Sampling Carla Boyd’s cooking, including her hemp pesto aioli, was one of the highlights of our recent visit to Denver.

Boyd is the founder of Hemp Way Foods, a Colorado company. People lined up to sample her hemp burgers, vegan hemp nachos, and hemp tacos at the NoCo Hemp Expo last month. After we tried her food, we knew we wanted to find out more and get a few recipes for our readers.

Hemp hearts are a key ingredient in Carla Boyd’s hemp pesto aioli, along with many other delicious recipes.

Hemp hearts are a key ingredient in Carla Boyd’s hemp pesto aioli, along with many other delicious recipes.

We spoke with Boyd by phone to learn how she discovered hemp. She also shared two of her recipes, which you’ll find below: her famous hemp pesto aioli and hemp tacos.

HEMP WAY FOODS CREATED AFTER HEMP HEALED ILLNESS

Boyd began investigating hemp as a food source because of severe digestive problems. Her quality of life suffered, and nothing else seemed to help.

“I was a walking skeleton at the time,” she described. “I wasn’t absorbing any nutrients.”

Boyd was already involved with hemp advocacy, “but I had never really focused on the food side.”

Further research into hemp’s nutritional benefits led to the creation of her first product, a hemp burger.

“People started asking for it and wanted to buy it,” she recalled. “I never planned to have a food company; it’s almost like the company chose me.”

Hemp seeds are rich in antioxidants and natural anti-inflammatory substances. Hemp protein is also one of the most easily available and digestible proteins in the plant world. Boyd believes all of this contributed to making hemp easier for her body to process and use.

As Boyd’s health improved, the company grew with her. Four years later, Hemp Way Foods offers both the burger and hemp crumbles, which come in both original and sriracha pepper flavors. Both the hemp burger and hemp crumbles are vegan and free from common allergens like gluten, corn and soy. Hemp Way products are found in about a dozen restaurants and retail locations in Colorado, with plans to go national in the works.

Along the way, Boyd received the enthusiastic support of other hemp industry advocates and entrepreneurs.

“In the hemp world, there’s definitely a camaraderie,” she said.

Fresh basil and hemp hearts mix to create heavenly flavor in Carla Boyd’s hemp pesto aioli.

Fresh basil and hemp hearts mix to create heavenly flavor in Carla Boyd’s hemp pesto aioli.

HEMP PESTO AIOLI RECIPE

Recipes by Carla Boyd, Hemp Way Foods

Ingredients:

  • 1 12 oz. jar mayonnaise
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup hemp hearts (any brand)
  • 1 tsp. sriracha for added kick
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
Combine Hemp Way Foods’ hemp burger crumbles with hemp pesto aioli and other fresh ingredients for a delicious taco dinner.

Combine Hemp Way Foods’ hemp burger crumbles with hemp pesto aioli and other fresh ingredients for a delicious taco dinner. (Carla Boyd / Hemp Way Foods)

Directions: De-stem basil leaves. Blend all ingredients together and refrigerate. Hemp pesto aioli can be used as a sauce or spread in almost any dish.

HEMP TACOS WITH HEMP WAY FOODS’ CRUMBLES

Ingredients:

Directions: Defrost crumbles in a skillet with small amount of oil to crisp (1 tsp.). Stir all ingredients together and toast in the pan. Toast crumbles to desired crispness (about 8-10 minutes). Serve in corn tortillas with hemp pesto aioli on top.