They say that the best things come in small packages, and it couldn’t be more true when it comes to hemp seeds. Tiny, yet packed with essential nutrients and minerals that many of us don't get enough of, hemp seeds are a versatile addition to the diet that can add a nutty taste and crunchy texture to just about anything.
What is hemp seed?
Bursting with nutrition from omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, iron, zinc, magnesium, fiber and protein, hemp seeds stand out as the superstar in the seed word because unlike other seeds like flax and chia, hemp seeds are the only ones that contain all of the essential amino acids. This makes them a complete protein source able to aid in muscle building and repair, which is especially beneficial for vegans and vegetarians who do not consume animal protein sources.
These mighty seeds are a great addition to any diet because they contain more protein per gram (10 grams per 3 tablespoon serving) than beef, cheese, chicken, almonds or eggs (source). Using hemp seeds in a variety of ways is a great way to diversity protein sources consumed on a daily basis while increasing fiber intake, as well---something most other sources of protein do not provide.
Minerals like magnesium, iron, zinc and manganese are abundant in hemp seeds and are needed in biological processes that occur in each one of our cells. Sometimes referred to as “Mother Nature’s muscle relaxant,” magnesium plays a major role in normal muscle contraction and relaxation, making it extremely important for tasks of everyday life and for those who are very active.
Dietary surveys of people in the U.S. show that intakes of magnesium are lower than recommended amounts. Incorporating hemp seeds into foods consumed on a daily basis is an easy, cost effective, and natural way to help boost nutrition and daily intake of trace minerals such as magnesium.
I bought a bag of hemp seeds. How do I use them?
There are so many delicious and easy ways to use hemp to add nutty flavor and crunchy texture to dishes. For those who follow a gluten-free diet, hemp seeds are a great substitute for wheat-based ingredients (think: breadcrumbs or granola). But anyone can make hemp seeds a staple for added nutrition and tastiness. Here are five ways to start:
1. Sprinkle on salads and sides
Hemp seeds can be added to salads, popcorn, yogurt, avocado toast, eggs, roasted veggies, rice, chicken, fish and more. Just sprinkle on a tablespoon or two to instantly transform a dish that offered little to no protein to one that will help satisfy your hunger and keep you fuller for longer.
Using hemp seeds as a crunchy coating for chicken and fish is a high-nutrient, and gluten-free swap to marinades and bread-based coatings.
- Brussels Sprouts Salad with Creamy Apple Cider Vinaigrette
- Hemp Popcorn
- Coconut & Cocoa Greek Yogurt Parfaits
- Hemp Crusted Salmon
2. Add to baked goods, bites and burgers
Take your baked goods up a nutritional notch by adding hemp seeds to things like cookies, breads, muffins, brownies and baked oatmeal. You will most likely forget that you even added them and can feel good knowing your delicious treat also has more protein, healthy fat, and iron than its regular counterpart.
3. Blend with drinks and dressings
Smoothies, dressing and hemp seed milk are all by products of adding hemp seeds to your blender creations. Supercharge smoothies by incorporating a serving a hemp seeds along with greens, fruit, and your milk or choice. Better yet make your own hemp seed milk by combining hemp seeds, water and dates in a blender.
4. Stir into soups and sauces
Have a picky eater in your household? Sneak more nutrition into things like soups, dips, casseroles, pasta sauce, pesto and more by adding hemp seeds! They enhance the taste in a fun and nutritious way that complements the texture--bonus is that once mixed in it’s hard to notice that they are there.
5. Drizzle hemp seed oil
We can’t forget about hemp seed oil, which also has a great nutty flavor! When using hemp seed oil remember it’s sensitive to heat, so rather than frying with it, use it as a finishing oil for pasta dishes, grain bowls, salad dressings or popcorn.
How to store hemp seeds
Refrigerate or freeze hemp seeds to extend storage life. Once opened a bag of hemp seeds can last up to one year in your refrigerator.
Hemp Seed Frittata
Wake up with this fresh mix of summer produce combined with two highly bioavailable sources of protein---hemp seeds and eggs! Use your farmers’ market haul, or leftover veggies from the week to make this summertime frittata. The flavors and textures come together to make a perfect dish for sunday brunch or something unique to bring to a daytime get together.
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
1 medium-sized zucchini, thinly sliced
½ cup hemp seeds + 1 tsp. for sprinkling on top of finished frittata
1/4 cup feta cheese
½ cup shredded carrot
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1. Preheat broiler to high. Brush baking sheet with ½ tablespoon olive oil; add thinly sliced zucchini. Drizzle with remaining olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Broil until lightly brown, about 2 minutes.
2. Lower oven to bake at 375 degrees F. In large bowl, whisk together eggs, almond milk, hemp seeds, shredded carrot, sun dried tomatoes (reserving a couple to sprinkle on top) and salt and pepper. Stir in feta cheese.
3. Pour egg mixture into medium-sized oven-proof skillet. Cover top of frittata with zucchini slices and sprinkle with remaining sun dried tomatoes.
4. Cook frittata until top is golden and center is set, about 18 minutes.
5. Let cool slightly, sprinkle with remaining hemp seeds, slice into wedges and serve immediately. Store leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to three days.
Fat: 13 grams
Saturated fat: 4 grams
Carbohydrates: 7 grams
Sugar: 1 grams
Fiber: 2 grams
Protein: 13 grams