If you want to increase your energy, boost your immune system and improve your digestion, circulation and metabolism, hemp seeds (also called hemp hearts) could be your answer. The soft white and green kernels have many therapeutic benefits. They’re rich in minerals and vitamins and packed with high-quality, easy to digest protein. They’re also an ideal balance (3:1 ratio) of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids and high in gamma linolenic acid (GLA) – all essential nutrients for cardiovascular health and reducing inflammation.
You can add hemp seeds to almost everything – in salads, smoothies, deserts, fruits, stews, stir-fries and other main dishes. The featured image above is the hemp salad that I made this weekend. If you make the salad (recipe below), feel free to change some of the ingredients and add the vegetables that you prefer. I recommend adding fresh seasonal vegetables. A salad like this one can be served as a complete meal or a side dish. However, hemp seeds can make you feel full for a long time and reduce sugar cravings, so for me, a small portion of the salad is sufficient.
Hemp seed salad
Makes one large salad.
1 cup shelled hemp seeds – I like to dry roast the seeds over low-medium heat in a stick-free pan, constantly stirring for a few minutes to bring out the nuttiness and aroma. The seeds should not burn but turn a light brown. Set this aside.
1 cup red quinoa (or white or tri-colour)
2 cups boiling water (add salt or bouillon cube)
3-4 celery branches with leaves, diced fine
1 large pepper (orange, red or green), diced fine
1 medium-size red onion, diced fine
2 generous bunches of curled parsley, chopped fine
Fresh dill weed (about 1 tablespoon), chopped fine
A bunch of fresh basil leaves, chopped fine
Lots of fresh cherry tomatoes sliced in half
Sea salt and ground pepper
This makes plenty and you won’t use it all for the salad.
Whisk the following:
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup good quality vegetable oil
2 garlic buds, pressed
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
Before adding the quinoa to the water, dry roast the quinoa in a stick-free pan on high heat. Stir frequently until they pop and smell like popcorn. Some will turn brown. Then add to the boiling water and lower the heat.
On low heat, let the quinoa simmer with the lid off and until all the water is absorbed (15-20 minutes). Do NOT stir them – they will get mushy. To check if there is no more water in the pot, simply poke and make a well to see the bottom of the pot. If you can’t see any water, then they are done. Take the pot off the heat and give the quinoa a gentle stir.
Transfer the cooked and steamy quinoa to a large bowl. Add the hemp and gently mix together. Set aside and toss gently several times until cool. Do not put a lid on the bowl.
Add all the remaining veggies, herbs, salt and pepper. Toss gently. Then, slowly drizzle the vinaigrette into the salad and keep tossing and drizzling until the salad is moist but not wet. Keep tasting with a clean spoon until you find that it tastes right. Store the remaining vinaigrette in the fridge. Let the salad marinate for at least an hour, stirring from time to time. If need be, adjust the vinaigrette, salt and pepper before serving.