In celebration of this year’s Sea Week, we decided to focus on our favourite oceanic vegetable – seaweed! Not only does it taste delicious, it's also laden with nutrients.
While there are so many reasons to love it, many of us find it difficult to get past sushi and nori snacks. With help from our friends at Pacific Harvest we’ve put together a list of ten seaweed meal ideas you may have never thought of. But first, we delve a bit deeper into seaweed's renowned health-giving properties...
A Karengo, Cacao & Ginger Smoothie - photo courtesy of Pacific Harvest
Seaweed is an amazing superfood
Some of seaweed's suggested health benefits include:
- It’s an amazing source of iodine. Humans need iodine to produce our thyroid hormone. Seaweed is a great source of iodine as it contains the highest naturally occurring levels of iodine in any food.
- It’s high in protein, fibre and fatty acids. Seaweeds contain up to 35% protein, lots of essential fibre (both soluble and insoluble) and good fatty acids. Because of its high nutritional content, dried karengo was sent to soldiers in the Maori Battalion during the Second World War!
- It assists with digestive health. Seaweed is said to help heal gut walls, flush out toxins and nurture those good gut bacteria.
- It’s great for skin, hair & nails. One traditional use of seaweed is as a tonic for healthy skin, nails and hair. All those good nutrients described above are tipped to detox, moisturise and reduce inflammation.
- It’s said to support immunity. Seaweed is said to have antiviral and antibacterial properties, and may boost immunity.
Seven Seaweed Recipes
Wakame Salad - photo courtesy of Pacific Harvest
1. Seaweed Salad
A sushi bar favourite, this light, crunchy, tangy salad is made from Wakame, which is usually bought dried and then rehydrated back to its original state by a five-minute soak. A little goes a long way, as Wakame can easily grow 10 times the size as it rehydrates! This recipe has six ingredients, takes five minutes and is a great accompaniment to Asian fish or tofu dishes. Easy as!
2. Dulse Fish pie
Unsurprisingly, seaweed flavours meld beautifully with fish and seafood. In particular, Dulse seaweed is said to work well in fish-focused dishes. Handily, it doesn’t need to be rehydrated before use, in fact, many people eat it straight from the bag! You can find a tasty recipe for Dulse Fish Pie here.
Karengo Salsa - photo courtesy of Pacific Harvest
3. Karengo Salsa
Forget conventional dips, Tomato & Karengo Salsa is a great take on salsa, upping the nutritional content of this and creating an intensity of taste. It’s perfect with vege crudités, chips or spread lavishly on bread and crackers.
4. Vegan Panna Cotta
Panna cotta is an Italian dessert which literally means “cooked cream”. This version could be called ‘coco cotta’. Seaweed is the setting agent in this all-vegan recipe. Agar is a natural vegetable alternative to gelatine, with the ability to set jellies, puddings and custards. Sweet and seaweed… who would have thought?
5. Seaweed Stock
Seaweed brings the most incredible flavour to plant-based stocks. In Japanese cuisine, kombu dashi (kelp stock) forms the foundation for countless dishes. It’s important not to bring seaweed stock to the boil, as it can make the stock taste bitter. This seaweed stock makes a great base for soups or stews.
Wakame-wrapped salmon - photo courtesy of Pacific Harvest
6. Oven-Baked Salmon with Wild Wakame
Cooking fish on wakame contributes a delicious umami taste and makes for great presentation. Take a look at this recipe – it works just as well on the BBQ as the oven.
7. Dulse Smoothie with Berries
Seaweed could well be the next ingredient on your breakfast menu. This delicious dairy-free smoothie has a base of banana, berries and flax seeds, with an extra kick from one teaspoon of dulse flakes. It’s filled with nutritional power and will definitely wake you up!
The ways you can use seaweed are just as diverse as its nutritional benefits. We stock seaweed in all our stores – come and try it for yourself!