"Welcome to Psychedelicatessen, a weekly column exploring the world of cannabis cuisine, including recipes from the great chefs and ganjapreneurs who fuel our appetite for adventure."

Cannabis is a wellness product, there’s no doubt about it. This helpful herb stimulates creativity, helps relaxation, and can help prevent or treat diseases. Supplementing your diet with cannabinoids bolsters the immune system, reduces inflammation, and balances the body’s systems. So how can you take this healthful habit to the next level? By eating cannabis combined with fresh, organic whole foods that nourish as well as indulge. 

Chef Wheeler Del Torro believes including cannabis in everyday cuisine can give everyone a better quality of life, saying that the cannabis-infused foods movement “is in its infancy right now. It’s a mindset change and as time goes on and it becomes legal, people will experiment more and more.” Author of Fillet of Soul: Afro Vegan, The Vegan Scoop and the forthcoming THC Cookbook, Wheeler likens the trend of cannabis cuisine to the vegan movement. “It’s an underground culture like veganism used to be -- twelve years ago people couldn’t even pronounce the word ‘vegan’ and now it’s an accepted lifestyle” complete with vegan products widely available in mainstream grocery stores.

Del Toro started out creating hemp ice creams and was drawn to the plant because of its many healthful qualities, including a good ratio of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids essential for robust vitality. Eventually, he graduated to cooking with herb after receiving many requests for vegan cannabis-infused desserts. “The only thing some people can imagine making with pot is brownies or cookies,” he says, “but I can do a 10-course meal with cannabis.” 

The THC Cookbook is full of inventive recipes that combine the best of a vegan diet with cannabis-infused oils and margarines. For patients who want to maximize the healing power of medical marijuana paired with a plant-based diet, this cookbook shows how to prepare richly satisfying meals busting with fresh flavors. Once the public realizes the benefits of eating weed, Wheeler says, “People’s eyebrows will no longer raise when you start speaking about cannabis!” So let’s all look forward to a future where cannabis will take its rightful place beside kale and carrots at the farmer’s market.

You can meet Wheeler Del Toro at “The Art of Edibles” panel at the U.S. Cannabis Cup in the Denver Mart Forum Room #1 on Saturday, April 19 at 3:30pm.

Quinoa Tabbouleh
Serves 4

Pair this quinoa tabbouleh with hummus and falafel for a quick lunch that will leave you feeling full of energy!

-2 cups water
-1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
-3 medium ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
-1 medium cucumber, finely chopped
-1 ½ cups coarsely chopped fresh parsley
-1 cup finely chopped scallions
-½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
-1/3 cup cannabis-infused olive oil
-¼ cup pine nuts
-2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint

Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the quinoa. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, until all of the water has been absorbed and the quinoa “tails” have unfurled, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Combine the tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, and scallions in a large bowl. Add the lemon juice, olive oil, pine nuts, and mint. Stir in the quinoa and salt to suit your taste. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or up to 1 day. Remove 30 minutes to 1 hour before serving to bring to room temperature.

Spicy Hummus

Makes 1 ½ cups

-1 habañero chile
-1 cup cooked or canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
-2 large garlic cloves, minced
-2 tablespoons raw tahini
-Juice of 1 lemon
-½ cup cannabis-infused olive oil

Heat the broiler. Remove and discard the stem and seeds from the habanero. Cut it in half lengthwise. Place the halves, cut sides down, in a baking dish and broil until the skin begins to blacken, about 10 minutes. Transfer the roasted chile to a bowl, cover, and allow to steam for 15 to 20 minutes. When the chile is cool enough to handle, rub off the skin and mince the flesh.

In a food processor, puree the chickpeas, garlic, tahini, habanero, and lemon juice. With the machine running, gradually add the olive oil through the feed tube until incorporated. Refrigerate until you are ready to serve.