Asian cultures have reaped the benefits of seaweed nutrition for centuries. Lately it’s been getting more attention in the West for being the next big superfood. It’s an excellent source of calcium, potassium, protein and omega 3s but one of the biggest seaweed benefits is the fact that it’s one of the only natural sources of iodine, which is essential for a healthy thyroid.
Seaweed has a distinctive ocean-ey taste that takes some getting used to but Oregon State University’s Food Innovation Center has a solution. They’ve developed bacon-flavored seaweed. That’s right! Research chef Jason Ball tells Bon Appetit, “[W]hen you pan-fry it, it takes on a lot of those smoky and savory characteristics that are very, very similar to bacon. Bacon-flavored or not, it’s also one of the best ways to imbue your cooking with that elusive umami flavor. We’ve rounded up 15 recipes to help you get some seaweed nutrition in your life.
1. Seaweed Salad This Japanese salad gives you all the seaweed benefits with a nutty sesame and tangy ginger flair.
2. Seaweed Mashed Potatoes Add this recipe to your Thanksgiving menu for (somewhat) guilt-free mashed potatoes with bonito and kombu. Homemade seaweed butter makes them extra delicious.
3. Dulse Bread A savory/sweet bread made with dulse and carrots makes a great dinner side. Or try experimenting with some new toast recipes.
4. Korean Rolled Omelet with Seaweed With only four ingredients, this dish is super easy to make and you can serve it for breakfast, lunch or as a tasty appetizer.
5. Umami Dusted Burger Umami dust is one of Umami Burger founder Adam Flieschman’s staples. It’s a blend of crushed shiitake, kombu and bonito. Sprinkled over a burger with sharp stilton cheese and a port wine reduction, it’s the ultimate umami extravaganza.
6. Nori Salt This is just what it sounds like — dried, crushed nori mixed with salt. It’s a fantastic way to get seaweed benefits while adding a unique seasoning to your favorite foods.
7. Seaweed Tapenade Here’s another versatile seaweed dish. You can use this in place of salsa verde, served over fish, mixed with spaghetti or try spreading a little on your dulse bread.
8. Hijiki No Nimono This is a traditional Japanese side dish for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It’s got a distinctive flavor so definitely do some taste tests before serving.
9. Irish Moss Cocktail The Irish Moss Cocktail is a traditional Jamaican drink and, unlike most cocktails, it requires a little cooking. It’s made with rum, Irish moss seaweed and flavored with nutmeg and strawberry syrup.
10. Balsamic Vinegar Pearls You may not know that agar (used for gelatin and in petri dishes) is made of seaweed. Get your molecular gastronomy on with these easy but totally impressive Balsamic Vinegar Pearls.
11. Hurricane Popcorn Even popcorn can be improved with a little seaweed nutrition. Hurricane Popcorn was born in Hawaii and is flavored with sesame, soy sauce, nori, bonito and butter. Yum!
12. Tropical Mango Matcha Smoothie Cake You can create a cake out of a nutritious green smoothie thanks to this magical recipe and agar agar. With matcha, spinach, mango and almonds this may be the healthiest dessert on the planet.
13. Seaweed Chips Have a snack with the satisfying crunch of chips, and the benefits of seaweed, flavored with sesame oil and garlic.
14. Seaweed Okara Cake It’s not a typo, this recipe calls for okara (soybean pulp) not okra. Between the seaweed, okara and oatmeal these cakes take nutritious to the next level. Plus they make an awesome appetizer, side dish or light meal.
15. Ahi Poke Poke, made with cubed raw fish, is a staple in Hawaii. Think of it as sushi-style ceviche minus the citrus. It’s literally as simple as chopping up the tuna and mixing it in a bowl with the dry ingredients.