Why It Works
- Seaweed is naturally briny, and in its dried form can be rehydrated in water in a matter of minutes.
- There's no need to go overboard with the flavoring. Simply coat rehydrated seaweed in a mixture of sesame oil, rice vinegar, salt, a bit of sugar, and garnish with sesame seeds.
One of my favorite leafy greens isn't even a vegetable, in the typical sense of the term at least. It's harvested from the ocean rather than the ground—I'm talking about seaweed.
The oceanic qualities make it so distinctive and easy to prepare. Seaweed is naturally briny, already washed, and in its dried form can be rehydrated in water in a matter of minutes. What more could you ask from a plant?
Though much of our exposure to seaweed in the United States comes from sushi rolls and miso soup, there are a range of ways you can eat it. Wakame, the type of seaweed most commonly found in miso soup, is also good dressed in salad form. Kombu, the thicker seaweed used in the Japanese preparation of dashi, takes on a tender, almost glutinous quality when simmered for soups and stews. (Kombu, when it's cooked and thinly sliced, can also be used in a salad preparation.)
My current seaweed favorite (and wouldn't it be nice if there were seaweed-of-the-month gift baskets?) is the long and straggly variety you'll find at Korean markets. It shouldn't be hard to find; it comes in packaged bundles at least two feet long. Dark brown or black when dry, the seaweed takes on a forest-green shade after getting soaked for a few minutes in water.
Though I've tasted deep-fried, simmered, and steamed seaweed, the most direct way to enjoy this oceanic treat is to dress it with a simple vinaigrette. Since seaweed is so naturally briny and subtly salty, there's no need to go overboard with the flavoring. Simply coat rehydrated seaweed in a mixture of sesame oil, rice vinegar, salt, and a bit of sugar. Garnish with sesame seeds.
Best of all, seaweed salad is meant to be eaten cold or at room temperature, making it an ideal component in your bento box lunch.
Handful of dried seaweed, enough for 2 cups when rehydrated
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
To rehydrate seaweed, place seaweed in a large bowl filled with water. Let soak for 10 to 15 minutes, or until seaweed is supple. Working by handfuls, squeeze seaweed of residual water.
Place seaweed on cutting board and chop into rough 1/2-inch slices. Dress seaweed in vinegar, oil, salt, and sugar. Adjust seasonings to taste, depending on how tangy you like your seaweed. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve cold or at room temperature. Leftover seaweed may be kept in refrigerator for up to 4 days.
To learn more about seaweed varieties, check out our article here.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 3g||4%|
|Saturated Fat 0g||2%|
|Total Carbohydrate 1g||0%|
|Dietary Fiber 0g||1%|
|Total Sugars 0g|
|Vitamin C 1mg||5%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|