The lovely Erin from Well In LA has shared her obsession for hemp hearts… What’s a hemp heart, you make ask? Read on! And don’t forget to tell us what veggie food you are obsessing over lately (send to nomoredirtylooks at gmail dot com).
Dietary leanings: Vegan and veggie 95% of the time; allergic to dairy and sensitive to gluten; and a diet that consists of lots of avocadoes, sprouted grains and healthy fats!
Ingredient: Hemp Hearts (sorry dears, despite the name the only “high” here is an energy rush from a superfood)
Known health benefits: If you eat a veggie, vegan or raw diet you’ll love hemp hearts as a source of plant-based protein. Hemp hearts are a complete protein, have essential fats, vitamins and enzymes. In fact, hemp hearts have more Omega 3 fatty acids than any fish. Omega-3s are important for keeping our brains and our hearts in tip-top shape, as well as being beneficial in the prevention of heart disease, cancer, arthritis and inflammation.
My favorite way to eat it: In a smoothie! On top of salads and in raw superfood brownies. Any superfood that combines with chocolate is an automatic favorite food for me. Hemp hearts have a creamy texture with a light, nutty flavor. A few of my friends say that they remind them of pine nuts, but I find the flavor profile to be closer to a walnut with a dash of quinoa.
What I really love about hemp hearts is that they are a complete protein and source of healthy fats which is not only great for your internal organ, they’re incredibly beneficial for beautiful skin. Essential fatty acids have been found to help reduce photoageing, slow wrinkle formation and prevent the thinning of skin over time. Sign me up, please! I love the added benefit of a cognitive boost from this skin-saving superfood. I’ll eat a tablespoon of hemp seeds by themselves in the afternoon if I’m feeling a little sluggish (all-natural instant energy boost!).
Because the flavor profile of hemp seeds is so subtle it goes well with almost anything, kind of like chia seeds. One of my current favorite smoothies is a blueberry and banana smoothie. Adding in the hemp hearts gives it the perfect boost of protein to make it an all-natural post-workout recovery meal. Blend one cup of frozen blueberries with one banana, 3 tablespoons of hemp hearts, 1 tablespoon of bee pollen and one-third to one-half cup of almond milk. If you want to green it up a bit, add a handful of spinach. You may find yourself, like me, adding hemp heart seeds as little superfood sprinkles on every meal throughout your day.
I’m on a big seed kick lately. It all started when I (successfully!) recreated my favorite salad in the whole entire world. It’s this carrot and avocado one* from ABC Kitchen here in New York, and despite how unspecial it sounds—carrots are carrots, avocados are avocados—it’s shockingly delicious. One reason: The sesame and sunflower seeds it calls for on top.
Since I like to take liberties with recipes, I decided to stock up on pumpkin and hemp seeds** and include those as well. Of course, whenever you make something at home that calls for a teaspoon of something you wouldn’t otherwise buy, you’re stuck with the “What do I do with the rest?” conundrum. Well, I’ll tell you:
I’ve been putting nuts and seeds on everything. Who knew simple seeds could make such a big difference on your old standbys? Not this guy.
Here’s why hemp seeds are good for you: They’re high in easily digestible protein, which means they don’t make you bloat like some other vegetable protein sources like whey and soy. They also have the 3:1 omega 3 to 6 ratio (that’s food-nerd speak for “good”), a nice amount of fiber, and more essential fatty acids than anything else in nature—including flax seeds, which I could never get into, frankly.
Here’s how to store them: In an airtight container or airtight resealable bag, in the fridge. Airtight is important; otherwise the natural oils can go rancid.
Here’s where to buy them: At any health food store, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, etc. Go with organic.
And finally, here’s how I like to eat them…
1. Raw in Greek yogurt or a warm breakfast cereal. Do this with some nuts, coconut flakes, dried fruit and any other seed you have handy for a tasty breakfast high in plant-based protein and healthy fats.
2. As part of a nut-and-seed crust for fish or tofu. Dry toast your seeds together in a cast-iron skillet—no oil, medium heat, until they start to pop and crack. Turn off the heat, let them cool and them combine with a little dijon and honey for the most delicious crust ever.
3. In a smoothie. Just toss ‘em in there.
4. Dry-toasted with spices then sprinkled on a salad or some kale. Same dry-toasting method as above, but this time with spices you like. This brings out the nuttiness of the seeds and with a little cumin (or whatever), it can completely transform something as simple as steamed kale or salad.
5. Baked into homemade granola bars. I’ll admit that I have not done this yet, but I’m going to try this recipe from My New Roots, the best food blog in the world, for Totally Baked Hemp Protein Granola Bars this week.
Are you into hemp seeds? Some other seeds? How do you eat them?
* The recipe is in the new Jean-Georges cookbook, Jean-Georges Cooks At Home (a few more of his vegetarian recipes here), which I have been tearing through at an incredible clip. I swear I’ve made almost all the salads already—and there are many.
** Can’t get high off of them but yes, they are from the same plant.