Health Foods Demystified! Part 3 of 4: Seaweed!
Welcome to part 3 of my 4-part series: Health Foods Demystified - featuring recipes from The Happy Go Lucky Vegan!
This week’s ‘weird’ health food? SEAWEED.
Okay, so if you’ve ever eaten a sushi roll at any point in your life, you have already eaten seaweed. Surprise!
That black ‘wrapper’ on the outside of your sushi was NORI - one of the thousands of species of seaweed.
In a word, seaweed is POWERFUL. It’s a highly nutritious sea vegetable that most definitely deserves a regular place in your diet.
Why is seaweed so awesome?
I could really write a book about this - and many others have! - so I will try to be brief and list some of the most amazing things about seaweed. The list goes on and on - so much so that you’ll think I’m making it up - but I’m really not. Seaweed is the bomb.
Awesome things about seaweed:
- really important for thyroid health
- amazing source of iron
- a good source of calcium and magnesium
- a good source of fiber
- a good source of omega-3 fatty acids
- helps control cholesterol
- can help stop blood clots from forming
- may lower risk of certain cancers
But doesn’t it taste weird?
Well, yes and no.There are many different varieties - and many different ways to prepare seaweed. Generally speaking, though, seaweed tastes like the sea: salty and natural. Sometimes it’s chewy, sometimes it’s crunchy, sometimes it’s a little weird - and other times it’s completely delicious (toasted nori, anyone??)
Where do I find it?
Well, it comes from the sea, of course - but you probably won’t want to harvest your own! Instead, head to your friendly, neighborhood health food store and you’ll see a wide selection. It usually comes in its dried form, and they keep it on the shelves. Dulse is fun to sprinkle on soups and salads. Wakame is often used in miso soup. Kombu is wonderful for adding nutrients and flavor to beans and rice.
If you’d like to just cut to the chase and taste a finished dish, you can head to a Japanese restaurant and order a seaweed salad as an appetizer. Be brave! YUM!
What else should I know?
Please don’t be freaked out about seaweed. Just like there are many different kinds of pasta dishes - and you may not like them all - there are many different kinds of seaweed dishes, and you may not like them all, either. Please keep trying until you find something you like. Seaweed is a rock star super-food to add to your life!
And now, with yet another fantastic, delicious, and EASY recipe, I give you……The Happy Go Lucky Vegan.
The nori veggie wrap is a cinch to make, and one of the healthiest lunches out there. I call it my gold medalist lunch! There are a million and one different combinations you could come up with - and I often use the leftover vegetables, nuts and seeds sitting idle in my fridge. To find the wrap that delights your taste buds, try experimenting with different vegetables, textures, spices and sauces. I also love to mix it up with cashew cream, tahini, and a little wasabi mixed with soy sauce. The recipe below is my favorite nori wrap combination - it’s so simple, delicious and gorgeous - I know you’ll just love it!
Nori Veggie Wrap
1 nori sheet
½ red pepper, cut into slices
1 large avocado, flesh scooped out
5-6 olives, sliced
½ carrot, cut into matchsticks
handful of sunflower seeds
soy sauce for dipping
Method: Layer the vegetables and seeds on the nori sheet. Tuck in the outer corners, and gently roll the nori sheet using your hands. Either slice into small pieces, or serve as is!
About the author: Jesse Nattamai lives, writes, gardens and feeds her ravenous appetite in Tucson, Arizona with her spicy-food loving husband and adorable dog. She taught middle school history for five years, and currently runs her own food blog at Happy Go Lucky Vegan while freelancing for other related websites. On the side, Jesse enjoys leading tours and workshops at Tucson Botanical Gardens, and writing short stories.