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  • 3 Easy & Tasty Sea Vegetable Recipes

    As regular Small Bites readers know, I am a vocal fan of sea vegetables. They are highly anti-inflammatory, a good source of omega 3 fatty acids not found in other plant-based foods, and offer a nice array of vitamins, minerals, and other healthful compounds.

    Alas, since sea vegetables are not a part of traditional North American cuisine, most of us did not grow up eating them, or perhaps even knowing what they looked and tasted like.

    Except for some offerings at Japanese restaurants (maki rolls with nori, seaweed salads, and miso soup with a few bits of seaweed), our exposure to all this great underwater produce is rather limited.

    Before I provide the 3 recipes,some helpful information:

    • You can purchase sea vegetables at health food stores, Asian markets, Whole Foods, or through websites like Maine Coast or Eden Foods.
    • Keep in mind that you are buying dried sea vegetables, most of which you will then rehydrate at home. Sea vegetables expand quite a bit after being soaked (as much as five times their dried size), and these recipes don’t call for large amounts anyhow. You are getting a lot more food for your money than you may originally think.
    • In terms of flavors, arame and wakame are milder, hijiki is somewhere in the middle, while dulse, nori, kelp, and kombu have stronger flavors.

    And now, let’s talk food!

    Sweet Sea Salad

    Featured Sea Vegetable: Arame

    Yields: 4 servings

    SALAD INGREDIENTS:

    1 bunch lacinato kale, de-stemmed and wilted
    1/2 cup arame
    1/2 cup chopped raw almonds OR 1/2 cup sunflower seeds (buy roasted or, alternatively, toast raw seeds in pan over medium heat for a few minutes)
    1/3 cup shredded carrots
    1/4 cup Zante currants

    DRESSING INGREDIENTS:

    2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
    Juice of 1 medium orange, freshly squeezed
    1 teaspoon agave/honey/coconut nectar

    INSTRUCTIONS:

    1. To wilt the kale, place the de-stemmed leaves inside a large bowl. Add anywhere from 2/3 to 3/4 teaspoon of salt. Using your hands, “massage” the salt into the kale while simultaneously tearing the leaves into smaller pieces. The massaging process should last anywhere from a minute and a half to two minutes.

    2. In a separate smaller bowl, soak arame for ten minutes, then drain and rinse. NOTE: If you are a “sea vegetable rookie”, I recommend cutting the rehydrated arame strands into smaller pieces (this will help the taste buds acclimate better).

    3. Add rehydrated arame and remaining salad ingredients to kale bowl.

    4. Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together.

    5. Pour dressing over salad. Toss and serve.

    Quickie Nori Stir-Fry

    Featured Sea Vegetable: Nori

    Yields: 4 servings

    INGREDIENTS:

    2 TBSP coconut oil
    4 garlic cloves, minced
    1/2 cup broccoli florets, chopped
    1/2 cup red pepper strips
    3/4 cup toasted nori krinkles
    1/4 cup frozen sweet kernel corn
    1/4 cup shelled edamame
    2 teaspoons tamari/soy sauce/shoyu
    2 teaspoons sweet chili sauce
    1/4 tsp dried ginger
    Scallions, chopped (optional, for garnish)

    INSTRUCTIONS:

    1. Heat coconut oil in large pan over medium-high heat.

    2. Add minced garlic; stir often to ensure even cooking and browning.

    3. Add broccoli florets and red pepper strips. Stir for one or two minutes, and add a small amount of water (approximately 1 TBSP) to soften.

    4. Add nori crinkles, corn, and edamame to pan. Sauté all ingredients.

    5. Add soy sauce, chili sauce, and ginger. Stir thoroughly to ensure even coating on all ingredients.

    6. Serve stir-fry over quinoa or brown rice. Top with scallions

    “Tuna” Salad

    Featured Sea Vegetables: Kelp, Dulse

    Yields: 4 servings

    INGREDIENTS:

    1 cup raw sunflower seeds
    3 TBSP hemp seeds
    1/2 cup celery, chopped
    1/3 cup onion, chopped
    1/3 cup red bell pepper, chopped
    1/4 cup tomatoes, diced
    1 tsp apple cider vinegar
    1 tsp lemon juice
    1.5 tsp kelp powder OR dulse granules (Maine Coast sells both)
    1/2 tsp salt or miso

    INSTRUCTIONS:

    1. Process sunflower seeds in food processor until you get a texture that resembles very coarse flour.

    2. Add remaining ingredients and pulse several times until all ingredients are well combined.

    3. Scoop “tuna salad” mixture onto salad greens or serve on toasted whole grain bread with a generous layer of Dijon or honey mustard.

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    8 Comments

    1. Tanya said on January 13th, 2012

      Thank you for these recipes! I bought some sea vegetables from Maine Coast awhile back and have been looking for ways to use them.

    2. Lauren said on February 1st, 2012

      Hey Andy, I’ve been fairly curious about sea vegetables lately. I have no experience with them! I was wondering if you could use them to create a broth to make a vegetarian version of seafood chowder. Is that feasible?

    3. Andy Bellatti said on February 20th, 2012

      Lauren,

      I definitely think so. They will certainly help impart a sea/fish flavor.

    4. Sarah said on February 20th, 2012

      I love to sautee dulce with my usual vegetables – should I be rehydrating it at all? I haven’t been and I noticed a little goes a long way because it has so much (delicious!) salty flavor.

    5. Andy Bellatti said on February 20th, 2012

      Sarah,

      Not necessarily; not all sea vegetables need to be hydrated. It varies on the recipe.

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