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    Archive for the ‘sea vegetables’ Category

    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!

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    You Ask, I Answer: Sea Vegetables

    DulseIn the past, you have written that seaweed is a good source of omega-3 for vegans, but what are the benefits for those of us who already eat fish?

    Is there any reason to eat sea vegetables if you already get omega-3s from animal sources?

    — Tom Emilio
    (Location withheld)

    Absolutely!  Their EPA content (one of the two omega 3 fatty acids found exclusively in fish and seaweed) is only one of their many benefits.

    All sea vegetables are great low-calorie sources of iron, magnesium, potassium, selenium, vitamin A, and vitamin K.

    Another bonus?  Sea vegetables have their own share of unique phytonutrients and antioxidants that help lower risk for heart disease and many different cancers.  This is why I often say that oceans have a very worthy produce section!

    Many people erroneously assume all seaweed is slimy, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

    You can purchase sheets of thin, crunchy nori (wonderful mixed into salads or used to wrap vegetables and avocado), dried chewy dulse (pictured, right), or hijiki (which, when cooked, has a consistency similar to that of rice).

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