By Maggie Michalczyk, RDN

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts have quickly become one of the most popular sources of plant protein. Explore the possibilities of cooking and baking with Hemp Hearts beyond what you may have thought possible, and reap the nutritional benefits of the many key nutrients they have to offer.

They often say the best things come in small packages, which couldn’t be more true when it comes to Hemp Hearts! Tiny, yet packed with essential nutrients and minerals that many of us are not getting enough of, Hemp Hearts can be a versatile addition to the diet that add a nutty taste and crunchy texture to just about anything!

Bursting with nutrition from omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, iron, zinc, magnesium, fiber and protein, Hemp Hearts stand out as the superstar in the seed word because unlike other seeds like flax and chia seeds, Hemp Hearts are the only ones that contain all 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. Using Hemp Hearts in a variety of ways is a great way to diversity protein sources consumed on a daily basis while adding more fibre as well—something most other sources of protein do not provide.

Minerals like magnesium, iron, zinc and manganese are abundant in Hemp Hearts and are needed in biological processes that occur in each one of our cells. Most commonly known as “Mother Nature’s muscle relaxant,” magnesium plays a major role in 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 United States constantly show that intakes of magnesium are lower than recommended amounts. Incorporating Hemp Hearts 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.

Go beyond the oatmeal bowl with these five tips for cooking with Hemp Hearts.There are so many delicious and easy ways to cook with Hemp Hearts that add a nutty and creamy taste and crunchy texture to your dish. For those who follow a gluten-free diet, using Hemp Hearts is a great alternative in places where wheat would typically be used like breadcrumbs, and granola. Make Hemp Hearts a staple in your house and feel good adding them to just about anything knowing that you’re getting more protein and nutrition in an easy way!

1. Sprinkle on top of salads & sides

Think salads, popcorn, yogurt, avocado toast, eggs, roasted veggies, rice, chicken, fish and more. Adding them on to main dishes and snacks simply by sprinkling a tablespoon or two on top takes a snack that offered little to no protein to one that now has the staying power to keep you fuller for longer.

Using Hemp Hearts as a crunchy coating for chicken and fish is a high-nutrient, and gluten-free swap to marinades and bread-based coatings.

Recipe Suggestions:

2. Add to baked goods, bites & burgers

take your baked goods up a nutritional notch by adding Hemp Hearts 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 Hearts 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 milk by combining Hemp Hearts, water and dates in a blender.

4. Stir into soups & 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 Hearts! 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 Oil

We can’t forget about Hemp Oil, which also has a great nutty flavour! When using Hemp 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.

Storage of Hemp Seeds

Refrigerate or freeze Hemp Hearts to extend storage life. Once opened, a bag of Hemp Hearts can last up to one year in your refrigerator.

Summer Hemp Seed Frittata

Wake up with this fresh mix of summer produce combined with two highly bioavailable sources of protein: Hemp Hearts and eggs! Use your farmers’ market haul, or leftover veggies from the week to make this summertime frittata. The flavorus and textures come together to make a perfect dish for Sunday brunch or something unique to bring to a daytime get together.  

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 18 minutes

Total time: 28 minutes

Ingredients

  • 12 eggs
  • ½ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 medium-sized zucchini, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup Hemp Hearts + 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 + freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat broiler to high. Brush baking sheet with ½ tablespoon olive oil and add thinly sliced zucchini. Drizzle with another ½ tablespoon 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 Hearts, shredded carrot, sun dried tomatoes (reserving a couple to sprinkle on top), and salt and pepper. Stir in feta cheese.
  3. Pour the egg mixture into a medium-sized oven proof skillet. Cover top of frittata with zucchini slices and sprinkle with remaining sun dried tomatoes.
  4. Place pan in oven and cook until top is golden and centre is set, about 18 minutes.
  5. Let cool slightly, sprinkle with remaining Hemp Hearts, slice into wedges and serve immediately. Store leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Servings: 8 slices
Serving Size ⅛ slice
Calories: 182
Fat: 13 g
Saturated fat:  4 g
Carbohydrates: 7 g
Sugar: 1 g
Fiber: 2 g
Protein: 13 g

Maggie Michalczyk is a registered dietitian and millennial nutrition expert. She prides herself on staying up on the latest trends in health and nutrition and investigating their benefits for consumers to understand. Maggie loves helping busy millennials save time and make the best possible choices they can for their lifestyle. Maggie also enjoys developing recipes (and desserts) that are packed with nutrition and easy to make. In the fall her blog is dedicated to all things pumpkin! Connect with her at @onceuponapumpkin on Instagram.