No, hemp seeds won’t get you buzzed, but they do have a ton of highly attractive health benefits. The little guys, which are the seeds of a variety of the cannabis sativa plant, only have a minimal amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, which is responsible for getting you high). That means they don’t have the same effect as smoking a joint. That said, chowing down on hemp seeds, which can be eaten raw or ground into a powder, can have a host of positive effects, including packing a ton of fiber, which keeps you full and can help with weight loss by working as an appetite suppressant. Hemp seeds, also sometimes called hemp hearts, also contain a ton of protein (crucial for building muscle) and are a good source of essential fatty acids like omega-3s (which slash the risk of heart disease and support brain health).

Looking for some smokin’ hot ideas for how to work hemp seeds into your diet? Read ahead.

In Salads

Oh She Glows

Hoping to add some heft to a wimpy salad? Hemp seeds might be just what you’re looking for. Grab a handful and sprinkle them on your go-to greens for a source of plant-based protein with a nutty flavor that will complement the rest of your plate. Or make hemp seeds the star of the show like in this hemp seed tabouli. Try the recipe.

In Smoothies

The Garden Grazer

Taking a spoonful or two of hemp seeds and putting them into your smoothie is a great way to get some additional nutrients like iron and vitamin E in every sip. Once blended, you’ll hardly notice they’re there. Get this recipe.

To Make Hemp Milk

The Toasted Pine Nut

Making your own milk sounds like it’s super complicated, but try your hand at it and you’ll realize it’s far easier than you think! Blend the hemp seeds with a bit of water with some vanilla extract and voila! You’ve made dairy-free milk in less time than it takes to drive to the grocery store. Try this recipe.

To Make Salad Dressing

Healthful Pursuit

EVOO may be the O.G. of healthy oils, but there’s another player in town: hemp seed oil. The oil, made by pressing hemp seeds, lends a strong savory flavor to dressings, while also providing a helping of magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc to your salad. Try this recipe.

To Make Cheese

Eating Bird Food

You already know that hemp hearts are a super versatile food, but it may surprise you that they can even serve as a base for making your own cheese. Pairing hemp hearts with nutritional yeast and blending them leaves you with a final end result that spices up pasta, pizza, and more. Try this recipe.

In Desserts

Karissa’s Vegan Kitchen

Hemp seeds play well with oatmeal not only in your breakfast bowl, but can also serve as the base for making freakin’ delicious oatmeal cookies. Start your day off on a high note and work hemp hearts into your baking to boost the protein of muffins or breakfast bars. Try this recipe.

Blended Into Hummus

Diet Taste

Hummus is definitely a healthy food staple, perfect for a quick snack with pretzels or spreading on pita. But the same old, same old supermarket flavors can get a bit rote, so why not mix things up by making your own? Blend hemp hearts with softened chickpeas and a host of spices for a crowd pleasing spread. Try this recipe.

Eat Them Toasted

Sure, hemp seeds can be just eaten raw out of the package like sunflower or pumpkin seeds, but toasting them adds additional complexity to their flavor. Cook them with your favorite oil on a stove top or in the oven for a hands-off approach, and then use them to top salads, veggies, or grain bowls. 

Header image courtesy of Pixabay.

Kelsey Butler is a reporter and editor based in New Jersey. She has written for a number of health and lifestyle publications, including Women's Health, Brides, and NBC News Better. Hot sauce, black coffee, and bacon make up 50% of her diet.
See more articles