Sunflower or Pumpkin Seed Pie Crust: Gluten-Free, Oil-Free

This is my favorite crust, pictured here with our REAL Vegetable Quiche. Not only is it delicious, but it is full of good things for you and is oil-free, gluten-free and soy-free.

1 cup rice flour plus extra on the side for rolling if necessary
1 cup sunflower or pumpkin seeds, soaked in water for at least 4 hours
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

Drain and rinse seeds. Place in a food processor and pulse several times to start forming a paste. In a small bowl mix together flour with xanthan gum. Add to food processor and pulse to incorporate. Add a 1/4 cup of water and pulse several more times. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add another 1/4 cup water and make a dough. Add water as necessary to get a smooth dough and process until mixture clumps into a ball. Remove from processor and place in a small bowl. Dough can be used right away or covered and refrigerated.

Dough may be rolled or pressed into pie shell. If rolling, place dough on a piece of wax paper at least 12 inches in length. If the dough is too sticky you may dust your hands and the wax paper with more flour. Press dough into a flat circle and cover with another sheet of wax paper. Roll out with a rolling out to a circle as large as the pie plate you will be using. Carefully peel off the top sheet of wax paper. Don’t worry if the dough tears or crumbles. You can easily just press it into the pie plate where needed. Turn the dough onto the pie plate, pressing it to match the plate form. Carefully and slowly remove the top sheet of wax paper. Trim edges.

Bake crust at 350F for 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Pour in filling and bake according to recipe directions.

  7 comments for “Sunflower or Pumpkin Seed Pie Crust: Gluten-Free, Oil-Free

  1. Thanks for the excellent explanation on fat vs. oil etc. I was wondering if the pie crust recipe uses whole pumpkin seeds or shelled pumpkin seeds – do you still soak them first if they’re not shelled? I was also thinking of adding toasted pumpkin seed oil to the pie mix, but it sounds like it would ruin the pie since baking has to be greater than 248 F.

    Also, if I add the oil to the pie crust instead, can I safely bake it at less than 248 F?

    • Hi Allen, I used shelled seeds. Soaking helps soften the seeds and make them easier to blend. I am not sure why you want to add pumpkin seed oil especially since it is not a good oil to cook with. You could bake the pie at less than 248F but it will take a lot longer to cook. – Caryn

    • Pumpkin seeds are a whole food packed with nutrition. They contain fat, which is a macronutrient. Oil is a processed food. Pumpkin seed oil is extracted from the seeds, which is a form of processing and removes the fiber. We did not say that this crust was fat-free, it is not, it contains healthy fat from a whole food. But it is indeed oil free. We find that making a crust with fat from whole plant foods, like raw nuts and seeds, is a healthier and tastier choice than a crust made with oil.

      • Oil is merely a form of fat, an unsaturated fat to be exact. It doesn’t matter if it’s been processed or not, the expelling process doesn’t change the nature of the substance. Molecularly it is still oil, just trapped inside the cell walls of the seed.

        • Also, soaking the seeds and putting them through a food processor are two different forms of processing.

          Then baking makes the oil turn rancid faster

          • Perhaps the terms “fats” and “oils” are confusing. Let’s discuss instead the nutrition of pumpkin seeds in its different forms. Eating foods whole, in their original form, is best. Sprouting nuts and seeds increases their digestibility.

            Registered Dieticians Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina write in their new book Becoming Vegan Express Edition: …soaking or sprouting legumes, seeds, and grains increases their digestibility. As their cells take up water, some of the proteins fragment, making them easier for the body to absorb. Soaking also may activate plant enzymes that begin the digestion process. Compounds that can inhibit digestion, such as phytates, also are broken down by soaking, which enhances digestibility… Sprout seeds for added nutrition. Soak them to improve digestibility, increase phytochemical content, and decrease compounds that inhibit nutrient absorption. Select natural seed butters. Use omega-3-rich seeds (chia seeds, hempseeds, and ground flaxseeds).

            Also in their book they include the importance of blending legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds, saying that they contain phytates, or phytic acid which binds calcium, iron, magnesium, and zinc. These phytate-mineral complexes aren’t completely broken down during digestion, so some of the minerals in these foods can’t be absorbed. Enzymes in these foods help release the minerals when they get wet, so soaking, sprouting, juicing,
            and blending plant foods all help release the minerals from the phytate so the body can absorb them.

            Therefore, soaking and blending use the whole food, the whole pumpkin seeds, and make its nutrients more digestible and more available.

            Dr. Fuhrman says this about oil: All oil is 100% fat and contains 120 calories per tablespoon. Oil is high in calories, low in nutrients and contains no fiber. Oil is a processed food, usually extracted from a plant with a petroleum chemical such as hexane. When you chemically extract pill from a whole food (like nuts and seeds and olives) you lose the vast majority of nutrients and end up with a fragmented food that contains little more than empty calories. In addition, the whole plant foods that contain fat also contain various fibers and an assortment of micronutrients like bioflavonoids, that help maintain the freshness of the fat. As soon as the oil is extracted from the plant it begins to go rancid. Toxic by products also develop… When you consume whole foods, such as walnuts, or pumpkin seeds instead of extracted oils you get all of the fibers, flavonoids, and nutrients they contain as well as all the positive health effects. When you eat unprocessed, unfragmented whole foods, you take in fewer calories and get vastly more protective nutrients. Unprocessed seeds provide folate, iron, calcium, niacin, lignans and flavonoids; the oils from those seeds provide none of those.

            Oxidation is what triggers the oil to go rancid. When some oils like pumpkin seed oil are heated too much, the valuable nutrients are destroyed and the oil develops an unpleasant smell and bitter taste. You need to consider the smoke point of the oil. Pumpkin seed oil reaches its smoke point at about 120°C (248°F). Pumpkin seed oil can be used for some baking and warm dishes as long as the heat is kept below the smoke point and doesn’t get too hot for too long. Pumpkin seeds, in their whole form, soaked and/or blended are fine in baked goods and will not go rancid like the oil.

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