“As a vegan mom, I’ve had many people ask how my children feel about eating vegan food. Do they miss meat at home? What about ice cream? And where do they get their protein?” says Julie Haspel, the Greenpoint resident behind the popular food Instagram, @NYCVeganMom. “My answer has always been that our approach to food as an exciting adventure remained unchanged after I became vegan; fried tofu with broccoli and chili crisp, arancini filled with vegan cheese and a classic favorite, nut-free sunflower seed pesto with whole wheat spaghetti
topped with roasted chickpeas, are some of the delicious vegan dinners my teenagers love.”

All of the ingredients for her pesto recipe listed below are available at various Greenpoint markets, including Market on Kent and Greenpoint Natural Market, as well as the McGolrick Farmers Market. “The greenmarkets offer an endless supply of local vegetables to add variety to plant-based meals,” Haspel adds.

Teenagers or not at home, whip up her beloved pasta recipe with local Greenpoint ingredients:

Sunflower Seed Pesto with Whole Wheat Spaghetti Topped with Roasted Chickpeas

Serves 4-6



One 15 oz. can chickpeas, drained, rinsed and dried as much as possible
Salt and pepper
¼ cup sunflower seeds
2 cups packed basil leaves
¼ tsp. salt and fresh pepper
¼ cup grated vegan parmesan (Violife prefered)
1 large garlic clove, chopped
½ cup plus 1 tbsp. olive oil
Juice of half a lemon
1 lb. whole wheat linguine or spaghetti

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Toss chickpeas with 1 tbsp. olive oil on a sheet pan. Sprinkle generously with salt and roast for 30 minutes, tossing occasionally.
  2. In a food processor, combine sunflower seeds, basil, ¼ tsp. salt, a few grinds of pepper,vegan parmesan and garlic and process until finely chopped, scraping the sides once or twice. With the motor running, add olive oil in a thin stream. Taste and add more salt if necessary.
  3. Cook pasta in salted water according to directions. Reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water before draining. Add lemon juice to pesto and toss with drained pasta and reserved pasta water. Top with roasted chickpeas and serve with vegan parmesan on the side.

Join the Conversation


  1. While this. meal looks tasty even for a non vegan/veggie it is an exception.

    What I mean by that is for me and at least many non vegan/veggies I know the worst thing for a vegan cook to do is to make an imitation of hamburgers, franks, French fries etc. with vegan ingredients.

    They taste horrible to a non vegan/veggie.

    Better to stick to meals like the one mentioned or pure veggie/fruit ones.

  2. I’ve been following Julie Haspel’s fabulous recipes for years.
    They are wonderful and creative. I hope she publishes her recipe for vegan sourdough waffles. They are scrumptious!!!!

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