Ah, the vegetable of the sea.
Seaweed is chock-full of great stuff, like magnesium, calcium, iron, folate, and fiber, and according to Chinese medicine is a yin-nourishing food. Seaweed is also a great option when you’re short on time but still want to get some veggies in.
I’ve been in love with seaweed ever since I first tried sushi as a kid, and I’ve always looked for ways to incorporate this extremely beneficial and delicious food into my diet. I’m thrilled that my kiddo loves sushi as much as I do, because it’s an easy way to sneak a great veggie into his meals without too much fuss.
Seaweed also makes a great flavor enhancer for a simple soup or rice-based dish, and can work well as a garnish in a salad.
My Top 6 Seaweed Picks and How to Use Them
- Dulse – I love to sprinkle dulse on just about everything I eat. Dulse makes a great garnish seaweed, as its tiny flakes can easily enhance almost any dish, from a salad to a stew.
- Wakame – When I make my weekly Instant Pot meal to take to work, I almost always include some wakame. I simply crumble up the dried wakame, place it in a bowl of water until it rehydrates, and then add it to my stew, rice porridge, or soup after cooking it. It creates a salty flavor that makes it unnecessary to add extra salt. Wakame is also a key ingredient for seaweed salad.
- Kombu – This thick, flavorful seaweed is best added to stock. It’s a little too chewy even when cooked (trust me, I’ve tried it), but it adds a unique taste to whatever you put it in. Think of it as the bay leaf of the sea.
- Kelp – Kelp noodles, anyone? These are a great alternative to pasta when you’re doing full paleo or just trying to lighten up a meal.
- Agar – Agar is a lot of fun and you can make a variety of tasty deserts and unique dishes with it. You can also find agar boba (also known as crystal boba) at milk tea shops these days. I’ve used agar in lieu of gelatin to make a vegan flan, to make vitamin C gummies for my little guy, and to make jello.
- Nori – Probably the most familiar of seaweeds, nori is best for making sushi. It’s also nice to simply snack on, and is the type of seaweed you’ll find in most seaweed snack packs. I often add these to my little guy’s lunch as a healthy non-perishable veggie option. Nori also makes a quick and easy addition to a salad. Just tear it into bite-sized pieces and mix it in.
Making Healthy Meals Simple
Not only do I love the health benefits and the unique salty taste, I love that my kiddo enjoys it. I make sure he eats a vegetable serving at every meal, which isn’t always easy.
When we go out for sushi, the veggie is built right into the meal. This is a major win for both of us, as I don’t have to do any bribing, and he knows that he’ll get his end-of-meal treat with what seems like no extra effort.
If you can, I suggest getting your kiddo into sushi when they’re young. That way, it won’t be a struggle to incorporate this awesome vegetable into their diet on the regs.
I hope you’re inspired to try adding this super simple food into your diet. Let me know how you do so in the comments below, and good luck getting your sea greens!