Sunday, January 29, 2012

Super Foods - Hemp Hearts - Miso Meatballs with Hemp Hearts

Have you given up on your New Year’s resolution to lose weight, or eat healthier foods? Sadly, the stats say that most of us have. If you haven’t: CONGRATULATIONS! KEEP GOING! If you have jump back on what ever wagon you fell off of and begin again!

To help, over the coming weeks I am going to share some new and healthy (or fairly healthy) recipes. In January, I read an article in the Vancouver Sun about 2012’s “super foods”. While I think there are many good and healthy foods, I don’t really believe any one of them can leap a building in a single bound. That said, trying new foods is one way to stay motivated in our quest for better health.

In my personal quest for healthier eating I have decided to try most of the foods on the list and share my recipes with you. (It also gives me ammo when I ask my kids to try new foods - lead by example!) Here is the list:

1. Pomegranate
2. Quinoa
3. Chia
4. Kale
5. Farro
6. Kangaroo
7. Hemp hearts
8. Spirulina
9. Black garlic
10. Avocado
11. Chick peas
12. Dates and Figs

I won’t be trying spirulina since I can only find it in powdered form and honestly it just doesn’t sound appealing.

I have already tried pomegranate, quinoa, avocado, chick peas, and dates and figs but I will offer facts and recipes for each. That leaves: chia, kale, faro, kangaroo, hemp hearts, and black garlic as foods that have never crossed my lips.

Shelled Hemp Seeds aka Hemp Hearts
Shelled Hemp Seeds

This week I tried hemp hearts. Hemps hearts are shelled hemp seeds. Whether you inhaled or not during high school or university, you do not need to worry about getting a buzz from these seeds - there is no active "buzz" generating ingredients! In fact, according to nutritionist Leslie Beck, Canada legalized industrial hemp farming back in the late 1990s. Canadian law ensures that no more than 0.3 % THC is present in harvested hemp products (sorry, not sure about the U.S.) This low level of the active "buzz" generating ingredient means it's pretty much impossible to "get high" off hemp.

According to Wikipedia, hempseed is usually very safe for those unable to tolerate nuts, gluten, lactose, and sugar. Hempseeds are a great way to get an ideal ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3‘s.

Nutritional Info from Manitoba Harvest

Ok, so you know they are healthy and good for you. But how do they taste? I think they taste like soft sunflower seeds. They have an almost creamy consistency which varies depending on the brand. So far I have tasted Mum's and Bob's Red Mill (sorry Manitoba Harvest - I haven't tried yours yet!). Both are very good. Mum's have an organic and non-organic version as well as a "regular" variety and one that is slow roasted and Bob's is non-organic. I prefer Bob's because of the creamier taste but Mum's have been on sale lately and price often will win out.

I have been putting a couple of tablespoons of hemp hearts in my morning yogourt. They really do keep me from feeling hungry longer than say cereal, oatmeal or toast. I'd say I go about 5 hours before I need a snack.

As for other ideas, I think you could:
  • use as a coating for fish
  • add to hummus recipe
  • throw in muffins, cakes, cookies
  • meatballs
In fact, I made these meatballs for dinner recently. They are fantastic! Full of flavour and the hemp hearts add a definite nutrition boost! When you first mix the ingredients, you might think it looks a bit wet. Don't worry the hemp hearts will suck up the excess moisture.

If you have any other ideas for recipes let me know!

Miso Meatballs with Hemp Hearts Recipe

3/4 lb lean ground beef
2 tbsp honey garlic sauce
1 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tbsp grated ginger
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp chives, finely chopped
1 tbsp red miso
3 tbsp hemp hearts
1 egg, slightly beaten

vegetable oil for sauteeing.

What to do
  • Mix all ingredients together.
  • Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or more.
  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  • Add 1 - 2 tbsp oil and heat saute pan over medium heat.
  • Working in batches, make and brown 1-1/2 inch meatballs.
  • Saute for about 15 minutes (internal temperature of 160 degrees F must be reached to avoid food bourne illnesses!!)
  • Place batches in oven to keep warm.
  • If desired, thread on small skewers with pineapple and green onions.

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