September 3rd, 2009


Healthy Brown Rice and Hemp Seed Salad

Its time for me to focus on eating healthier, it was wonderful having my Mum staying but my poor and carefree eating habits has taken it’s toll. Too many sweet delights and eating meat every day is a bit too much. We are enjoying our vegetarian suppers for a change and have even agreed to a vegetarian soup diet this week. We are not vegetarians but truly appreciate a non meat diet for a change.

This brown rice and hemp salad is one of those dishes which is good for the digestive system. Will Mattier from Vegetarian Express, a very good friend of ours and a devoted vegetarian, gave us a bag of hemp seeds. At first I did not have a clue what I should do with them. I know I wanted to make a salad but that’s where that thought stayed for a few months. I remembered Will said that I should cook the seeds, but with my notoriously bad memory  I  had completely forgotten what I should do.

After a few experiments and searching on the internet I found some sound advice from a  keen fisherman. I was at first a bit bemused that these hemp seeds made good fishing bait but with all its discovered goodness  I can actually understand why the fish like it. I boiled the hemp seeds for 30 minutes until the husks cracked and the white soft interior expanded and became exposed. It almost looked as if they were starting to sprout but that  was not quite what was happening. As a matter of fact the hemp seeds are heat treated and cannot be force sprouted.

Hemp has outstanding health benefits and it does not only contain Omega 3 and 6 but also protein. You can buy hemp products in the form of oil or seed. I was reading that one of the most popular ways to take advantage of the protein properties of hemp seeds were to add a tablespoon of hemp seeds to a banana, honey and yoghurt smoothie. It’s apparently the perfect wake you up breakfast and solid brain food to set you up for the day. I must be honest I have not tried this one yet but it does sound worth a go.

The hemp seeds husks are very crunchy, it feels like eating raw popcorn kernels however the interior is soft. I like the nutty flavour and the smell reminds me of protein shakes, fairly bizarre, in a good and curious way. I mixed the cooked hemp seeds with cooked brown rice, aubergine from my garden and grated swede. Swedes are in season now and they are perfect to grate and eat raw in salads just as I have done with this dish. I also added some finely shredded sweetheart cabbage. This dish has so many interesting and diverse textures, I think it makes it outstanding and different.

I recommend that you should make and eat this dish on the same day, unlike most of my recipes this one does not improve over time. We ate this salad as a dish on it’s own but it would make the perfect accompaniment for grilled chicken or char-grilled haloumi steaks or even sauteed fresh mackerel.


  • 150g brown rice
  • 50g hemp seeds
  • 150g aubergine
  • 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Ras-el-Hanout
  • 150g grated raw swede
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 50g finely sliced sweetheart cabbage
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • 3 tbs mung beans

Rinse the brown rice, place the rice in a medium saucepan cover with cold water and add a teaspoon of salt. Bring the rice to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer until cooked.

In a separate small saucepan cover the hemp seeds with water and add salt, bring to the boil and cook for 30 minutes.

Drain the rice and hemp seeds, cool completely.

Cut the aubergine in 1cm dice, sprinkle some salt and pepper and add the sugar, cumin and ras-el-hanout, let the aubergine sit for 20 minutes. Heat a large nonstick frying pan with oil and saute the aubergines with salt and pepper until dark golden brown, toss the pan occasionally. They must be deep dark brown, if the aubergines are too light in colour they will go soggy and taste unpleasant. Let the sauteed aubergines cool completely.

Transfer the cooked rice, hemp seeds and cooled sauteed aubergines to a large mixing bowl. Add the finely sliced cabbage, spring onions and grated swede, zest and juice of one lemon. Add a table spoon of oil if the salad looks a bit dry.

Garnish the salad with the mung beans and serve.

Serves 6 - 8

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One Comment to “Healthy Brown Rice and Hemp Seed Salad”

  1. Janie says:

    This looks great Maddy – I buy organic hemp seeds from Yorkshire Hemp Ltd. PO Box 120, Driffield, East Yorkshire YO25 9YS I also like to steam my hemp seeds in the Thermomix internal steaming basket – for this recipe I’d probably put the hemp seeds in the basket first, then the brown rice on top, with 1 tsp salt. Whizz the water over it all by mixing 10 seconds/Speed 5. Steam 45 minutes/Varoma Temperature/Speed 3 over 1.25 litres of water in the Thermomix bowl. Both the hemp and the brown rice should be cooked by then with all the starch in the steaming water below, but check and cook a little longer if necessary.

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