Shake It, Blend It, Whisk It — Three great hemp seed oil salad dressings

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When I worked at The Ohio Hempery back in the early to mid ‘90s, one of the highlights was sitting around a big, old, honey-colored wooden table with a dozen other Hempery employees and eating giant salads at our communal lunches.

Don Wirtshafter, the owner of the company, had an oil press where he squeezed imported hemp seeds for fresh oil we used to make various products we sold online and through our mail-order catalog, including hemp seed oil shampoo, conditioner, lip balm, soaps and massage oil.

Don was a heck of a cook — he co-wrote a hemp seed cookbook — and he whipped up some mighty tasty salad dressings. Memories of those days inspired me recently to go shopping for hemp seed oil to concoct some dressings to accompany the embarrassment of leafy goodness coming out of local gardens — including our own.

Here are three I came up with to get you started.

I used a Canadian hemp seed oil I purchased at Food 4 Less in Medford from a company called Nutiva. There are several hemp seed oils available at grocery stores and health food stores in the valley, and I haven’t tried them all, although I intend to over the coming months.

I would gladly have purchased Oregon-grown hemp seed oil, but so far I have been unable to find any. As soon as some is available, we’ll write about it.

Hemp seed oil is exceedingly nutritious, with a balanced 3:1 ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 essential fatty acids, along with smaller amounts of three other polyunsaturated fatty acids in Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), oleic acid and stearidonic acid, information easily gleaned from the U.S. Department of Agriculture nutrition database (

EFAs are extremely fragile, and hemp seed oil can go rancid very quickly, so it is important to use organic, cold-pressed, vacuum-sealed oil and keep it refrigerated.

It’s also important to note that hemp seed oil will not get you high, and it is not the same thing as CBD oil, which comes from a different part of the hemp plant.

Hemp Seed Oil-Citrus-Tarragon Dressing

3/4 cup organic, cold-pressed hemp seed oil

1/4 cup Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar

1 small shallot, finely chopped

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon fresh, chopped tarragon

Dash of sea salt

Combine all ingredients except salt in a small jar and shake to combine. Add salt to taste. Cover and chill. Shake before serving.

Hemp Seed Oil-Tahini Dressing

1/2 cup organic, cold-pressed hemp seed oil

1/2 cup toasted sesame oil

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons of Bragg’s liquid aminos or tamari

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 clove garlic

2 tablespoons tahini

1 tablespoon honey

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

About 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger root

In blender, combine all ingredients and process until well blended. Taste for seasoning. Serve over mixed salad greens. If too thick, add a little water or more lemon juice.

Zesty Hemp Seed Oil-Herb Vinaigrette

1/2 cup organic, cold-pressed hemp seed oil

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon or 2 teaspoons dried tarragon

2 tablespoons minced fresh dill or 2 teaspoons dried dill

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley or 2 teaspoons dried parsley

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon minced chives

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Whisk all ingredients in a bowl. Serve over salad greens.

Reach Southern Oregon Good Herb editor David Smigelski at 541-776-8784 or



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