Fried Halloumi is one of my favorite things and adding it to a salad with spoonfuls of hemp pesto makes for a delicious and super nutritious meal with the summer days ahead. Serve the protein-packed hemp pesto as a dressing for any salad, a pasta sauce, an accompaniment at a braai, or to enhance any filling for a wrap or sandwich.
Hemp seeds have become a popular ingredient, especially since it contains all 9 the essential amino acids, which makes it a plant-based complete protein source (just like quinoa). The seeds have a mild nutty flavour, highly nutritious, are technically a nut and are can be eaten raw, cooked or roasted. The seeds are also rich in omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids which aid heart health. Although the hemp plant is a member of the cannabis species it is a different variety than the plant used for marijuana and the female hemp plants are grown to maturity and their seeds are harvested. The male plants die shortly after completing pollination.
Hemp seeds can be eaten as is sprinkled over cereals, salads or yoghurts, lightly toast for an extra nutty flavour, or can easily be used to make homemade hemp milk, butter and hemp pesto. The seeds may also be pressed to make hemp seed oil and the by-product from the pressing is turned into hemp protein powder which can be added to smoothies or used in baking. The oil is best used as dressing and not to be heated as it will strip out all nutritional benefits.
Hemp seeds are a great alternative to pine nuts in pesto and add a protein punch to your pesto. You can’t really taste a flavour difference to the usual pesto except for a slight more nutty flavour. The sauce is as versatile as any pesto and can be used as a pasta sauce, a dollop on a burger or mixed in with some mayo for that chicken mayo sandwich.
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves, loosely packed
- 1/4 cup hemp hearts
- 1/4 cup (20g) freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 3 tbsp hemp oil
- 1 clove garlic
- Fresh lemon juice to taste
- Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Make the pesto by combining all of the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth
- Taste and add lemon juice, sea salt and black pepper as required
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