Here’s why you should incorporate healthy hemp seeds into your diet, and how to do it with easy hemp seed recipes and ideas.
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).
Manitoba Harvest Organic Hemp Hearts, $8.49 at Walmart
Perfect for so many dishes!
Looking for some smokin’ hot ideas for how to work hemp seeds into your diet? Read ahead.
1. In Salads
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 Hemp Seed Tabouli recipe.
2. In Smoothies
Taking a spoonful or two of hemp seeds and putting them into your smoothie or Açaí Bowl 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 (but if you don’t mind, sprinkle some on a smoothie bowl to garnish). Get this Chocolate Hemp Power Smoothie recipe.
3. To Make Hemp Milk
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 Peanut Butter Hemp Milk recipe.
4. To Make Salad Dressing
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 Cilantro Lime Hemp Seed Salad Dressing recipe.
5. To Make Cheese
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 Vegan Parmesan Cheese recipe.
Read More: A Guide to Homemade Vegan Cheese
6. In Desserts
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 Hemp Seed Oatmeal No-Bake Cookies recipe.
7. Blended Into Hummus
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 Hemp Seed Hummus recipe.
8. In Hemp Seed Butter
Seed butter is a great allergy-friendly alternative to nut butters, and just as easy to make at home (and flavor in infinite ways). Use it as a dip for fruit, as a sandwich spread with jam or jelly, or eat straight off the spoon (just DO NOT confuse hemp butter with cannabutter). Try this Chocolate Hemp Seed Butter recipe.
9. As a Toasted Snack
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.
10. In No-Bake Energy Balls
Energy bites (or energy balls) are a great no-bake snack that can be comprised of any combo of nut or seed butters and other mix-ins you like. Stir in some hemp seeds (and/or hemp butter) to reap the benefits of these little superfood seeds while you snack.
11. In Granola & Granola Bars
Header image courtesy of Pixabay.