Hemp Seed and Spinach Pesto
Hemp Seed and Spinach Pesto
I’m certain you have all have tried a traditional pesto which generally features nuts, garlic, Parmesan cheese and olive oil, combined with a vegetable such as rocket or spinach. This amazingly simple to make recipe replaces the nuts with hemp hearts/hulled hemp seeds, which gives this dip amazing nutritional value and also makes it ideal for anyone with a nut allergy or reducing their nut intake. This Hemp Seed and Spinach Pesto tastes just as good as a traditional pesto does, but comes with so many added health benefits that it’s a feasible excuse to actually add it to your diet just for the health benefits.
Use this dip as a healthy snack to help get you through the day, or serve it as an appetizer or for ‘nibblies’ (my US friends absolutely love that term.) For a really simple meal, simply heat up some pasta or Zucchini Zoodles and toss this through them with an extra dash of olive oil. Serve with some freshly grated cheese and you have an instant, nutritious and delicious meal. You can also freeze this pesto to use at a later date. Some people like to freeze it in ice cube trays for small portions so it’s easy to add to pasta sauces etc.
Just in case you haven’t used hemp seeds you might find the information below interesting. If you don’t want to read it just scroll though to the recipe below now.
What are Hemp Seeds
Hemp seeds are the seeds of the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. They are from the same species as marijuana plant cannabis but they are a different variety. Unlike cannibis, they contain only trace amounts of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol,) the psychoactive compound in marijuana. So, you won’t be having any mind-altering experiences by including these in your diet. Hemp comes in many consumable forms, such as hemp seeds and hulled hemp seeds/hemp hearts. Hulled seeds have had the hard outer shell removed and are one of the most popular hemp products on the the market and are what is used in this recipe. Hemp products are becoming a lot more popular and you can now source hemp products from supermarkets, specialty stores and online.
Hemp seeds pack an amazing nutritious punch. They contain high levels of antioxidants (Vitamin E) and can assist in protecting the body from free radicals. They also contain tocopherol, which can be of benefit for those suffering from Alzheimer’s and atherosclerosis. Phytol is another powerful antioxidant from hemp seed, which has is known to have both antioxidant and anticancer properties. Hemp seeds are an excellent source of essential fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins. They are high in polyunsaturated fats and are a good source of calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc. They are one of few seeds that contain all of the essential amino acids.
Hemp seeds are actually a complete source of protein, meaning they provide all nine essential amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks for all proteins. The body cannot produce nine of these acids, so a person must absorb them through the diet. Hemp seeds contain almost as much protein as soybeans and it is also a protein that is easily digested. Very few plant-based foods are complete sources of protein, making hemp seeds a valuable addition to a vegetarian or vegan diet. In roughly 1 tablespoon of hemp seeds there are about 9.5 g of protein and nearly half your daily recommended intake of Magnesium.
Hemp seeds are a great source of essential fatty acids, such as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is an omega-3 fatty acid as well as GLA (gamma linolenic acid). They can be beneficial for people suffering from degenerative diseases and illnesses such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and possibly even Alzheimer’s. Fatty acid imbalances can contribute to inflammation, so there can be associated benefits with disorders and illnesses such as metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, if you have a good balance of these 2 essential fatty acids. GLA can be beneficial for skin disorders, heart disease and there are also indicators that these are beneficial for aging and for those suffering with auto immune diseases, and disorders such as Chronic fatigue Syndrome. GLA is also great for assisting with hormonal balance in the body and thus can also be beneficial for depression and PMS.
For more detailed information on hemp seeds, check out this link.
It’s certainly easy to see the benefits to be gained by adding them to your diet.
- 1 compressed cup of baby spinach or 80 gms/2.8 oz
- 1/2 cup hemp hearts/hulled hemp seeds
- 1/3 cup EVOO- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 tspns minced garlic- or to taste
- Salt to taste
- Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until everything comes together and has been well blended. If you want a smoother pesto then simply process until you have the desired texture.
- Season with salt once you have processed the pesto as Parmesan cheese does increase the salt content.