What are hemp seeds?

You won't get high off them, but hemp seeds are great for cooking, have a rich nutty flavour and are a nutrient-dense addition to dishes.
Hemp seed and cauliflower saladAlicia Taylor

As the world embraces more sustainable farming practices, ingredients like hemp seeds, an eco-friendly crop, are paving the way forward. Should we be using them more in our cooking? The answer is yes, absolutely. They have a rich nutty flavour and are a nutrient-dense addition to dishes; they’re packed full of protein and are high in essential fatty acids. Cold-pressed hemp seed oil is also a great addition to recipes, acting like a robust olive oil, but with a grassier note.

What are they like?

Although derived from the cannabis sativa plant, you won’t get high from hemp seeds as they don’t have significant psychoactive properties. The seeds are great for cooking, however, and their soft texture makes them perfect for salads and soups. Find them at good health food shops or online at hempfoods.com.au.

“At Quay, we cook hemp seeds in a little butter and stock and serve them on a lamb dish as you would couscous. You can eat them raw but they taste better when cooked. If you want them crisper, fry them in oil at about 160°C,” says chef Peter Gilmore, who shares his recipe for Hemp Seed and Cauliflower Salad below.

Hemp Seed and Cauliflower Salad.



1.Toss a couple of handfuls of cauliflower florets in a little olive oil, then roast at 200°C until golden (20-30 minutes). Meanwhile, stir a finely chopped garlic clove and a golden shallot in 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil in a non-stick pan over low heat (3-5 minutes). Add 200gm hemp seeds and stir to coat (1 minute). Add 200ml water, stir well and turn up heat until water evaporates, then fry hemp seeds, stirring occasionally, until coloured (2 minutes). Season to taste.
2.Place hemp seeds on a platter to cool. Top with 100gm crumbled goat’s feta, 2 tbsp currants, 50gm coarsely chopped roasted almonds and the cauliflower. Whisk 1-2 tsp lemon juice with 1 tbsp olive oil. Drizzle dressing over salad. Serve topped with parsley leaves.

Serves 4


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