Hailed as “the new kale” for the range and volume of nutrients packed into a single serving, seaweed is growing in popularity at restaurants and in grocery stores. Once it finds its way into our apartment kitchen for the first time, however, many of us have little idea what to do with it. DIY sushi is probably the go-to option for many. Thankfully, though, this veggie-of-the-sea can also be easily integrated into recipes for several other snacks, sides and even main dishes that you can enjoy anytime, any place.
Aside from eating strips of salted, dried sea grass, nori-wrapped avocado is probably the easiest seaweed appetizer to prepare. You won’t even need extra salt! If you’re feeling more ambitious and have two days to prepare, sprouted seaweed hummus is a great option, too.
If you go out for sushi often, you’ve probably seen a seaweed salad. You can play around with sauces and seasonings in your kitchen to make several types of this classic Japanese salad or stick with the traditional recipe. Fresh wakame is the type most commonly used seaweed in these salads, but it’s possible to make a salad with hijiki or dry mixed seaweed as well.
A Paleo Snack
Paleo-friendly, seaweed chips are a low-calorie, healthy way to satisfy those cravings for a salty, crunchy snack. Nori seaweed sheets, water and salt are all you really need. Depending on your taste preferences, you might consider adding garlic; sesame seeds and oil; and cayenne pepper or wasabi for a spicy kick.
Seaweed works well swimming in simple soups like miso, yudofu and Korean style, the last of which can be prepared with dry seaweed. If you’re feeling creative and daring, you may also try adding wakame to a vegetable broth and tofu, shiitake mushroom, egg drop or beef soup.
Like many squash variants, seaweed can be used as a healthy noodle alternative or complementary ingredient in a variety of pasta dishes like almond butter kelp and kale noodles, mushroom risotto and salmon-and-rice lasagne. If you wish to use it as a noodle substitute, the brown variety known as sea spaghetti is your best bet.
The distinct taste of seaweed may not scream dessert, but it actually pairs well with bitter chocolate and most berries. Try dark chocolate brownies, figgy pudding and salty butter cookies. Its flavor also complements Bailey’s Irish cream, in case you have an alcohol-infused treat in mind.
Mad Men fans and Asian food enthusiasts, there’s a Japanese-inspired version of an Old Fashioned with your name on it! Kale cordial is used as the primary spirit in Dram at Mount Tam, a cocktail created by Dirty Habit bar manager Brian Means and infused with vermouth, gin and celery bitters. If a creamy cocktail is of greater appeal to you, add The Irish Moss to your mixology repertoire. This cocktail, popular in the Caribbean, calls for seaweed, spices, sweetened coconut milk and rum.
For a non-alcoholic drink, boost your immune system with kombu tea. It’s easy to make at home, too, because all you need are thinly sliced strips of kombu kelp and hot water.
Is seaweed a staple in your apartment kitchen? Share your favorite ways to use it in the comments!
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