Adding Hemp to Your Thanksgiving Feast Is Easier Than You Think

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There's absolutely nothing wrong with a traditional Thanksgiving — eating leftovers the week after is a holiday by itself — but some people like to put their own spin on the feast.

I've had friends who serve mac and cheese, tamales or dumplings as their Thanksgiving side dishes, all of which are more than welcome in ma' belly anytime. But in 2018, we can take that a step further, incorporating hemp and CBD into drinks, side dishes, the main course and dessert.

"I like to keep hemp at home, and it's in my daily smoothies, at the very least. I also use it in my oatmeal and other things. It has a really nutty sort of flavor, so it's very easy to add in lots of foods," says vegan chef Sonja Miller. "It's also easy to cook with; I use the same sort of herbs and seasoning in dishes that I would traditionally make when I cook with hemp."

Hemp seeds and hemp milk are available at traditional grocery stores, Miller says, while health-food markets and high-end groceries like Whole Foods and Trader Joe's typically carry an array of hemp-based meat substitutes and even CBD-infused drinks.

Miller, founder of Denver personal chef service Fresh Perspective, served up a plant-based feast for dozens of hungry hemp lovers at last week's Vegan Hempsgiving banquet — but you don't need to go meatless to hemp it up on Thanksgiving. If you want to infuse your next holiday meal with hemp, here are some tips from Miller, based on her recent Hempsgiving dinner:

Hemp seeds are a healthy, delicious and sexy garnish.
Hemp seeds are a healthy, delicious and sexy garnish.
Jacqueline Collins

Embrace the seeds, or "hearts"
You can put hemp seeds (or hemp hearts, as Miller likes to call them) in or on top of just about anything. For Hempsgiving, she sprinkled hemp seeds in a white-bean-and-rosemary hummus for an appetizer, adding some lemon juice and garlic for a fresh, herbal flavor. "The hemp would work in any hummus, I would say, but the rosemary and white bean just gives me more of a holiday feeling. Spread some veggies out with it," Miller says.

Don't stop with the appetizer, advocates Miller, who sprinkled hemp seeds on top of her stuffing, green bean casserole and pumpkin-cranberry cupcakes at Hempsgiving. "Hemp seeds are pretty much everywhere," she says. "It adds a beautiful flavor."

Hemp can be the base of meatless burgers, sausage and more.EXPAND
Hemp can be the base of meatless burgers, sausage and more.
Ken Hambllin III

Replace the meat — if you want to
Some people think it's not Thanksgiving without a turkey, but hemp can be a delicious and savory substitute. For her meal, Miller took advantage of hemp-based vegetarian sausage bites, burger crumbles and chorizo to make the protein courses. The burger crumbles were added to the stuffing (along with hemp seeds), while the sausage bites were added to the green bean casserole for texture.

For the main dish, Miller cooked a seitan roast, rolling up the meat substitute into a log stuffed with hemp burger crumbles, leeks and mushrooms, then wrapping it in foil and cooking it to perfection. To top it off, she made a vegan gravy out of unsweetened coconut milk and hemp chorizo bites. "If you're making it vegan, you have to get the unsweetened milk, or there will be too much sugar," she adds.

Coffee and tea infused with hemp can carry around 20 milligrams of CBD per serving.
Coffee and tea infused with hemp can carry around 20 milligrams of CBD per serving.
Jacqueline Collins

Wash it down with CBD
After stuffing yourself with carbs and sweets, why not quench your thirst with a CBD-infused soda, drop CBD tincture into your beverage, or end the meal with a hemp-infused cup of coffee or tea, as Miller did? All three are easy, subtle options for adding a little more hemp or hemp-derived CBD to a meal, and CBD's anti-inflammatory and relaxing properties might even help your body recover from all that stress and bloating after gorging.

You can buy CBD-infused soda, sparkling water and juices at the same stores that sell hemp burgers, while CBD tincture is available at head shops, online or at specialty CBD stores around town. Hemp coffee and tea are a little easier to find (but no less expensive) at local coffee shops, health-food stores and also online.

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