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Seeds are Super, Chicagoan’s cookbook shows

Hemp seeds stand in for tahini in a party-pleasing hummus. | Reprinted with permission from Super Seeds © 2014 by Kim Lutz, Sterling Publishing Co. Photography by Bill Milne

We often hear that seeds are packed with nutrients. We want to include them in our diets, and often wonder what to use where.

Well, Chicagoan Kim Lutz provides a wealth of answers in her cookbook “Super Seeds” (Sterling Publishing, $14.95).

Lutz’s name may sound familiar. She is the Kim behind Kim’s Welcoming Kitchen, a site popular for its allergy-free, gluten-free, and vegan recipes.

She starts with a quick primer on the good points of each of the seeds — chia, quinoa, flax, hemp and amaranth . For instance, did you know the vitamins in them all can contribute to shiny hair and good skin?

Because they are natural pairs, Lutz includes in her more than 75 recipes several for salads and smoothies that include them. But then she includes chilis, patties, soups and desserts where the seeds share the spotlight.

There are things you don’t often see, such as heating up a taco-flavored stuffed avocado. That intrigues me.

She also includes other recipes that can be used with the seeds, such as a DIY spice mix for taco flavoring (instead of those in the package) and a recipe for a richer broth that doesn’t rely on cream.

Throughout the book she sprinkles in little facts about seeds and other ingredients as well as tips about usage. There are a lot of solid tips for people wanting to embrace seeds in their diets in ways I hadn’t particularly considered. (I liked her easy method for making flour.)

It’s party time, so I thought Lutz’s recipe for a hummus that uses hemp seeds instead of tahini would be a good choice. Those of you with sesame seed allergies will appreciate her take on hummus. And for those of you who don’t, just serve this without blabbing about the ingredient switchup. Your guests will find a fresh and intriguing dip.

HEMP SEED HUMMUS

MAKES 1 ½ CUPS

Hemp seeds do double duty in this recipe. First, they take the place of the traditional ingredient in hummus, tahini (some people are allergic to sesame seeds). Second, they bring crucial phytonutrients, including zinc and magnesium, to this tasty, satisfyingly textured dip. It makes a great snack, served with crudites

such as baby carrots, cucumber slices, celery sticks, and strips of crunchy bell peppers. In addition to making superb sandwiches, hummus is also a salad’s

best friend. Try adding a healthy dollop on top of your green salad and you

will have a flavorful, filling meal.

1¾ cups cooked garbanzo beans (or one 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed)

2 tablespoons hemp seeds

2 tablespoons lemon juice

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons water

Blend all ingredients together in a food processor or blender until smooth.

Reprinted with permission from Super Seeds © 2014 by Kim Lutz, Sterling Publishing Co.