This easy, healthy and delicious Hemp and Sunflower Seed Vegan Pâté is naturally gluten-free, free of processed ingredients, and contains 13 grams of protein per serving!
Hemp hearts are a food that comes up daily in my practice. I recommend it to many of my clients as a great plant-based complete protein that offers a wide nutrient profile including omega-3 fatty acids, healthy omega-6 fatty acids, magnesium and zinc. Generally, my focus is on breakfast as hemp is an easy way to bump up the protein at these carb-heavy meals. I am sharing this Hemp and Sunflower Seed Vegan Pâté so hemp doesn’t get confined to only breakfast. Serve it with some seed crackers or cut up cucumber for a tasty afternoon treat or as a light lunch.
Hemp Heart Nutrition
Hemp Nutrition Claims
Hemp hearts have been marketed for everything from improving the immune system and boosting energy to improving digestion and aiding weight loss. However, there is no clinical research to support such claims, and instead, claims appear to be based on anecdotal reports, laboratory studies on rats and extrapolation of research on the health benefits of other nuts and seeds (1,2,3).
Fatty Acid Profile of Hemp
Hemp is a great source of healthy fats. Studies that have looked at the fatty acid amounts in different varieties of seeds have found that although the proportion of fatty acids varies by seed variety, in general, the majority of the fat in hemp seeds consists of linoleic (omega-6), alpha-linolenic (omega-3) and gamma-linolenic acids (GLA) (4).
Hemp and Omega-3 Fatty Acids
The omega-3 fatty acid in hemp is the plant-based source alpha-linolenic acid (see post Getting Your Omega-3s For The Vegetarians ) which makes up approximately 20-30% of its fatty acid profile. Omega-3 fatty acids have been associated with inflammatory benefit and cardiovascular health. This recipe for Hemp and Sunflower Seed Vegan Pâté offers almost 3 tbsp of hemp hearts per serving which provides us with our daily needs of omega-3 fatty acids.
Hemp and Omega-6 Fatty Acids GLA
Basic nutrition schooling tells us to “limit omega-6 fatty acids and increase omega-3s”. I have written about Getting Your Omega-3s For The Vegetarians in the past, and we know that too much omega-6 can limit the conversion of plant-based omega-3 (linolenic acid) to EPA and DHA. Unfortunately, this doesn’t give credit to gamma-linolenic acids (GLA) which is found in a limited variety of foods including evening primrose seed oil, black currant seed oil, borage seed oil and of course hemp. Hemp’s fatty acid profile contains ~2-5% of this helpful fatty acid (4).
Gamma Linolenic Acid and Neuropathy
Some studies have demonstrated that gamma linolenic acid, when taken orally for 6-12 months, at doses of 360-480 mg daily, could reduce symptoms as well as prevent deterioration in neuropathy (nerve damage) in patients who have type 1 or type 2 diabetes (5, 6). This is likely due to GLAs antiinflammatory benefit.
Gamma Linolenic Acid and Autoimmune
Clinical trials have shown that at a dose of ≥1400 mg/day for at least six months may be effective in improving some symptoms in individuals with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a painful autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the joints. Research is ongoing on its effects on the heart and other inflammatory conditions. (7)
What Else Is This Hemp Vegan Pate High In
One serving of this vegan pate also provides us with 50% (% Daily Value) of our daily needs of magnesium, 25% for zinc and 16% for iron. The sunflower seeds are not to be overshadowed, they are a great source of vitamin E and other nutrients. One serving of this pate provides us with 75% of our daily needs. Once serving also gives us 25% of our daily Selenium requirements.
Tips On Making This Hemp Pâté
Soaking the Sunflower Seeds
Soaking the seeds does not only soften the seeds, making them easier to blend, it also helps with increasing the bioavailability of nutrients. I’ve discussed the benefits of soaking seeds in my post How To Get Enough Zinc for the Vegans and Vegetarians, and the soaking processing helps remove the naturally occurring phytic acid which can bind to minerals, making them less available by the body.
I use my Vitamix to make this vegan pâté but have also used a good quality food processor in the past. If you are using a food processor, I recommend soaking the sunflower seeds for at least 6 hours and chopping the dill and garlic up finely. This just helps ensure the smoothest consistency for your pâté.
Notes On Making This Hemp Pâté
Making It Oil Free
I have made the pate oil-free by replacing the oil with 2 tablespoons of water. Feel free to do this if following a no added oil eating plan.
Alternatives to Hemp Hearts and Sunflower Seeds
Try using soaked cashews, which are equally as creamy as hemp hearts and sunflower seeds. Make sure to soak your cashews for at least 6 to help them break down more easily, but also to remove the phytic acid.
Adaptation of the Hemp Pâté
This Hemp and Sunflower Seed Pâté was adapted from Julie Daniluk. I’ve reduced the amount of dill from ½ cup for a more subtle flavour and increased the amount of turmeric for its anti-inflammatory benefit and also for colour. I used unpasteurized apple cider vinegar in place of lemon as lemon does not grow here on the island and apple cider vinegar has the beneficial live bacteria cultures (see 9 Common Fermented Foods Your Probably Have At Home). Swapping out the lemon, using local hemp seeds, and the fact that this dish can be made 100% raw gets major points for sustainability.
Want More Hemp Recipes
Do you love hemp as much as I do? Here are some more hemp recipes:
- Zucchini Noodle Pasta with Vegan Hemp Pesto
- Vegan Hemp Ranch Dressing
- No Bake Tahini Energy Balls
- High Protein Peanut Butter Hemp Energy Balls
- Raw Vegan Date Chocolate Bars with Hemp
- High Protein Steel-Cut Oats with Peanut Butter and Hemp Milk
- Want to know more about hemp? Check out Chia vs Flax vs Hemp – Which One Is Healthier and Sustainable
Did you make this Hemp and Sunflower Seed Vegan Pate? Let me know how it turned out! Leave a comment below and share it on Pinterest. If you take a photo of your recreation for Instagram, tag me @theconsciousdietitian so I can see it!
Easy Hemp and Sunflower Seed Vegan Pâté
- 1 cup raw sunflower seeds soaked*
- 1 cup raw hemp hearts
- ¼ cup fresh dill chopped
- 2 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp cold-pressed oil olive oil, or argan oil
- 2 tbsp red onions or scallions chopped
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar unpasteurised
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until paste-like. If using a food processor you may need to scrape the sides down while blending to ensure the mixture is smooth.
- Find a small bowl, around 4 to 5" in diameter. Line it with a cheesecloth, or clingwrap. Place the blended pate mixture in the cheesecloth-lined bowl and smooth out the top with a knife. Let it set in the fridge for about 30 minutes to solidify.
- When ready, turn bowl upside down on a serving plate until pate is released.
- Serve with whole-grain crackers or sliced cucumber. Store in a container in the fridge for up to a week.
Gluten Free: Serve it with gluten-free seed crackers or sliced cucumbers.
Make it oil free: Replace the oil with water.
References for Hemp and Sunflower Seed Vegan Pâté
3) Al-Khalifa A, Maddaford TG, Chahine MN, Austria JA, Edel AL, Richard MN, et al. Effect of dietary hempseed intake on cardiac ischemia-reperfusion injury. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2007;292(3):R1198-203.
4) Vogl CR, Molleken H, Lissek-Wolf G, Surbock A, Kobert J. Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) as a resource for green cosmetics: yield of seed and fatty acid compositions of 20 varieties under the growing conditions of organic farming in Austria. J Industrial Hemp. 2004;9:51-68.
Rachel Dickens, The Conscious Dietitian, is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She graduated with her Masters in Nutrition and Dietetics in 2010 from Griffith University. She strives to provide evidence-based nutrition information with a focus on plant-based nutrition, and share some of her favourite seasonal recipes and sustainable eating tips.