Hemp seeds and hemp protein are two of the best forms of protein we have available to us in such a small serving. They’re not just full of all the essential amino acids, but also bring omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, magnesium, and iron to the table as well. Their green hue denotes their natural chlorophyll content and their mild, yet nutty taste is something most anyone would enjoy. The taste of hemp is also pretty handy when it comes to creating recipes.
For one, you can take this versatile seed and use it in both creamy, crunchy, sweet, or savory dishes. And while most people use it in smoothies and raw desserts, hemp seeds and hemp protein have more going for them than those two types of dishes alone.
Do yourself a favor – pick up a bag of hemp seeds this week (or try some hemp protein powder). You can find them at any health food store or online. Choose organic, non-GMO, and do your best to buy the plain, unsweetened kind, versus those flavored that have added sugars. Not only is hemp inexpensive per serving, but it’s also help keep you full and makes you feel all around great!
If you don’t tolerate dairy, nuts, and grains, you can easily use hemp to replace all of those foods. Try these out:
1. Non-Dairy Dressing
Hemp seeds make a great dressing ingredient because when blended with a liquid of choice (non-dairy milk, apple cider vinegar and water, or even mustard), they turn into a creamy, thick dressing that resembles many of the dairy options you grew up loving. Want a spicy flavor? Just add some cayenne, or even Sriracha sauce to the mix.
To make hemp dressing: Use about 3 tbsp. hemp seeds, and 2 tbsp. liquid and then add any spices or condiments you’d like to add too. Blend in a small blender or food processor and pour onto your next salad, roasted veggies, or any entree of your choosing.
2. Peanut Butter Alternative
Hemp seed butter is incredible, but be warned, it’s also really green despite tasting out of this world! It doesn’t taste like peanut butter, but has that same rich flavor and absolutely no allergens. Its flavor is more buttery, and almost sweet with an earthy background to it. Hemp butter is higher in fiber, magnesium, protein and iron than peanut butter, and is a breeze to make.
To make hemp seed butter: Add a cup of hemp seeds to your food processor or high-speed blender with either 1 tsp. non-dairy milk, a tsp. hemp oil or even coconut oil, or just 1 tsp. water to get it blending. Feel free to make a plain hemp seed butter or add some vanilla, cinnamon and other additions to the mix if you like. Spread this on crackers, sandwiches, add it to smoothies, or do whatever else you’d normally do with nut butter spreads. May we suggest using it in Hemp Seed Butter Protein Bars? It’s much cheaper to make at home than it is to buy it in stores and actually tastes much fresher that way too.
3. Make Grain-Free (or Gluten-Free) Porridge
If you’re avoiding grains for whatever reason, then you can use hemp seeds to make your own grain-free porridge. After all, almost nothing beats breakfast like a warm bowl of cozy grains, but when your stomach doesn’t tolerate it, porridge usually takes a back seat on the breakfast train. So to use hemp seeds in replacement to grains for porridge recipes, it works best to combine hemp seed protein (more flour-like) and hemp seeds to get a better texture, but you could also use another grain-free flour like coconut flour or almond meal to mix with your hemp seeds too. This will give it a fluffy, creamy texture similar to other style porridge recipes you’re accustomed to.
To make the porridge: Warm 1/2 cup warm almond or other choice of non-dairy milk on the stove (not boiling, just over medium heat). When it starts to warm up, pour the milk in a bowl, stir in 3 tbsp. hemp seed protein powder, coconut flour, or almond flour. Then stir in 3 tbsp. hemp seeds, any spices you want and your choice sweetener. Try topping it with some goji berries, cranberries, pumpkin seeds, or a freshly sliced banana. It’s quick, easy, and so healthy!
This form of porridge will lend you anywhere from 13-20 grams of protein depending on what specific ingredients you use from those listed and will provide you with omega 3 fatty acids, iron, and magnesium.
Or, if you enjoy gluten-free oatmeal just fine, try adding hemp seeds in your oatmeal to make it nuttier and creamier. While you can top oatmeal with hemp seeds, stirring them into the oatmeal while it’s warm really takes things to a whole new level. Think rich, buttery oatmeal (without the dairy of course!). It’s quite addicting though; just be warned!
4. Turn it Into Moo-Free Milk
Food Porn Vegan Style/Flickr
With hemp seeds, there’s no need for store bought milks that have additives or flavorings you might not want or revert to dairy-based milks that hurt your health. Just make your own hemp milk instead! It’s easy enough for anyone to do and might just become your new favorite. You can use this milk anywhere you’d normally use non-dairy milk and it has the most incredibly nutty, mild flavor that beats out any store bought version.
To make your own hemp milk: Blend 1 cup hemp seeds (either shelled or whole) with 3 cups water, a pinch of salt if needed, sweetener of choice (date, stevia, fig), and blend in your blender. Strain in a nut milk bag or cheesecloth over a bowl and squeeze the bag or cheesecloth to remove all the milk. Pour the milk from the bowl into a well-sealed (preferably glass) container or a toxic-free colored container to prevent light from making the milk go rancid. Feel free to also mix hemp seeds with almonds, flax, or even coconut to make your very own milk blend if you’d like some variety and even more nutrition. Keep 4-5 days in the fridge max.
5. Non-dairy Cheese
This trick is incredibly simple and one of the healthiest ways to enjoy non-dairy cheese since it’s free of preservatives. You can use it on mac and cheese, in salads, or even to make a pizza! Most non-dairy cheese recipes uses cashews as the base, but you can easily sub in hemp seeds for a richer flavor (and healthier omega 3 fats and protein).
To make a 1/2 cup of non-dairy cheese (about 2-3 servings worth): Blend 1/2 cup hemp seeds with 2 tbsp. liquid such as non-dairy milk or water, and 1-2 tbsp. nutritional yeast depending on how strong you want your cheese flavored. For those of you new to the idea of nutritional yeast, this powdered whole food tastes like cheddar and has high amounts of B vitamins and protein. Not to worry, it’s an inactive yeast so it won’t upset any intolerance issues you might have to other food-based yeasts.
Once the hemp seeds, liquid and nutritional yeast are mixed together, you’ll have a cheesy-flavored paste that you can spread on sandwiches, use it on a pizza crust, or even mix it in hummus if you want! It’s also great thinned out with more liquid as a salad dressing and is so much healthier than what you’d find in stores. Play around with the ratios of liquid to dry ingredients until you find just the right texture that suits you best or even turn it into pesto if that’s more your thing.
We’d be a little amiss if we didn’t mention that hemp seeds are great for using in replacement to flour and in baking desserts and raw treats, so don’t limit these precious seeds to smoothies alone. For those of you that love hemp protein, be sure to check out 5 Things to Do With Hemp Protein You Haven’t Tried Yet and if you’re still not convinced to add hemp seeds to your diet, then see why hemp seeds are amazing sources of protein, especially for those on a gluten and grain-free diet!
What’s your favorite way to use hemp seeds or hemp protein?
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