Hemp Seeds (what they are + how to use them)

This post is by blog team member, Kiran. To learn more about Kiran, check out our team page or her website!

Hemp is a hot topic these days. Actually, anything related to the cannabis plant is. Marijuana (medical and recreational), legalization, CBD, and hemp are in the news daily. And while they are technically all related, they also differ dramatically.

So today we’re taking a closer look at hemp seeds (which are not a drug), sponsored by Nutiva, one of our longtime partners. But truth be told, I’ve been a longtime fan of hemp seeds myself and use them frequently. Let’s take a look…plus be sure to print the recipe below!

photo of Nutiva organic hemp seeds

What are hemp seeds?

Let’s start out with the million dollar question. Will hemp seeds get you high? No. Unlike marijuana, hemp foods contain only trace levels of THC and will not cause a psychoactive effect. Now that we got that out of the way, let’s talk about parts of the plant.

Both marijuana and hemp come from the plant species Cannabis Sativa L. Years of breeding resulted in two plants: marijuana and hemp. The flowers and leaves of a marijuana plant contain the psychoactive elements, often referred to as THC.

Hemp foods are not a source of THC or CBD. At the end of the day, marijuana is a crop grown for its THC content, while hemp is an agricultural crop grown for seed and fiber.

The hemp plant has been in cultivation for thousands of years throughout Asia and the Middle East before finally making its way across Europe and to the Americas. It has been referred to as one of the most nutritious foods on the planet, since it is rich in protein and minerals, with the ideal 3:1 ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3.

Omega fatty acids are essential because human bodies cannot make them on their own, which means we need to get these good fats from our diet – enter hemp seeds. In addition, it’s loaded with all 20 amino acids, including the 9 essential.

How to use hemp seeds?

Personally speaking, the first thing to do is to get yourself a bag of Nutiva USA-Grown Organic Hempseed! After that, you’ll quickly realize that the options are endless! They’ve got a subtle, nutty taste that I really do enjoy, and here are some of my favorite ways to use them…

  • Add them to smoothies
  • Sprinkle on salads
  • Add them to oatmeal
  • Add-in to soups
  • On top of avocado toast
  • Mixed into a pasta dish

I was a pescatarian for 5 years and really wanted (and needed) that extra protein. Hemp seeds provided just that, quickly and easily. I kept a bag handy (sometimes even in my handbag) and could quickly sprinkle them onto foods even if I was not home. As a side note, the protein found in hemp seed is very digestible, making it a great choice for sensitive diets. Bonus!

Why Nutiva hemp seeds?

Hemp was an integral part of the early American economy but was banned in 1958. Through legal battles, extensive research, and boosting public awareness, Nutiva helped make its comeback. They’ve been advocates from the very start—in fact, hemp actually inspired their name, Nutiva: NUT of (Cannabis) saTIVA.

Today, they continue to fight for your right to nutrient-dense, organic foods made without chemicals or GMOs (and have a full line of other offerings consistent with that mission—chia seeds, coconut flour and oil, and more).

Nutiva hemp seeds are all USDA Certified Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified and raw. This is a big one for us because as we all know, we want to reap the benefits that are offered by the plant without the addition of conventional chemicals. Nutiva is also the first national organic brand to sell USA-grown organic hempseed. We love supporting local farmers, and by buying and using the Nutiva hemp seeds, we’re doing just that. YES!

Nutiva believes in giving back and donates 1% of sales to regenerative agriculture and healthy communities. To date, they’ve donated $4 MM to organizations that support hemp agriculture, including Rodale Institute and Vote Hemp. We like this about them, too. :)

Here’s an easy hemp seed recipe to help get you started:

photo of hemp seed energy bites
Easy Hemp Seed Energy Bites

Easy Hemp Seed Energy Bites

4 ingredient energy bites that offer protein, fiber, and tasty popabilities :) 
4 from 1 vote
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 20 mins
Print Recipe
Servings: 24 hemp balls/bites


  • 1 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1 cup hemp hearts We use Nutiva USA-Grown Organic Hempseed
  • 1/2 cup sunbutter
  • 6 dates seeds removed


  • Combine all ingredients in a food processor on high. Process for 30 seconds or until all ingredients are combined. Roll into balls; I sometimes squeeze them together and then roll after they are together. 
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge.


We recommend organic ingredients when feasible.
Nutrition Facts
Nutrition Facts
Easy Hemp Seed Energy Bites
Amount Per Serving
Calories 120 Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Fat 9g14%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 2mg0%
Potassium 70mg2%
Carbohydrates 5g2%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 45IU1%
Vitamin C 0.2mg0%
Calcium 36mg4%
Iron 1.8mg10%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Have you tried hemp seeds? And if so, how do you like to use them?

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6 thoughts on “Hemp Seeds (what they are + how to use them)”

  1. My mom has tons of food allergies, so she makes her own hemp milk regularly in her Blendtec blender. Easy, with no soaking or straining required like with almond milk!

    1. Kiran Dodeja Smith

      That’s great! I haven’t tried making my own hemp milk yet, but this gives me inspiration. Thanks for sharing!

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