8 Ways to Eat Seaweed (and Actually Enjoy It!)

Before you dismiss the possibility of ever consuming seaweed, consider this: Most of you probably eat processed sea vegetables every day. They’re used as thickeners and stabilizers in a variety of packaged foods. But the greener, more nutritious, and certainly most delicious way to indulge in seaweed is in its unprocessed form. We’re talking about safely edible marine algae found on or near ocean shores that can be a valuable source of a wide array of nutrients. Sea vegetables are believed to be detoxifying and beneficial to the thyroid. In a Macrobiotic lifestyle, they are used to “cleanse the lymphatic system, stimulate stagnant liver energy, alkalize the blood.” In fact, their concentrated nutrient profile has led to the suggestion that sea vegetables only be consumed in relatively small quantities.

8 Ways to Get By With a Little Kelp From Your Friends (along with a couple of recipes that the tide brought in):

1. Agar Agar
As Sara Novak tells us, agar agar is “a gelatinous substance derived from seaweed, which can be used as a vegetarian gelatin substitute or a thickener for vegan dishes.” Low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium and high in folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, manganese, vitamin E, vitamin K, zinc, and copper, agar agar is so nice they named it twice.

2. Arame
Sweet and mild and loaded with iron, calcium, and iodine, arame is just what the ocean ordered for a salad topped with tofu sour cream dressing.

3. Dulse
A very salty seaweed, dulse is often used as a salt substitute in soups and stews. It can also be eaten raw (like jerky). Dulse has been harvested as an iron-rich food source for thousands of years.

4. Hijiki
If you’re cooking for someone likely to be skeptical about seaweed, the mild flavor of hijiki is a good choice to be surreptitiously snuck into a soup or stew. The calcium and iron-rich hijiki is also cost-efficient as it quadruples in size when rehydrated. Try this Hijiki and Wild Rice recipe.

5. Kelp
This sea veggie is rich in carotene, iodine, chromium, and is also known for thyroid stimulation and its cleansing capabilities. “It can be used as a part of weight loss and it’s also great for your skin balance and smoothness,” says Sara Novak. Other claims about kelp’s magic? It has libido-boosting properties, can hydrate the skin in a nourishing seaweed spa bath, and can be used in part of a diet to combat hair loss naturally. For eating kelp, try it in this Soba Noodles with Kelp recipe.

6. Kombu
Whether you buy it fresh, dried, pickled, or frozen, Kombu remains rich in iodine, dietary fiber, iron, and potassium. Actually a form of kelp, kombu is used to support the thyroid, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and prevent a sudden rise of the blood sugar level.

7. Nori
Usually encountered in the thin dark sheets used to make sushi, nori is probably the most familiar seaweed used in Western cuisine. The original plant is typically dark purplish-black, but when toasted, nori turns green and acquires a nutty flavor. Use it in this California Reverse Roll Sushi recipe. And if you have a dog, try sharing some nori with her, as it is one of the ten safe “people foods” for dogs.

8. Wakame
Thin and stringy, wakame is deep green in color and used in making seaweed salad and miso soup. A good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Phosphorus, Riboflavin, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Copper, and Manganese, wakame is popular among those following a raw food or Macrobiotic lifestyle.

Planet Green is the multi-platform media destination devoted to the environment and dedicated to helping people understand how humans impact the planet and how to live a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle. Its two robust websites, planetgreen.com and TreeHugger.com, offer original, inspiring, and entertaining content related to how we can evolve to live a better, brighter future. Planet Green is a division of Discovery Communications.

By Mickey Z, Planet Green


William C
William C11 months ago

Thank you.

W. C
W. C11 months ago


Philippa P
Philippa Powers1 years ago

I love seaweed.

S J.
S J2 years ago

thank you

Fi T.
Past Member 2 years ago

Treasure our nature before enjoying her gifts

Shanti S.
S S4 years ago

Thank you.

Alicia N.
Alicia N4 years ago

Seaweed with hummus , just delicious!

Carole R.
Carole R4 years ago

Another thing that is good and good for you.

Anteater Ants
Anteater Ants4 years ago

What about ants?

Melinda K.
Past Member 5 years ago

my cats and dogs love nori, and my cat loves wakame. seaweeds are also full of minerals which are great for health.