Full of protein and healthy fat, this nut free hemp seed pesto is allergen friendly and incredibly versatile.
If you’d have served me Hemp Seed Pesto a decade ago, I’d have thought you were crazy. At that time, the word “hemp” just conjured up thoughts of hippies and choker-length necklaces from the mid-90’s. But eating hemp seeds? No, thank you.
Now here it is 2016, and I’m sprinkling hemp seeds on yogurt, adding them to muffins, blending them up into sauces and pesto – all the while laughing at my old self.
Funny how times change!
So about this Hemp Seed Pesto…
My kids will eat just about anything if it involves pesto. They love it on sandwiches and quesadillas, mixed into rice and pasta, and as a dip for veggies and crackers. And while they’re picky about some things, they don’t seem to notice or care that I make different kinds of pesto all the time. Sometimes we have kale-walnut pesto, sometimes broccoli-almond pesto, sometimes the traditional basil-pine nut variety, and most recently: hemp seed pesto.
What I love about pesto – besides that it tastes awesome and I can use it as a foundation for so many meals – is that it provides me with an appealing way to get all different kinds of greens and healthy fats into my kids. As any parent knows, this is priceless.
Hemp seed pesto is especially nutritious, since hemp is high in protein (5 grams in just 2 Tbsp) and full of omega-3 fatty acids. And because the seeds are so soft and mild, pesto made with hemp is incredibly smooth, creamy and versatile.
One of our favorite ways to use this fabulous sauce is on Tortilla Pizza – aka pizza, but with tortillas as the “dough.”
These are small enough to fit in the toaster oven (which means they can be ready in 5 minutes) and can be customized with different toppings to suit different tastes.
They also make a great appetizer for easy entertaining.
- 2 small cloves garlic
- ¾ cup hemp seeds
- 5 cups packed greens (I used cilantro and spinach - but use any combination of leafy greens and herbs that you like)
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Juice of 1 lemon
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¾ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 2 -4 Tbsp water
- Place garlic cloves in a food processor and pulse a few times to finely chop.
- Add hemp seeds and half the greens and whirl until greens are mostly chopped. Scrape down the sides, add remaining greens and blend once again.
- When greens are mostly chopped, add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Add water as needed to achieve a sauce-like consistency.
- Taste for seasonings and add more salt, pepper or lemon as needed.
- Toss with hot pasta, spread on pizza, add to wraps and sandwiches or use as a dip for veggies.
This post is sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill. Thank you for reading and supporting my blog, as well the companies I believe are helping to change our food system for the better.
NicoleApril 19, 2016 at 9:49 am
I bet this is bursting with flavor! And it is so pretty too.
Amelia WinslowApril 19, 2016 at 9:30 pm
Thanks, Nicole! Yes, it will add a big dose of flavor to just about anything!
[email protected]April 19, 2016 at 10:16 am
Honestly, never ever had thought of anything like this and I am all about it!!!! I have a bag of the hemp seeds in my firdge right now for smoothies, so this seems like a great next step for me 🙂
Amelia WinslowApril 19, 2016 at 9:30 pm
Hemp seed smoothies are another favorite of ours!
HeatherApril 19, 2016 at 10:24 am
Instead of hemp I used puffed quinoa and that added a great flavour. I also added a bit of hot sauce to one batch and that was great too. Thank you for this recipe.
Amelia WinslowApril 19, 2016 at 9:29 pm
Love the hot sauce idea!
RoseApril 21, 2016 at 3:32 pm
I love using hemp seeds in pesto or toasting them to go on salad. Tortilla pizza sounds like a really fun make-your-own dinner. I’m sure my kids would love it!
Gina @ Running to the KitchenApril 22, 2016 at 6:48 am
Haha, that’s so true about hemp! My husband still won’t eat the seeds because of random drug screenings at work and he’s paranoid, lol! I’m all about these nutritious little guys though. What a great way to incorporate them into a pesto!
Amelia WinslowApril 22, 2016 at 8:57 am
Hahaha, that’s hilarious, Gina! The first few times I cooked with hemp seeds my husband would pretend the food was mood-altering – but thankfully we’ve moved past that joke by now, haha!
Rachel @ Rachel CooksApril 23, 2016 at 5:26 pm
I love the idea of hemp seed pesto – it’s perfect for my kids who are allergic to nuts!
Amelia WinslowApril 25, 2016 at 11:01 am
Yes, so great as an allergen-free treat!