Support Local Journalism. Join Riverfront Times Press Club.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Gut Check's Schwag Bag: Greg's Hemp Oil Salad Dressing

Posted By on Wed, Mar 4, 2009 at 6:08 PM


This product comes from Greg Perez, the ex-chef and owner at the now-shuttered Grateful Inn, formerly located on Manchester Road in Maplewood. Since the restaurant, which featured several hemp-based dishes on the menu, closed in March of last year, Perez has focused on expanding his salad dressing business.

For the uninitiated, hemp is a cousin of cannabis sativa (aka: marijuana, pot, cheeba, etc.) but it contains no THC, the psychoactive ingredient responsible for giggling, the munchies, and a fondness for the band Phish. 

But while hemp oil doesn't get you high, it's impossible not to associate the stuff with its reefer relative. So after whipping up a salad of spring greens, grated carrots, black olives and red onions for the vinaigrette and chopping up some carrots and celery for dipping in the ranch, we enlisted a trio of local stoners to put the product to the ultimate taste test.

As far as I know, hemp cultivation is still illegal in the United States, but virtually every other industrialized country in the world grows the stuff. In addition to its use as a food stuff, hemp oil, which is pressed from the plant's seeds, is used in everything from soap and shampoo to ink and biodiesel. Because it contains Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acids, it has a relatively high nutritional value.

Ironically, though, hemp oil isn't the first oil ingredient listed in either dressing--it's soybean oil. And at 170 calories and 20 grams of fat per two tablespoon serving, it isn't exactly the healthiest alternative to those waistline-expanding dressings at the supermarket either.

Still, other than the hippy-friendly packaging, the dressings look and smell normal. The ranch is a tad more runny than standard stuff and the vinaigrette looked like a green-tinted olive oil. The vin also listed apple-cider vinegar as one of the main ingredients.

The taste-testers, who asked not to be named in order to protect them from Michael Phelps-style post-pot-consumption prosecution, were clearly skeptical of a snack involving so many vegetables. Still, they dug in with gusto.

The ranch was the clear favorite. The carrot and celery sticks were gone in a matter of minutes. A sampling of their comments: 

"If you didn't tell me it was hemp oil I wouldn't have even known. I would have thought it was my mom's weight-watcher dressing or something."

"The ranch is bomb. It tastes like dank weed."


"The celery is delicious. Did you know you celery counts for negative calories? You burn  more calories chewing it than you do ingesting it."

The salad with the vinaigrette was markedly less popular. After one of the guinea pigs took a heaping plateful, the others were content to nibble from the bowl. Their thoughts:

"It's not flavorful, there's not much to it. It doesn't really taste like much, just oil."

"Definitely, there's no flavor. It looks like vinaigrette, it's oily and vinegary but there's not much flavor."

"I don't like black olives. I always try to convince myself that I like them but I never do."

"Does it get you high? No? It would be better if it was made from hash oil."

Half of the salad was left in the bowl (the serving bowl, mind you) but the testers were clearly done with their meal. Their closing remarks:

"He should make hemp ice cream instead."

"Let's go get some Girl Scout cookies."

"Ooh, how about Applebees?"

Tags: ,

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

January 19, 2022

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2022 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation