The ocean’s power sweeps over us without us even knowing. Whether we live landlocked or get to witness its ionic power firsthand, the ocean plays a fundamental role in shaping the global climate system. Even areas hundreds of miles away from any coastline are still largely influenced by the the planet’s oceans.
The ocean is key to the health of our planet, and what lies beneath it is no exception. Not only is the ocean a powerful source of planetary health, it provides us with many foods that are essential to achieving optimal health in our physical bodies. The mineral rich ocean waters provide a fertile breeding ground to both plants and animals that can play a beautiful role in our diets. Of course pollution, overfishing, and any number of other environmental factors make the subject of what to eat or not to eat a loaded question, and we prefer the keep our seafood intake highly considered—but there is so much edible goodness to be found. When we think of food from the ocean, fish is king, but in western culture we tend to forget that ocean plant life might be equally delicious, nutritious, and exciting!
It’s time to get excited about seaweed.
Seaweed is a rich dietary source of many vitamins and minerals including protein, calcium, vitamins A and C, and folate. But what is most unique about seaweed’s nutrient content is that it is one of the richest dietary sources of iodine, a mineral missing in most of our diets. Iodine is crucial in maintaining a healthy and regulated thyroid, which in turn helps regulate almost every other system in our bodies.
Healthier Thyroid = Healthier Human
Not only is seaweed excellent for your thyroid, it is one of nature’s most beautifying super foods. The vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant combination make it a powerhouse of skin and cellular health both internally and externally. Including seaweed on the regular in your diet is one of our favorite ways to get that glow!
So, you get it: Seaweed is super good for you, but outside of sushi you don’t know what to do with it. Here are a few words to help you navigate.
1 | Nori on the outside of Dragon Roll doesn’t really count
2 | Most generic seaweed salads don’t really count either because they are full of sugar, soy, wheat and other weird preservatives. Good seaweed salad isn’t bright green.
Here is our breakdown of how to make the world’s healthiest seaweed salad.
Purchase all of these seaweeds dried.
HIJIKI—Hearty and dense hijiki provides a ‘meaty’ component to salad. It has a similar look to black rice when soaked.
ARAME—It comes in long thins strips. When soaked it has a very fine noodle quality.
WAKAME—One of our personal favorites, wakame has a really nice flavor. It’s slightly salty without being overpowering. The texture is soft and almost paper-like.
NORI—The most common of all seaweeds, nori is what you see wrapped around sushi rolls. We love to add it dried to salads to add a boost of flavor and crunch.
DULSE—The saltiest of all, you can purchase dulse in strips to tear into salads. The texture is salty and chewy. Or you can purchase dulse flakes in most health food stores, which are great to sprinkle on salads in place of salt.
KELP—Kelp is very tough and hard when dry, so it needs to be soaked the longest. You can use kelp to flavor vegetable stock or soups. We’re using it soaked, and chopped into thin strips. Kelp has also become popular as the “kelp noodle.” While we love kelp noodles and think they are fun to eat, they are more highly processed than something we’d choose to eat on the regular.
KOMBU—Like kelp, kombu is best used in boiled or cooked foods. The flavor is very deep, rich and salty. It is great added to soup our rice dishes. We’re boiling it to make ‘kombu dash’ as part of our dressing.
7 Seaweed Salad with Miso Dashi Dressing
- 1/4 cup dried hijiki, soaked in 2 cups water 15-20 minutes
- 1/4 cup dried arame, soaked in 2 cups water 15-20 minutes
- 1/4 cup dried wakame, soaked in 2 cups water 15-20 minutes
- 1 large piece of kelp, soaked in 2 cups water for at least 1 hour
- 1/4 cup dulse (If you can’t find dried dulse pieces, a few tablespoons of dulse flakes are fine.)
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, finely chopped
- Sesame seeds, for garnish
While all of the above seaweeds are soaking. Take 1 large piece of kombu (approximately 4-5 inches) and place in a medium pot of filtered water- 4 cups water. Slowly bring water to a boil- this should take 20-25 minutes. Before the water boils, remove kombu. This is your kombu dashi.
Set aside dashi to cool.
After hijiki, arame and wakame seaweeds are soaked. Drain well and mix together.
| Dressing |
- 2 tablespoons miso
- 1/2 cup kombu dashi
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
- 1-2 tablespoons water, if needed
Blend all dressing ingredients until fully emulsified.
Toss dressing with hijiki, arame and wakame. Mix with cilantro. Top with dulse pieces or a few sprinkles of dulse flakes. Add sesame seeds with garnish.
Serves 6-8 as an appetizer *
*We love to serve this in a big bowl with extra greens, sauerkraut and avocado. It is dense on its own and makes an amazing addition to any salad or bowl.