So I’ve been on a bit of a quinoa kick lately, and have been trying to make as many cold salads as possible before the last of Summer’s warmth is gone.

This recipe comes from a fellow home-cook in the Food52 community, and incorporates one of my favorite hippie foods since going vegan – hemp hearts 

Hemp Hearts, or shelled hemp seeds are considered to be one of nature’s perfect foods – a Super Food. This is one of the most potent foods available, supporting optimal health and well being, for life. Hemp contains the most well-rounded and balanced nutritional profile. Two tablespoons contains 6 grams of fat, 2 grams of fiber, and 5 grams of protein. One unique characteristic of hemp seeds is that they contain all essential amino acids—something uncommon with plant protein sources—making them a great addition for people on a vegetarian or vegan diet.

Raw hemp provides a broad spectrum of health benefits, including: weight loss, increased and sustained energy, rapid recovery from disease or injury, lowered cholesterol and blood pressure, reduced inflammation, improvement in circulation and immune system as well as natural blood sugar control.

My favorite way to to enjoy hemp hearts is to add to smoothies, hummus, avocado toast, and  atop salads to give add a healthy boost of protein to the dish.  And when you combine hemp hearts with quinoa you create a Super Protein! (not an actual health term)

This salad is very light and refreshing, with the lemon and basil adding invigorating brightness and aroma.  It is the perfect dish for the spring too, when peas are in season, and would make a lovely dish for the Easter holiday!


  • 1 cup quinoa, dry
  • 2 cups water, cold
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup shelled hemp hearts
  • 2 Tbsp EVOO
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • ¼ tsp sea salt


  1. Rinse quinoa in a mesh strainer with cold water. Transfer to a pot and add 2 cups water, bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the liquid has been completely absorbed.
  3. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and let cool to room temperature.
  4. While quinoa is cooking, cook peas until tender. Drain and rinse with cold water to prevent overcooking. Set aside.
  5. Mix quinoa, peas, basil and hemp hearts in a large bowl.
  6. Whisk together the EVOO, lemon juice, maple syrup, Dijon mustard and sea salt. Pour over quinoa salad and serve cold.
Entrees, SidesAlicia Uhl