Sunflower Cream Salad with Sweet Taters + Dill Chicks

by Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit) on May 13, 2011

Happy Friday 13th! Good things always happen to me on Friday 13th, so I’m pretty excited to see what flourishes today!


There are a couple of requirements that a salad needs to have in order for me to want to eat it:

  • a good [homemade] salad dressing.
  • lots of spices and flavor.
  • a vast array of different veggies.
  • chewy toppings.
  • starchy toppings.
  • lotsa toppings.

But really though, it all comes down to the toppings.

No toppings? No go.

Some of my favorite toppings as of late have been crackers, bison, smashed/shelled flax seed, avocado, roasted veggies, basil leaves, and flax oil.

I really believe that the best approach to eating clean and staying healthy is loving what you eat. A pile of iceberg + Italian dressing just doesn’t do it for me. I need pizzaz!

And this salad didn’t disappoint.


Sunflower Cream Salad with Sweet Taters + Dill Chicks

Vegan, Gluten free, Dairy free, Refined sugar free, Yeast free, Corn free

Sunflower seed, dill, and lemon dressing poured over dill chickpeas, baked yams and fresh veggies.


Sunflower cream dressing

  • 2/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup grapefruit juice *see note
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 1/4 cup flax seed oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, sauteed
  • 2 tsp dried dill
  • 1/4 tsp Himalayan rock salt
  • 1/8 tsp white powdered stevia

Sweet taters

  • 2 yams, diced – do not peel!
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 1/4 tsp herbamare

Dill chicks

  • 2 cups chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 1/4 tsp herbamare


Feel free to use any thing here – celery, peppers, whatever you have on hand.

  • 8 cups lettuce – I used mixed greens
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 1 English cucumber, chopped


To make the salad dressing: place sunflower seeds in food processor and blend until smooth. It should take about 4-5 minutes and should be the consistency of nut butter. Alternatively, you can use 1/2 cup sunflower seed butter! Once it’s a butter like consistency, add the remaining ingredients and pulse until combined. Set aside.

To make the sweet taters + dill chicks: preheat oven to 375F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place a foil wall down the middle of the cookie sheet. In 2 separate bowls, mix the ingredients for the sweet taters and dill chicks. Place each mixture on either side of the cookie sheet and cook in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until yams are soft. Allow to cool for 30 minutes before using for your salad.

Putting it all together: Fill a big bowl, or a bunch of little bowls with your desired veg. Top with dill chicks + sweet taters, followed by a generous helping of dressing.

Makes 4 entree sized salads + ~2 cups of dressing.

note: I just squeezed the juice from a fresh grapefruit.



I made the mistake of mixing in the flax oil a bit too early and was then worried about the food processor heating it up too much before everything was done. So, my dressing was still a bit chunky. It was really good like this too! Kind of reminded me of Parmesan cheese!

Why shouldn’t we heat flax oil? Flax is a very unstable oil. When it’s heated or left in the light, it turns rancid [same process as with roasted nuts]. The cooler you can keep it, the less damage to the fats. That’s why you always want to make sure that the flax oil you’re buying is in a refrigerator and a dark container.

Are you a fan of flax oil?

What are your salad requirements?

Most importantly: what are your plans for the weekend?

I need to figure out what color we’re painting the bedroom + bathroom next weekend. It’s such a hard decision. Other than that, we plan to clean out the garage, hang out outside, and make some ice cream.

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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn

MY SAVIOR. This dressing looks phenomenal, and I have every single ingredient. I have been on a homemade-dressing-making kick, I can’t wait to try this!!!!


chelsey @ clean eating chelsey

Strange that good things always happen to you on Friday the 13th – although I really don’t believe in all that freaky stuff. :)



Mmmm, that looks lovely! I love yams, and your Dill Chick sounds really good + I love the name ;)
Your photos are so good Leanne, I really find so much inspiration here! Keep it up :D



I think we’re on the same page when it comes to salads! I like them with loooots’a toppings. I love grains on top of a salad – wheat berries, spelt berries, quinoa (okay, not a grain.) And sweet potatoes? best salad addition ever. That together with a killer dressing ;)
Basically, this salad looks like perfection!
Have a happy 13th! ;)


Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga)

toppings ARE the salad..tomatoes and edamame, cucumbers, broccoli…they all must be present. along with stellar dressing. Or else, I get bored in a hurry :)


Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table

Can you please bring this to me for lunch today? :)

I love sunflower seeds – they make me think of summertime and baseball. My salads have to me massive – I add the oddest toppings… but really…. what DOESN’T go with lettuce?

My weekend involves throwing a baby shower for my BFF. Woo hoo!


Tori (Fresh Fruition)

I agree! I love food, and if my meals were bland I would be miserable! Salads definitely don’t have to be boring!


Lauren @ Healthy Food For Living

I couldn’t agree more about toppings on salads! If I’m going to make a meal out of a salad, it MUST have protein, fat, and carbs accompanying it ;).


Faith @ lovelyascharged

Total ditto. I don’t know how many times I’ve packed just a salad for lunch and been severely under-satisfied because there just wasn’t any substance to it!



Bison?! Wow. I’m not a big fan of salads, but this one sounds really tempting. I think you are right though, eating healthy has to include things you enjoy eating otherwise you just won’t be motivated to do it. :)


Alaina Rose @ Sweetness of Life

Delicious! My salad requirements pretty much match yours. And it’s funny because two of my favorite toppings lately have been sweet potatoes and chickpeas. We must be on the same brain frame :-)


Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

brain frame… I’ve never heard that before! Totally stealing your line haha


Alaina Rose @ Sweetness of Life

Haha. Be my guest! :-) I think I stole that one from Woody.



It’s not a salad if it’s just greens, IMO! I love salads, although I actually prefer vinaigrettes over creamy dressings… I’ve never been a fan of the “creamy” consistency type! (Don’t like cream cheese, whipped cream, Thousand Island dressing, or Caesar… Does that make me abnormal? :P) And I am also a fan of flax oil! Makes for a great component of a delicious vinaigrette.

I think my main requirement for a meal-sized salad is just like Lauren’s: it must have protein, fat, and carbs to give it staying power!


Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

I don’t think it makes you abnormal at all!


Virtually Vegan Mama

I’m definitely making this! It looks fantastic!




This salad looks amazing and your photos are be-au-tiful!!!!


lynn @ the actor's diet

my salads need to have a combo of textures and sweet/salty flavors – favorite add ins are trail mix and even muffins/scones!


Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

muffins and scones? I have to try this!



how gorgeous is this salad!


Tiff @ Love, Sweat and Beers

I’m glad I’m not hte only one who needs something “starchy.” I just don’t feel satiated unless I have croutons, a rice cake, a slice of grainy bread, soooomething!
Weekend = concert, beer, friends, and the dreaded spring cleaning
Have a good weekend!



Oh Leanne, I am about to jump through my monitor! That looks fantastic!


Dee of Deelicious Sweets

Your recipes and pictures always look so fabulous! You inspire me to tweak my diet as it’s not near as healthy as yours but it’s not bad either :) You have a wonderful blog!


Maria @ Scandifoodie

This is definitely a dish right up my alley! I love it, can’t wait to make this!



Now THAT”S a salad! It sounds and looks wonderful….never thought to add potatoes or yams, but I like the idea!


(what runs) Lori

Now THAT is a salad. I’m definitely adding this to my MUST makes this weekend. It looks out of control amazing. Seriously… i love every inch of that field of greens.

And yep, Friday the 13th is a good day (long work day though…)


Crystal @YogiCrystal

This salad looks and sounds amazing!! Your pics are so fabulous, there’s a risk I could drool on my computer LOL Another great creation Leanne :)


Sarah@The Flying ONION

This looks fabulous! I’m right with you on the toppings. Bland salads are a no-go! :D

I’ve never actually tried flax oil, but it’s packed with nutrients and healthy omega 3 fatty acids, so I may have to try it. I’ve been wanting to try avocado oil for a while now too. :D



Great looking salad! I’ve never had flax oil!



I totally agree….a salad is all about toppings. Love the dill chicks. I use a ton of cracked black pepper and some kind of dried fruit.


Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

I’ve forgotten how much I love dried fruit on salads. I think figs have to be my favorite!



Looks amazing! I require a nice crunch for my salads. Corn chips!


Hester aka The Chef Doc

Oh my, what a salad! It has so many interesting ingredients!


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