August 14, 2019 at 12:00PM by CWC
While seaweed may not be the sexiest superfood (It’s green! It’s slippery! It’s texture is meh.), the ultra-nutritious underwater plant has stepped into the spotlight as one of the “it” foods on the market over the past few years years. Yes, it’s often rolled up in rice and served up as sushi roll, but a quick perusing of the World Wide Web shows that its uses go far beyond holding together your California roll. It’s even in breakfast foods now—no. joke.
In case you’re not quite sure why the slimy plant should get a spotlight in your diet, listen up. Seaweed’s major claim to nutritional fame is that it contains iodine: a critical antioxidant that helps keep your thyroid up to snuff. It also contains about 4 grams of protein per tablespoon and trace amounts of other nutrients. As you’ve likely observed in all your time splashing by the ocean shore, seaweed comes in many iterations, including salty-savory nori to pasta-substituting kelp noodles.
It’s time to deconstruct your sushi into a bowl, or even top your morning oatmeal with nori (trust us on this one).
You probably recognize nori as the papery green seaweed that holds your sushi together or the snack taking over shelves at Whole Foods. The member of the red algae family is rich in protein and fiber. Eat it dried as a snack, or use it recipes ranging from risotto to pizza.
You read that right: seaweed… on pizza. This recipe features avocado too, so all your favorite superfoods are on one slice.
The new hot thing is to take any old dish and deconstruct it into a bowl. Sushi is no different. Grab your chopsticks and go at it.
I know what you’re thinking: seaweed? On oats? It’s a risk, I’ll give you that. But breakfast doesn’t always have to be sweet. This time, it’s (sea) salty.
Close your eyes and pretend you’re on the Italian seaside with this decadent risotto.
One of the best things about Nori is it acts as a vessel for all your favorite vibrantly-hued veggies. This dish is exhibit A.
If it’s a snack you seek, look no further.
Combined with bok choy, nori becomes a green feast that earns a nutritional gold star. This dish will be on the table in minutes.
You’re going to want to add this recipe to your future meal prep folder. Its crisp, fresh ingredients will satiate you all the way until dinnertime.
This dinner comes in hot with a nautical riff on classic pesto.
Arame is the most iodine-rich of the edible seaweeds. This means healthy hormone regulation—and according to nutrition experts, your hair, nails, and skin will also thank you.
There’s nothing boring about this salad. It combines all your favorite tastes of the land (like avocado, pumpkin seeds, and onion) with arame for a surf and turf take on mealtime.
This refreshing dish is a dinner party staple, but the seaweed adds a twist of the unexpected.
If you want to boost your seaweed with more plant-based protein, just invite edamame to that par-tay.
Alternatively, you can rely on brown rice for a more hearty dish.
The member of the brown algae family has a good amount of iron and is packed other vitamins. It is almost always sold dried, but should be re-hydrated before eating. Squeamish about the thought of eating seaweed? The flavor is neutralized the longer you soak it.
Combined with the rich flavor of the black rice, the salmon and wakame take on an extra-robust flavor profile.
This gorgeous dish is one for the ‘Gram
For a crunchy snack time treat, whip up a large batch of these crackers for a week of happy noshing.
If you like your sea vegetables hot, hot, hot—a pot of soup is in order.
Move over veggie zoodles, it’s time to share the spotlight with kelp noodles. The gluten-free, often raw noodles are free of sugar or cholesterol, yet contain a healthy dose of calcium. Use them in place of noodles in stir-fries, salads, soups, or pasta dishes.
The overwhelming deliciousness of pad thai speaks for itself. Go forth and eat it.
For a slimier take on an Italian evening, skip the pasta and go for kelp noodles instead.
Salads splashed with all the colors are tasty to the eye and to your tastebuds. This dish’s lime dressing brings all the flavors together, so grab a fork and dig in.
Again with the bowls: we just can’t get enough of ’em. This one comes with crunchy spring peas to offset the softness of the seaweed.
Slaw is a staple of summertime barbecues. Add kelp to the mix, and you’ll surprise everyone at the party (like, in a good way).
Sometimes, a (seemingly) bottomless bowl of soup and movie are just what an evening calls for. Pho kelp noodles fit the bill.
For yet another vibrant dish, add this recipe to your rolodex.
Still not sold on seaweed outside of the roll? Here’s the healthiest sushi you can order:
This story was originally published January 15, 2016. Updated on August 14, 2019.