From LIVING LIVELY by Haile Thomas

Sunflower seeds and sunflower butter are great for boosting your brain. Sunflower seeds impact your mental processing powers and your overall mood. They’re rich in thiamine, a B vitamin that increases cognitive function and memory.



1 to 2 teaspoons red Thai chili paste, to taste 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1⁄4 cup sunflower seed butter
1⁄4 cup pure maple syrup
1⁄4 cup tamari (or soy sauce or liquid aminos) 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Two 8-ounce packages tempeh, cut into 1-inch-thick slices


4 cups cooked pad Thai rice noodles (from 8 ounces uncooked)
1⁄4 head red cabbage, thinly sliced
5 small carrots, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
4 mini cucumbers, sliced into thin rounds
2 large bell peppers, any color, sliced into thin strips
1⁄3 cup thinly sliced basil leaves
5-Spice Sunflower Sauce (see below)
2 scallions, chopped
Raw sunflower seeds

  1. To make the baked tempeh: In a large bowl, vigorously whisk the chili paste, sesame oil, lime juice, sunflower seed butter, maple syrup, tamari, and salt together. Add the tempeh slices and toss to combine, making sure all the slices are coated with the marinade. Cover the bowl and marinate in the refrigerator for 11⁄2 to 2 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  3. Place the marinated tempeh slices along with the remaining marinade on the prepared sheet pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the tempeh is golden and the marinade is soaked in.
  4. To build the bowls: Divide the noodles, veggies, tempeh, basil, sunflower sauce, scallions, and sunflower seeds among four bowls. Enjoy!

5-Spice Sunflower Sauce


A ridiculously creamy, sweet, salty, spicy, nutty sauce that pairs gorgeously with noodle stir-fries or as a dip for spring rolls!

1⁄3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sunflower seed butter
1⁄3 cup plus 2 tablespoons hot water
1 tablespoon tamari, soy sauce, or liquid aminos
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon sriracha
3 medium garlic cloves, peeled
1⁄2 tablespoon brown rice miso paste
1⁄2 to 1 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder, to taste
Kosher salt to taste

In a small blender or food processor, combine all the ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy. Cover and refrigerate in an airtight glass container for up to 3 days.

From LIVING LIVELY by Haile Thomas Copyright © 2020 by Haile Thomas. Reprinted by permission of William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.