I was so excited recently when Manitoba Harvest reached out to me and asked me to create a recipe using their hemp hearts. I’ll also admit that I was a little intimidated. I have read all about the benefits of hemp – including a high natural content of Omega-3’s and protein – but I haven’t used them all that much in cooking, simply because I didn’t really know HOW to use them. I’ve purchased hemp protein powder, but I wasn’t a huge fan and ended up with a huge bag to go through. I figured if I had questions on how to use hemp seeds and hearts, you all might have them too! I took Manitoba Harvests’ offer as a chance to step outside my own cooking comfort zone, learn something new and share it with you.
Hemp hearts are raw shelled hemp seeds and are a bounty of healthy goodness! They are naturally rich in Omega-3’s and are one of the most digestible sources of protein available. They also have all 10 essential amino acids, making it a rare complete plant based protein. One 3 tablespoon serving contains 170 calories, only 3 grams of carbohydrates, and 10 grams of protein! They are gluten free and paleo approved, and all of Manitoba Harvest’s hemp seeds are non-GMO project verified. They taste very lightly nutty, with a slightly chewy texture. They can easily be sprinkled on top of yogurt and granola or blended into smoothies as a quick and healthy addition.
There can be confusion when people here the word “hemp”, but make no mistake, you are NOT getting high using this product :). The hemp “seeds” are produced at the very top of these large, broad based plants, and the seeds are where we get hemp protein powder, hemp hearts and hemp oil. This is considered “industrial hemp” and is legal and accepted world wide as a very healthy addition to your diet. The hemp plant is also a sustainable crop, and Manitoba Harvest calls it the “green buffalo” of the plant world, because every single part of the plant can be used. Hemp is used in food, clothing, rope, paper, building materials, fuel and plastic, to name a few. It’s gotten a bad rap over the years, but hemp really is a workhorse of a plant!
Ok, let’s discuss this recipe for Fudgy Protein Bites. When researching ideas for the recipe I wanted to create, I narrowed it down to a salad dressing (like Angela’s) or crusted chicken breasts (similar to Gina’s recipe). Then I came across some energy bite recipes and realized it was national chocolate day, so the decision was made! Chocolate Fudgy Protein Bites were born!
I seriously am so excited about these Fudgy Protein Bites. I feel like there are many times I visualize a recipe in my head and it turns out nothing like what I pictured. I eat it anyway of course, but then forget about it and don’t take the time to tweak it or help it evolve. These turned out even BETTER than what I had hoped! They are like the best parts of a LaraBar and Almond Joy mushed together into a little bit of fudgy coconutty protein bliss. I am a huge fan of chocolate and coconut, but if you aren’t, just replace the coconut with sesame seeds or dried cranberries. Manitoba Harvest has also very generously extended a special offer for Pilates Happy Hour readers! Use the code HHSweatPink14 for 20% off your order on their website!
These bites are vegan with no sugar other than what the dates provide. They are full of Omega 3’s and protein from the hemp hearts, and have just the right combo of fudgy texture with some crunch from the toasted almonds. They would be perfect as a pre-workout snack or an afternoon pick me up with an espresso. Remember, they do have healthy fats, so stick to 1 or 2 as a serving size (you could easily eat the whole batch :). Let me know how you like them!
Chocolate Coconut Almond Fudge Protein Bites
- 1/2 cup Manitoba Harvest hemp hearts
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder raw is best, no sugar added
- 1/2 cup toasted almond slices
- 1/2 cup toasted unsweetened and shredded coconut
- 16 pitted Medjool dates your dates should be sticky and not dried out
- 1/4 cup almond butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Toast your almond slices and coconut in the oven or toaster oven at 325 for 5-7 minutes (keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn). Once cooled, mix this with the rest of your dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Place the dates, almond butter and vanilla in a blender and blend until a paste forms and there are no large pieces of date. Add this to your dry ingredients and mix until all combined (hands are easiest here!). Roll into one inch balls and place in the fridge until set. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 7-10 days or the freezer for 1-2 months.
- If you want to get fancy, you can roll the balls in extra cocoa powder or hemp seeds before putting them in the fridge. You now have truffles!