When I was a young girl and my parents had guests over for dinner, they would always serve the same appetizer. It consisted of a half avocado in the skin filled with my mom's homemade vinaigrette.
My mom's dressing was special. Not because it was fancy - with 10 kids at her feet, she was by no means a fussy cook. I liked her vinaigrette because it was mostly vinegar and I delighted in the sharp taste of this liquid and the shivers that ran through my body every time I tasted it.
Whenever I thought my mom wasn't looking, I would dip my finger into her carefully filled avocados and revel in the taste of the sour acid (happily the guests never knew). I grew up with a penchant for vinegar and a great love for the creamy texture and delicious taste of avocado.
I’m doing something a little bit different with this version today. I wanted to work in some delicious and nutritious hemp hearts (shelled hemp seeds) and thought they would marry well with the sweet and sour lemon-pineapple purée I have put together.
Now, before you get too excited, keep in mind that the edible part of the hemp plant contains only trace amounts of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive chemical in marijuana – so, for good or for bad, you won’t be getting high off this recipe!
That said, hemp seeds are an excellent source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, protein and fibre. Two tablespoons of hemp seeds contain about 11 grams of well-balanced, easy-to-digest protein.
The seeds also taste great – when compared to flaxseed and chia (which I use regularly), hemp has a more substantive, chewier texture and nuttier taste that is very appealing in a salad.
Hemp Hearts Avocado Salad with a Lemon-Delicious Pineapple Purée
Notes: I have left the avocados mostly intact for this recipe. If you would like to work in more salad fixings, you can create room by scooping out some of the avocado flesh and reserving it for sandwiches, guacamole or your other favourite use. You can also surround the avocado with more salad fixings once plated, as desired.
The lemon in the purée cuts the sweet taste of the pineapple somewhat and gives it a mild sour flavour that I happen to love but if you prefer, you can diminish the amount of lemon or omit it altogether.
Slice avocados in half and remove pits. Line avocado cavity with a few pieces of lettuce and then add bell pepper and hemp seeds, dividing fixings among the 4 avocado halves.
For the purée, simply combine ingredients in a small blender and blend until smooth. Drizzle over avocado and enjoy.