When you think of a high protein food what's the first thing that comes to mind? We're just throwing this out there but it probably wasn't a plant now was it? Well we are trying to change that and show you that it is completely possible to eat enough and good quality protein from just plant sources, yes, really. Though it may take a little extra thought to ensure your protein intake is up to par on a plant based diet. But we think more thoughtfulness around what we eat is always a good thing. This hummus recipe is packed with protein with the help of the amazing hemp seed. And don't forget the tahini because we know you bought it after the post last week! But first a little more about hemp seeds...
In terms of plant based protein the hemp seed is top of the line and just may be nature's perfect food. Lets start with a little biochemistry (oh no!) about protein to give you some background about the animal versus plant protein debate. Proteins are large molecules consisting of chains of amino acids; amino acids are essential nutrients that the body obtains from dietary protein that are then used for various functions including energy production, repair of bodily tissues and growth. Now there are different types of amino acids classified as nonessential and essential; nonessential amino acids can be created by our bodies if they are not consumed in the diet whereas essential amino acids cannot be created by our bodes and must be in our diet. Because dietary animal proteins are more similar to the proteins in our bodies they typically contain all essential amino acids in the right quantities, whereas dietary plant proteins may be lacking in one or more essential amino acids. But don't despair! By eating a different variety of plant proteins in your diet the lacking essential amino acids in one plant food will be provided in another creating a complimentary complete protein. So now you're realizing why eating a variety of foods in your diet is so important right? To excite you even more- there are a select few plant proteins that are complete meaning they contain all essential amino acids in the right quantity, and you guessed it, hemp seeds are one! Hemp seeds contain all nine essential amino acids and the perfect ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids (if you need a refresher about fats click here). Hemp seeds are harvested from the hemp plant but do not contain THC , the psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana, so NO you will not get high from eating hemp seeds. But how can this be? Well there is both a male and a female hemp plant; the female plant contains buds or marijuana and the male plant contains the oh so nutritious seeds. As you can see from the picture hemp seeds are small in size and for use in the diet should be purchased shelled, also referred to as hemp seed hearts. They have a soft texture and slightly nutty taste often compared to the taste of a black walnut. Hemp is very versatile and can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. Some uses including sprinkled over cereal, oatmeal, or yogurt, blended in smoothies, as part of the breading on baked vegetable fries (think zucchini), or exactly as we did blended right into our hummus dip. Whatever way you decide to use these perfectly balanced nutritious seeds we know they will become a staple in your fridge! Yes we did say fridge, because of their high fat content they can go rancid quickly so an airtight container is the fridge is best to preserve taste and quality. Okay so are you in need of some protein after using all that brain power? Us too.
High Protein Hemp Hummus
PREP TIME: 10 mins
TOTAL TIME: 15 mins
2 cups canned organic chickpeas
1/4 cup tahini paste
4 Tbsp lemon juice
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 Tbsp shelled hemp seeds (reserve 1 Tbsp for the top)
1 Tbsp water
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp salt
Vegetables of choice for dipping, (we used multi-color baby carrots, baby zucchini, jicama and cherry tomatoes)
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Sprinkle of paprika
Sprinkle of cumin
1 Tbsp shelled hemp seeds
Drain and rinse chickpeas in a colander and pour into a food processor. Add the following to the food processor - 1/4 cup tahini, 4 Tbsp lemon juice, 4 Tbsp olive oil, 3 Tbsp hemp seeds, 1 Tbsp water, 1 clove chopped garlic, 1 tsp cumin, and 1/4 tsp salt. Blend on medium speed into a creamy texture. This should take several minutes and you may need to add some more water but be careful, only a teaspoon at a time. Once hummus is a desired smooth texture scoop onto a beautiful dish. Use a small butter knife to carefully create a few shallow divots in the hummus. Drizzle the top with olive oil, allowing the divots to fill up with the gorgeous golden oil. Sprinkle remaining 1 Tbsp hemp seeds, additional cumin, and paprika on top. Wash and chop desired vegetables, maybe trying something unexpected and new as we did with the jicama and baby zucchini. Arrange on a platter and get to dipping!
Okay so how gorgeous was that hummus platter? And you probably finished it in one sitting as we did right? Well great! Because to get the most benefit from this high protein recipe we suggest thinking of hummus as more than just a small serving snack. A half cup serving of this recipe provides fourteen grams of plant protein and pairs perfectly with your favorite veggies, crackers or slathered on bread. However you decide to enjoy it please remember that plants can provide you with more than enough high quality protein for your healthy, happy and active life!
Jess and Cecelia
Jess and Cecelia welcome you to our kitchen. We are fun-loving and passionate foodies working to make the world a healthier, happier place one plant based recipe at a time.