What is Hemp Seed?
Hemp seeds are small, brown seeds from the Cannabis sativa plant. To put an end to common confusion, note that hemp and marijuana belong to the Cannabis plants family. The difference between them is that hemp contains 0.3 percent or less THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) content by dry weight. They do not produce mind-altering effects like marijuana.
It is worth including hemp seeds in your diet for their high nutritional value and several health benefits. It contains all the essential amino acids that form a complete protein.
Substitute For Hemp Seeds
You may want to use hemp seeds in salad dressing, or drizzle over grilled veggies, pasta, or popcorn. Or you love their crunchiness in soups and smoothies.
Unfortunately, hemp seeds are costly and not always available in local grocery stores. If you cannot immediately procure them and need them, baldy, for your recipe, here are some of the best substitutes of hemp seeds that you can confidently use.
1. Flax seeds
Flax, also known as linseed, is a flowering plant, Linum usitatissimum, in the family Linaceae. When you think of nutritional goodness, flax seeds are full of it. Flax seeds are best known for their fibers and Omega 3 amino acids.
Similarities between hemp and flax seeds are many with identical health benefits. Both of them have similar nutritional value as they both provide all of the nine essential amino acids. Perhaps, the only significant difference is that hemp seeds contain 75% more protein than flax and chia seeds. Likewise, flax seeds have almost double the amount of fiber than hemp seeds.
Definitely, flaxseed is the best substitute for hemp seeds not only for the nutritional similarity but also for texture and flavor.
Flax seeds can very well fit into any recipe that calls for hemp seeds. Also, it renders your dishes the same crunchiness, flavor, and appearance.
You can use them interchangeably in measure for measure ratio.
2. Chia seeds
Chia seeds are the edible seeds of Salvia hispanica, a flowering plant in the sage family. Chia seeds have exploded in popularity in recent years because many studies in the past decade have overwhelmingly praised their high nutritional value. This seed is said to be a superior source for scarcely found omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.
In a similar tune with hemp seeds, chia seeds contain a significant amount of fiber, minerals like zinc and magnesium, and a good bit of protein.
Just like hemp seeds, they help in improving heart health by lowering LDL cholesterol and may reduce blood sugar levels.
As for their discordance, chia seeds are smaller than hemp seeds and their textures do not match either. Despite these differences, chia seeds are a perfect substitute for hemp seeds from a nutritional point of view.
As chia seeds are smaller in size, thus use them in a little more quantity while using chia seeds to substitute hemp seeds.
By the way, using chia seeds for weight loss is the latest trend.
3. Sunflower seeds
The sunflower seed is the fruit of the sunflower (Helianthus annuus plant), which has three distinct varieties such as linoleic, high oleic, and sunflower oil seeds. These seeds have a mild, nutty flavor and a firm but tender texture.
Sunflower seeds look a lot similar to hemp seeds in texture and flavor, and also they have similar nutritional content. Both of them contain a full range of B vitamins including folate.
You can use sunflower seeds in place of hemp seeds in almost all recipes that call for hemp seeds and use them in the same manner. Sunflower seeds work great in salads, soups, sauces, dips, and vegetable dishes that require hemp seeds.
To your advantage, sunflower makes a great substitute for hemp seeds as they are easy to source and comparatively costs less as well.
As a substitute, add sunflower seeds to your recipes in the same quantity of hemp seeds required for the same.
4. Pine nuts
We can best describe the flavor of hemp seeds as a cross between a sunflower seed and a pine nut. The texture of pine nuts is also a great match for hemp seeds.
On the other hand, pine nut does not have the nutritional equivalence of hemp seed. It lacks the omega 3 fatty acids but it contains more omega 6 fatty acids than hemp seeds.
Think of using pine nuts as a replacement for hemp seeds when you are left with no other better substitute options.
Pine nuts may go well with all the recipes that call for hemp seeds. This nut works best in desserts like tarts, cookies, and brittles as well as savory dishes.
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