Every time I go to a sushi restaurant I order the seaweed salad, which is the perfect example of “clean eating” food! The seaweed salad is always very pricey though and then they give me these teeny tiny portions, so I never have enough to eat, which I find very frustrating. However, I went to my mom’s house for dinner the other night and much to my delight was a GINORMOUS bowl of seaweed salad. I greedily spooned out much more than my fair share and happily gobbled it up. It wasn’t exactly the same seaweed you get in the Japanese restaurants, but I actually liked it even better.
Where Can You Buy Seaweed?
As far as I know, you can’t easily buy fresh seaweed, but dried seaweed is rather easy to find (you soak the dried seaweed in water and in 5 minutes it puffs up and is ready to eat). Mom bought dried seaweed from our local Asian market but they also sell it in natural foods stores and Whole Foods Market. If you don’t have an Asian market in your hometown you can buy it (along with just about anything else!) online at Amazon.com.
Just like there are different varieties of salad (romaine, arugula, etc.) there are also different varieties of seaweed. Like me, my mom didn’t really know one seaweed from the other, but she chose wakame because she said it “looked like it was the easiest to work with.”
Wakame is pleasantly tasty with a subtly sweet flavor. And yes, mom was right, it’s also easy to work with! It can be used for salad or in soup (I’m pretty sure this is the seaweed they use in miso soup). Wakame, classified as a “brown algae”, is also incredibly nutritious. Did you know wakame has 4 x’s the iron in beef?!?! And, after hijiki, wakame is the seaweed highest in calcium. Wakame has 10 x’s the calcium in milk!
Sea Vegetables (Seaweed) are SUPER Foods & Perfect if You are Trying to “Eat Clean”!!
Actually all sea vegetables (seaweed) are extremely nutrient rich, especially in minerals. Asian cultures prize seaweed for its ability to promote good health, beauty and a long life. As a group, seaweed is known to have detoxifying benefits. Eating seaweed has also been studied for possible anti-cancer effects. And, it must be a potent anti-inflammatory too as ancient Chinese texts report, “there is no swelling that is not relieved by seaweed.” (Now that I think about it, maybe that’s why so many spas offer seaweed wraps? I’m claustrophobic so the last thing I’m gonna do is let someone bind me up in seaweed in the hopes of shrinking the size of my butt. However, I’ll certainly have a big bowlful for lunch if that helps matters!)
How Do You Make Asian Seaweed Salad?
Seaweed salad is beyond easy to make. All you need to do is soak the seaweed in warm water for about 5 minutes. Drain the water and rinse briefly (if you don’t rinse the seaweed it can be a bit too salty, but if you rinse it too long it can be a little slimy.) Then you dress your salad with a light Asian-inspired vinaigrette such as the one in the recipe below.
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- 1 bag (2 ounces) Wakame dried and cut seaweed
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger
- 1 teaspoon rice wine or white wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 1/4 teaspoon raw honey (swap for maple if vegan)
Optional for Garnish
- Soak seaweed in warm water to cover, 5 minutes. Drain, rinse briefly with cool water and drain again. Use a paper towel to blot excess water. Set seaweed aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, ginger, vinegar, sesame oil and honey. Drizzle vinaigrette on top of seaweed and toss to coat. Optional: Garnish with fresh pickled ginger and sesame seeds.
Note: Asian Seaweed Salad will last for 2 days in a covered container in your fridge.