Seaweed, also know as sea vegetables, has been gaining popularity for its great flavor, gourmet flair, and unique health qualities. Below are some ideas on how to use seaweed, as well as details on why it is so very good for you.
There are several varieties of seaweed, many of which are edible and have been cultivated for years by people living in coastal areas. Most of us in the U.S. were first exposed to seaweed with the breakthrough popularity of sushi, a Japanese delicacy commonly wrapped with a dried toasted sheet of seaweed, called nori. Great in sushi, nori is also good for you, and like the plethora of seaweed currently on the market, has many additional culinary uses beyond sushi. According to Mao Shing Ni, L.Ac., D.O.M., PhD, from the Dr. Oz show, “Seaweed and WAKAME looks almost like thick green pasta when it is rehydrated. It is high in calcium and magnesium and acts as a diuretic. It is best served in soups and salads. marine algae have more concentrated nutrition than vegetables grown on land and they have long been considered to possess powers to prolong life, prevent disease, and impart beauty and health.”Most notably, seaweed is very high in iodine, a nutrient that is missing in almost every other food. Since the 1920s, iodine has been added to table salt, but it is always better to find a natural source to incorporate into your diet in moderate doses.
Seaweed also contains vitamins A and C as well as calcium, but usually the serving size is not large enough to really make a significant difference. That is why I am a big fan of my son's favorite snack, toasted nori. Nori is filled with essential minerals, vitamins and protein and is extremely low in calories. According to the package of nori I am using at home, each piece only has 10 calories, but 1g of protein, 6% vitamin A, 4% vitamin C, 2% calcium and 2% iron. Talk about nutrient dense! Don't stop at nori! All types of seaweed have nutritional benefits; check out some of my other favorites:
HIJIKI looks like tiny black pieces of shredded cheese, but the texture is chewy and the flavor is salty. It is extremely high in calcium and tastes great in salads or mixed with edamame beans. Arame, another popular seaweed variety, looks and tastes similar to hijiki.
WAKAME looks almost like thick green pasta when it is rehydrated. It is high in calcium and magnesium and acts as a diuretic. It is best served in soups and salads.
KOMBU (Kelp) comes in long, dried sticks that work well to flavor soups. The nutrients in kombu have been found to work as an anti-coagulant which may help prevent heart disease. Some also say that when added to a pot of beans, kombu can help eliminate some of the undesirable, umm, side effects.
Below are two variations of my recipe for the most amazing seaweed chips that you can easily make at home:
Inspired by the ever-popular Asian noodle salad, the arame provides a unique, gourmet, and healthy alternative to a traditional noodle. The daikon is crunchy and fresh, and everything combined makes for a crunchy, memorable bite. We used Eden organic arame. This salad works well with wakame seaweed as well.
This Kelp Noodle Bowl is cooked in kombu seaweed broth. Each tofu, mushroom, and noodle filled bite is pure umami.
MORE: The Sushi Diet
Recipes published in JOY of KOSHER with Jamie Geller Magazine Shavuot 2015 SUBSCRIBE NOW
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