Garlic and Chive Sunflower Seed Cheese ~ dairy and soy-free

The information provided in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice.
It is not a substitute for your doctor's care plan or advice.

This garlic and chive sunflower seed cheese is not only dairy-free, but it's a vegan cheese that's nut and soy free as well!

{My son has had life-threatening food allergies since he was born – and one of them is to dairy.  I've had to work hard to make dairy-free alternatives for him like Easiest Homemade Coconut Milk, Easiest Almond Milk, dairy-free ice cream, this Whipped Cream Substitute and rice milk.  

Dairy free cheese has been one of the hardest things to come by for him.  This almond feta recipe has served us well, but I am so happy to have another vegan cheese for him now. This recipe today is from Candace who is the former owner of Candida-free Candee.  Her blog is now gone, but the recipes are still here, thankfully!  

This is Candace's narrative of how she developed this recipe.   Her story is sooo familiar. Just like what I went through with my son in Food Allergies and Eczema–from Despair to Healing. You'll see what I mean if you read this post. Talk about a restricted diet :(!  It's worth it to keep your baby healthy, though!}

I though it would be very appropriate to share this sunflower seed cheese recipe here, at Whole New Mom, because it's basically Adrienne’s recipe! You see, I haven't been able to eat dairy for years now and I had given up the hope of finding a delicious, candida-friendly substitute.

Every vegan “cheese” I tried either had an unpleasant taste or some ingredient I either couldn't pronounce or eat. Then one day, I stumbled upon Adrienne’s recipe for Almond Feta and it was amazing!

I thought it was such a brilliant idea to make cheese out of almonds. While I hadn't tasted real feta in years, her recipe had all the creamy, salty, tangy flavor that I remembered, with just a hint of nuttiness. I was ecstatic! All of this flavour without a week of bowel discourse that usually followed any dairy consumption? Yes please!

We ate it on crackers, spread it on celery, added it to this Spaghetti Squash Salad , crumbled it on pizza,threw it in wraps, and made it the filling for some killer empanadas. It was nice to finally have a tasty substitute for cheese on hand and I knew I would be making it often! I think it would be great on salads like this Broccoli Salad too.

The Need Sunflower Seed Cheese

Fast-forward a few months and I discover, much to my chagrin, that my brand new breastfeeding baby didn’t agree with my new culinary discovery. It turned out she was having a bad reaction to the almonds in that tasty cheese, with symptoms that included bad gas, crying all night and blood in her stool, yikes!

This all added up to one extra tired and concerned mama and, not to mention, one cranky baby. Her doctor told us she likely had an intolerance to the almonds and I should test out his theory by avoiding almonds for 10 days and then reintroducing them.

I followed his instructions only to confirm that almonds were surely the culprit. The doctor also mentioned that she might grow out of it (and I think she since has) but in the meantime I’d have to go without.

Now, I know there’s controversy over the issue of whether to avoid foods during breastfeeding or not, but after seeing my baby in pain, along with several sleepless nights, good ol’ instinct told me to just cut it out.

Eliminating almonds from my diet was a bit of a challenge as they had become a staple for me. It wasn’t just almond cheese but also almond milk and even almond butter. What was a girl to do?

Well, I switched out my almond milk for hemp milk and turned to cashew butter for an occasional spread (had to cut back when my candida returned) but how to replace my new found cheese?

It took me a few days of thinking, but it finally came to me when I spotted a giant bag of sunflower seeds I had purchased to make sunbutter (still haven't) in the cupboard. Sunflower seeds would work for cheese, right?

I mean they have a bit of a stronger flavour, so I might have to add something to mask the taste of the seeds. Then it hit me – garlic and chive.

Please note – there are a few affiliate links in this post.  If you click on them and make a purchase, I might make a commission. Your support of my blog is very much appreciated and helps keep this free resource up and running!

Well I got on soaking those seeds right away, and 24 hours later we were Vitamix-ing our way back into cheese heaven.

The result was a wonderfully creamy, flavourful sunflower seed cheese that reminded me of the soft spreadable chevre I had enjoyed so many years before. It was delightful.

The sunflower seeds were barely detectable and not at all unpleasant. In fact my sister served this sunflower seed cheese at a birthday party and everyone enjoyed it, even those that weren't non-dairy!

She formed the vegan cheese into a ball and placed it on the BBQ on a cedar plank and it turned out lovely!

Serving Ideas:

Another great thing about this sunflower seed cheese is that it’s nut free and a safe option for most playgroups and schools; a nice bonus for you parents out there. So go ahead, slather it on to your sandwiches, throw it on a pizza and spread it on your crackers…you won’t be disappointed!

This vegan cheese recipe would also be great on:

Focaccia Flax Bread
– on crackers such as these Homemade Crackers
– gently melted and served on main dishes


Garlic and Chive Sunflower Seed Cheese (Dairy and Soy Free)

This Garlic and Chive Vegan Cheese Recipe is a sunflower seed cheese so it's great for almost all special diets. Great as a dip or a spread.



  1. Soak sunflower seeds overnight or up to 24 hours in water with 1 tsp of salt. (Note: If you use already soaked and dried nuts and seeds you will not need to use salt again likely.)
  2. Drain and rinse.
  3. In a high-powered blender, blend the sunflower seeds, and remaining ingredients until very smooth.
  4. Enjoy!
  5. You can bake this vegan cheese recipe as well, but I don’t find it alters the texture much. Here are the directions to do so if you wish.
  6. Preheat oven to 200F. Spread the mixture onto a parchment paper lined pan, or form into a disk, approximately ¾ inches thick. Bake for about 40-50 minutes. You’ll have a firmer top and sides to the vegan cheese, which is quite nice. This cheese will still be very spreadable.


 What would you eat this sunflower seed cheese on?  

CandaceCandace is a stay-at-home-mom, wife, graphic designer and food lover. She loves to make healthy, whole foods that are dairy free and candida friendly. She loves being a mom and is passionate about parenting, living healthy and helping others do the same. She shares her recipes and candida fighting tactics at: You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

These comments do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Whole New Mom, LLC.


    Speak Your Mind


  1. One other thing I wanted to mention. I don’t have a vitamix, but I have one of the high powered ninja blenders. This took about 10 minutes on the highest setting, and I had to scrape down a few times. I’m sure in a vitamix this would be much easier, but if you are like me and haven’t made the investment yet, I just wanted to mention that it did work. Just took some time.

  2. Just made this, its really good. I love the sunflower seed, lemon taste combo. I think i may try this with roasted sunflower seeds next time just to see what the flavor is like.

    • So glad to hear it. I think it will taste more like peanut butter if you use roasted ones so depending on what you want you may or may not like it. Thanks again!

  3. Hi Adrienne,
    Well turns out they might be raw! I thought it might say raw on the bag, but then again if they were toasted, it would be labeled that as well! It doesn’t say either, so I wasn’t sure. I’ll go ahead with them, I’m sure it’ll taste great. Looking forward to it. Thanks!

  4. Hello! I’m excited to make this “cheese” but realized my sunflower seeds aren’t raw 🙁 I’m wondering if it’s still possible to use them? Or do they have to be raw? I have to agree with others, it’s hard to find some nut-free (though I’m in Australia!)
    Thanks! 🙂

  5. hello,can you freeze this and the almond feta?they are so good!

  6. Hi Candace, Can you tell me where you get your sunflower seeds from. All the ones in the stores near me are all made in a facility with other nuts and my grandson is allergic to nuts. I think he would just love this recipe. Thank you

    • I get mine from Country Life Natural Foods. You might want to check them out.

      • Thanks for replying Adrienne. It’s unfortunate but I just checked out Country Life and they do process in a facility with peanuts and tree nuts. My search continues.

        • Their 25 pound bags are different. I would call them and ask. I have always purchased in bulk from them b/c of allergies, especially in years when we were worried about cross contamination. These years we are not as concerned about it but I still do it to save money almost all the time :).

    • Hi Laura,
      Cross-contamination has not yet been an issue for us but I am getting more and more sensitive to things so I may have to find another supply. I am going to check into the big bags of Country Life and see. Thanks for the tip Adrienne!

  7. I have been googling for a sunflower seed “cheese” for a couple of hours now, and you recipe looks great and manageable, yay! I just wondered if you know how long it will keep in the fridge? I have never made one before, and I wasn’t sure how long it keeps for.

    • Hi JJ,
      I am so glad you found this recipe. It is super easy, especially with the Vitamix but I am sure it can work with other appliances. Honestly I keep this in the fridge for two weeks. There is no science behind this decision, that just seemed right to me. It does make a lot of “cheese” although I don’t think we’ve ever had any last two weeks. However, I might freeze some next time. I have not tried freezing but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. But to answer your question I say 2 weeks. Adrienne, how long do you say for your almond feta?

      P.S. I am working on a fermented sunflower seed cheese…yum…I hope =).

  8. Genevieve Kearney says:

    The sunflower chive &garlic cheese is so good we eat it on celery

  9. Quick question, how important is the lemon juice? Id love to make this more my multi allergic 1 year old and citric fruits are a no no. Thanks!

    • Hi Ashely,
      Sorry for the delay. The lemon juice adds tang, so it might taste less “cheesy” without it. I have not tried it but perhaps some nutritional yeast or even some rhubarb juice would work as a substitute. Or even some water kefir or kombucha vingear! I am going to have to try that myself! I hope that helps!

  10. I found this post through the Homestead Barn Hop at The Prairie Homestead. I can’t WAIT to make this cheese! It sounds delicious. Thanks for the great read!

  11. Thanks for this!!! I’ve just never been able to make a good cheese substitute, I just can’t wait to make it 🙂


  12. I had the same question as Joya, so I contacted Candace. She was so nice and got back to me right away. Here is her response: “Thank you for getting in touch with me. It looks like that direction is something that Adrienne popped in there and I can see why you are confused.
    I do not soak and dehydrate first. I soak them overnight or up to 24 hours, rinse, and make the cheese. So just to be clear the seeds are wet when I do it. Maybe she knows something we don’t though!
    I will talk to Adrienne to clear this up, thank you for bringing this to my attention.
    I hope you enjoy the cheese! ”

    I received a second email (wow, great follow-up!): ”
    The recipe has been updated. Adrienne keeps soaked and dehydrated nuts and seeds on hand so that is where she was coming from. So glad you reached out.
    Thank you again!”

    I am so happy I found this recipe. Three people in our family must stay away from dairy. I can’t wait to try it!

  13. Hi there! So when making the garlic & chive sunflower cheese, after you soak the sunflower seeds, should you then dehydrate them? Your ingredients say yes but your directions do not mention the dehydrating process…. Thank you!

  14. I finally made some raw mayo, and love dips, so I had to pin this to my healthy eating board.

  15. I need to try this! It really sounds tasty!