction!). Leftover pesto will last a few days covered in the fridge.


  • One big bunch (about 1 pound) of green onions trimmed to remove the white bottoms (you only want the less assertive greens here)
  • 1/4 cup of shelled sunflower seeds
  • The juice of 1 to 2 limes
  • 1 clove of garlic (don't even bother to peel it—just pop er' into the blender!
  • 1/4 to 1 cup of vegetable oil (or any mild tasting oil) Using less will result in a thicker pesto, one that can be formed as a garnish. Using more oil will result in a more sauce-like pesto—a la traditional basil/pine nut pesto.
  • Salt to taste


  1. Chop the green onions roughly and toss into the blender along with the nuts, the garlic and the lime juice.
  2. Turn on the motor and drizzle in the oil until the desired consistency is reached
  3. Season to taste with salt
  4. The end

Do this once, and you'll see how open to adaption this technique/recipe is.


  • switch the green onions with cilantro
  • try it with olive oil and lemon
  • try it with different nuts
  • mix it with sour cream for veggie dip
  • toss it on hot pasta
  • keep it thick and spread on toasted baguettes for sandwiches
  • toss it with simply steamed new potatoes
  • use it for a 10-minute dinner as a coating for simply broiled white fish fillets

There are endless variations. So good, so easy.

How to Make Italian Basil Pesto


michigan on April 21, 2012:

This sounds tastier than regular pesto! Thanks x 3!

Kavita Kapoor from London on September 26, 2010:

Ooh this sounds yummy!

I'm going to try this, thanks for sharing

Related Articles