Hemp seed salad

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.

Bon appétit!


Shelled hemp seeds by: Luděk Kovář
Julie Zimmer

Julie has extensive experience in nursing practice and education in a wide range of fields from intensive/coronary care, to medical-surgical to community and public health. Julie has Bachelor Degrees in Psychology and Nursing, and a Master’s Degree in Community Health Nursing Education. She has taught in faculties of nursing and in various communities in Toronto, Canada and in Geneva, Switzerland, and is a consultant to the International Council of Nurses (ICN). Julie also has years of experience teaching English as a foreign language (EFL) in addition to coordinating an English department in a Swiss private school.

8 thoughts on “Hemp seed salad

  1. Looks great Julie and I definitely want to try it but where do you buy hemp hearts in Geneva? And what is the difference between hemp hearts and hemp seeds? I have come across a few recipes that call for hemp hearts and I have no idea of what to ask for in the shops here.

    1. Hi Joanne, when the hemp seeds are shelled, you get the soft inner kernel and that part of the seed is called the hemp heart. The terms “seeds” and “hearts” are used interchangeably. What you buy in the stores are not the whole seeds but the inner part of the seeds – the hearts. In France and Switzerland, they are called “graines de chanvres décortiquées” and not “coeurs de chanvres”. The natural food store SATORIZ in Ferney Voltaire stopped having them in stock for almost a year because not enough people were buying the product. I couldn’t find them anywhere. I’ve been asking the managers at SATORIZ to have the product back on their shelves since hemp seeds are gaining in popularity, but they were reluctant. To my surprise, last month, I found the “graines de chanvres” back on the shelves at SATORIZ in Ferney Voltaire. And then, I found them again at the Migros in Versoix. I prefer the ones at SATORIZ because the packages are opaque and unlike the ones at the Migros, they don’t have a window for you to see the seeds or hearts (the seeds / hearts are sensitive to light – for info. on this, go to the link in my post titled “Spring veggies with quinoa and hemp hearts” and click on the “helpful tips”). I hope this is helpful. Let me know if you find them. Julie

    2. Well, it looks like hemp seeds have arrived in Geveva and nearby France! I also found them yesterday at the Co-op supermarket in Versoix in a proper package without a window. Can it get any better!? Maybe we’ll be getting the King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour too? 🙂

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