Top 5 Ways to Use Hemp Seeds
Learn how to use healthy, plant-based hemp seeds in the kitchen with these top 5 tips from health expert Sharon Palmer.
Hemp is enjoying a well-deserved comeback and I’m celebrating! One of my favorite plant-based foods, hemp has finally shed confusion over any connection it to its cousin, the marijuana plant. While both of these plants belong to the cannabis plant group, they are very different. Hemp plants have an extremely low cannabinoid content (the substance that gives marijuana plants their potency), meaning that hemp seeds do not make you high when ingested and are completely safe. In fact, hemp seeds have quickly gained popularity, landing in health food stores, and even mainstream markets across the country, like Trader Joe’s. And why not? They are tasty, a go-to addition to any dish, and they’re so nutritious!
It gets better—the hemp plant is also used to produce everything from clothing and shoes to paper and insulation. Though it used to be primarily grown in Canada (Check out my blog on my visit to the hemp fields of Manitoba, Canada), this highly sustainable crop that requires lower inputs of water, fertilizer, and pesticides than other common crops, was legalized to be grown in the U.S. in 2019. Good news all around for this tiny seed that’s high on health for us and the planet.
Hemp seeds provide an impressive nutrient load:10 grams of protein and 10 grams of heart-healthy omega-3 and omega-6 fats per ounce (about three tablespoons), along with fiber (3 grams), iron (20% DV), thiamin (25% DV), magnesium (45% DV), zinc (20% DV), manganese (110% DV), and various phytonutrients. While the health research on hemp is in its infancy, there’s a lot to love about these seeds. The versatility of hemp seeds makes it extremely easy to incorporate nutrients into almost any meal of the day, as they can be consumed raw, cooked, baked or roasted!
Top 5 Ways to Use Hemp Seeds
1. Sprinkle Them Over Everything! Their nutty flavor, fabulous nutrition profile, and ease makes them ideal toppings for cereals, chia seed pudding, plant-based yogurt, salads, casseroles, avocado toast, grain bowls, trail mix, and beyond. Not only do hemp seeds pair well with just about any dish, but they also provide an additional source of protein, fiber, and omega-3s!
2. Bake with ‘em. Hemp seeds are fabulous stirred into breads (banana bread is fabulous!), cookies, bars, and fruit cobblers. They can also be incorporated into plant-based, guilt-free muffins made with real veggies, such as these chocolate zucchini power muffins and zucchini carrot spice muffins. Yum!
3. Blend Hemp Seeds into Smoothies. Pack protein and healthy fats into your next fruit or veggie smoothie with a spoonful of hemp seeds. It’s a great energy boost for breakfast or anytime pick-me-up that will keep you feeling full!
4. Season it Up! If you’re in the mood for a flavorful, savory dish, don’t miss out on the savory appeal of hemp seeds stirred into veggie burgers, veggie meatballs, casseroles, or even breadcrumb toppings. In order to obtain the right texture for plant-based burgers and meatballs, I highly recommend blending the hemp seeds in a food processor with some seasonings, seeds, and nuts of your choice. Add any other veggies and plant-based proteins—bell peppers, carrots, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, beans, cilantro, parsley, and more—to the hemp seed mix for a nutrient-dense combination.
5. Spread it On (Thick)! Hemp seed butter is a delightful, nutrient-rich (and green, literally!) spread for your next obsession—sandwiches, toast, pitas, and more. Rich and hearty, this could be your next “avocado toast,” for real! Flavor it up with various garden-fresh veggies for a savory dish OR with naturally sweet fruits for a satisfying, protein-packed nutritious snack.
For other guides to enjoying more whole plant foods, check out these: