Culinistas's Kitchen

Eat Your Marine Greens

by The Culinistas

Say it loud, say it proud, say it on dry land, say it underwater: Sea vegetables are good for you and you should incorporate them into your diet! You’re probably familiar with nori, typically used in sushi making. Or perhaps wakame, a type of kelp that makes up your typical seaweed salad. Or maybe you’ve dove into the world of kombu, the base ingredient in dashi broth, often praised for its health benefits. No matter your baseline knowledge, we’re here to let you know, seaweed in all its forms is incredibly nutrient dense with very little caloric content. When you’re consuming seaweed, you’re consuming all the iodine it’s soaked up from the ocean (a mineral the human body is not able to produce, but that it needs. Fun fact: most salt is enriched with iodine) in addition to loads of iron, calcium, antioxidants and magnesium. Below are some of our favorite applications for marine veg.

Nori

Eat it as a crunchy snack! Dried nori is crispy and salty, often times sold with flavoring or simply alone in packaged sheets. It stores well, so stock up for your pantry. 

Kombu

Kombu is dried kelp, which you can find at most Asian markets. To up your Vitamin D intake, leave the kombu in the sun for about 30 minutes, then turn it into awase dashi by soaking it as long as you can in cold water (overnight or a few days no matter!), then bringing it to a simmer for about 20 minutes, removing the kombu, straining and enjoying. Add bonito flakes or dried mushrooms for extra umami flavor. You can re-use kombu sheets a few times over; just redry them first.

Umibudo

Which directly translates to “Sea Grapes” are a textural phenomenon worth getting your hands on. The best way to describe the taste and texture is caviar of the sea, due to the salty popping sensation. In addition to consumption cuteness, they’re packed with the omega-3 fatty acids that promote brain health & are great for your skin.

Hijiki

Dark brown strands of hijiki are best when rehydrated in water for 30 minutes (heads up: they will expand in size times two) and added to cooked white rice or shredded sauteed carrots with firm, cubed tofu. Hijiki is an earthier tasting seaweed, meaning it’s best paired with ingredients with a similar flavor profile, like root vegetables and radishes. And since it’s not as salty, don’t skimp on your sprinkle!

A special thanks to Favy for the beautiful photograph.