Become a Sea Veggie Superstar!
Sea vegetables are just what they sound like: greens that grow in the sea. These healthy vegetables include nori (what your sushi is wrapped in), wakame (what is in your miso soup), arame (often in your seaweed salad), dulse, kombu, kelp and hijiki. Sea vegetables also include varieties of seaweed hidden in prepared foods such as ice cream, baked goods, jelly, salad dressings, chocolate milk and toothpaste.
Grown in the depths of the sea, these green wonders are full of vitamins and minerals essential to human health and nutritional balance. Minerals make up seven to thirty-eight percent of the dry weight of these superfoods; the most significant minerals found in sea greens are calcium, iodine, phosphorous, sodium and iron, but they are also rich in other nutrients like protein and vitamins A, B, C and E.
Sea vegetables can help with everything from reducing blood cholesterol, removing metallic and radioactive elements from the body, and preventing goiters. Seaweed also has antibiotic properties, may counteract obesity, could improve digestion and nerve transmission, and strengthens bones and teeth. To top it off, sea veggies have been researched as a beauty aid for their skin-improving and anti-aging properties.
Sea vegetables and thyroid health
Seaweed got a boost of recognition earlier this year, after the devastating earthquake in Japan, thanks to the presence of the mineral iodine in these vegetables. Radiation fears spread to the west coasts of Canada and the United States when the quake and subsequent tsunami caused serious damage to a nuclear reactor; iodine pills are great way to protect against some of the effects of radiation.
Iodine is also a key mineral for thyroid health, which is the role it’s more likely to play in the average person’s diet. Our bodies need iodine for thyroid hormone production, which helps keep our metabolism working properly. That’s why weight gain is a symptom of hypothyroidism and weight loss is a symptom of hyperthyroidism — our metabolism, and therefore our weight, is affected when these hormones are out of whack.
People used to get their RDA of iodine — 150mcg for most adults — largely from iodized salt, but as more people reduce the sodium in their diets, deficiencies could occur. That’s one important reason why seaweed is a great dietary addition — it’s one of the best food sources of iodine. Regularly including a variety of sea vegetables in your diet can help keep your thyroid working properly.
How do you use sea veggies?
Sea vegetables are extremely versatile — they can be used in a number of recipes and incorporated into numerous styles of cuisine. They compliment or accent many dishes, from soups and salads to even desserts.
Give sea vegetables a go in your diet with this recipe using seaweed in perhaps its most familiar form — wrapping of nori rolls. And learn some more delicious recipes containing sea veggies at Amazing Asian on March 7th!
Napa Cabbage Salad
Makes 6-8 servings
What’s in it?:
1 whole napa cabbage, washed and sliced into shreds
1/4 cup of soaked arame
1 cup shelled cooked edamame (optional)
1/3 cup toasted sunflower seeds
2 Tablespoons sesame seeds or poppy seeds
1/3 cups olive oil
¼ cup brown rice syrup
¼ cup brown rice vinegar
1 tablespoon tamari
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 small or medium onion, grated
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
How it’s made!:
- Soak arame in water for 20 minutes.
- Place the cabbage in a large salad bowl with the edamame. Add in soaked arame. In a smaller bowl, combine all the ingredients for the dressing and mix well.
- Pour over the salad mixture in the bowl, then top with the nuts and seeds and toss.
- Serve immediately.
Originally posted on Chatelaine.
I have grown up in a culture that is obsessed with noodle soup, except the base isn’t miso, it’s chicken! There is nothing wrong with this, as chicken soup is for the soul…right? It will cure any ache, pain, cough, cold or flu and it must be served by your mom! The nostalgia and truth still reigns truth (and reality) for so many, but not for me. Since chicken noodle soup has been out of my life for almost a decade, I have had to come up with other alternatives.
The wonderful result of this is non other than Miso – the wonder paste that makes the most nourishing base for a soup or broth. I have been using Miso for years now. I have tried different, brands, different varieties and no matter what – you will always have an amazing soup. ( I love Tradition Miso)
Facts about Miso:
Miso is a traditional Japanese food, and it is loaded with enzymes and vital nutrients. It is typically made with fermented soy, a grain such as rice or barley, koji (bacterial starter) and salt. It has a texture like peanut butter. Stay away from miso powders and dehydrated versions as they are loaded with excess sodium and other stabilizers and simply don’t taste as good.
Other than that – just have fun with your bowl or cup. It can be as simple as just the miso paste and water, or you can load it up with veggies and sea vegetables to up the nutrients, enzymes and overall vitality of your bowl of soup. And of course, it will just never taste as good unless it has some noodles in there. I use brown rice noodles and I also like to add in loads of sea veggies. Whether it is wakame, arame or sea spaghetti.
One thing to note about miso, is that you should never add it to boiling water or water heated too high (above 104F). If miso is heated, it’s nutritious enzymes and minerals will diminish. So be careful how you prepare it!
Why is it good for you:
Miso paste is vegan and can also be gluten free (as long as you buy one that is based with brown rice instead of barley). Miso is a beneficial digestive aid – as it helps to get your stomach enzymes working before a meal. Also if you are not hungry, leave it to miso to bring on your appetite and coat your stomach. That being said if you have an upset stomach, (diarrhea, constipation) miso will also help to balance out this discomfort. It is loaded with a natural bacterial culture that works to replenish and build up your gut. It is also rich in plant based protein. It contains a natural form of salt and sodium, so if you need a dose to replenish your body after an intense workout or even if you just have a headache or feel light-headed from sugar, a bowl of miso soup is your answer. As it will ground you and bring you back into balance. Miso is also known to be effective in reducing the effects of radiation, smoking, air pollution and other environmental toxins.
Types of Miso:
The darker the colour, the more potent its medicinal properties. However there are also lighter varieties that are a bit sweeter. Light or shiro miso is great for salad dressings, marinates or just a great compliment to dark rich miso in a soup.
Nutrient-Rich Country Miso Soup
10 cups water
4 – 8 dried or fresh shiitake mushrooms
1 inch piece of Kombu
1/2 cup wakame (aka Seaweed) – soaked for 5 minutes and cut into bite size pieces
4 pieces of kale or bok choy (with stems removed) and cut into bite size pieces
2-4 stalks of celery, cut crosswise into small slices
2 large carrots, peeled, halved and cut into small pieces
1 small onion, halved and cut into slices
1 cup of miso paste (1/2 dark and ½ light)
3 green onions
1 package of brown rice noodles cooked according to package (prepared separately).
1. Bring the 10 cups of water in a pot up to a high heat, lower heat and add the strip of Kombu and half of the shitake mushrooms (this adds extra nutrients to the soup broth.)
2. Let the water come to a simmer for 15-20minutes with the onion, carrots and celery.
3. At the end of the 20 minutes, add the rest of the shiitake mushrooms and simmer for another 10 minutes.
4. Following this add the kale or bok choy. Let the soup simmer for a final 10-15 minutes.
5. Remove 1-2 cups of liquid and stir the miso paste* in a separate bowl. Once dissolved, add the mixture back into the pot. Turn off the heat and stir.
Serve Soup in bowls and garnish with chopped green onions.
** Always add Miso paste at the end. Miso is very delicate and should never be boiled. It will destroy it’s natural enzymes.
Don’t feel like making a whole pot of soup?
Just warm up a some water to fill a mug or a small bowl and stir in 1 tablespoon of miso to warm up your soul, before, during or after a meal – or anytime for that matter!
Have you ever made Miso soup? What goes into it?
I certainly don’t, and neither do you! For more reasons than one. First of all Alfredo sauce is loaded with loads of butter, cream, milk and cheese. Yup, all in one recipe. That is a heck of a lot of work for your body to digest and for your heart to work. But the good news is that you don’t need Alfredo or a cream based sauce to have a delicious bowl of “creamy” noodles.
Once you make this recipe – you will never look a bowl of Alfredo or creamy pasta the same way. This recipe was created for my sea vegetables class – as a pseudo take on one of my favourite childhood meals “tuna casserole”. I used to love the stuff. Big white noodles loaded with tuna and cheesy sauce (kind of like an Alfredo). It was my absolute all time favourite. In fact anything with noodles and cheese made me very happy.
Being able to simulate that experience with amazing wholesome ingredients brings a smile to my face – gluten free brown rice noodles, a creamy sauce made from tahini along with some soaked, fresh torn wakame to give it that “salty” sea taste. The wakame is also adding a whole bunch of other nutrients and minerals into this dish as sea vegetables are super nutritious!
My cravings for this dish come every so often, and when they do– I can’t stop eating it. I can almost eat half of the amount I make each time because it just melts in your mouth.
It’s also that time of year when I actually feel really good about sitting down to a whole bowl full of noodles!
Okay, I will stop the teasing and get to the recipe – which doesn’t look all that exciting. But you just wait; you will not need Alfredo or cream based sauces ever again.
Enjoy this dish along side a bowl of steamed kale, a dark leafy green salad or some miso soup.
Baked “Tuna” Casserole
What’s in it?
1 small onion, cut into thin slices
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 cup wakame, soaked in cold water for 5 minutes, removed and chopped
2 tablespoons tamari
1 package of brown rice noodles or quinoa spiral noodles (Tinkyada Brand)
¾ cup water
½ cup tahini
5 tablespoons tamari
1/2 cup wheat free/gluten free/brown rice bread crumbs
How it’s made!
- Preheat oven to 375 F
- Sauté onion in sesame oil until transparent. Place wakame on top of onions. Add tamari, and cook for about 10 minutes until the liquid is absorbed.
- In the meantime, cook noodles until done. Drain and set aside.
- Mix together tahini, tamari and ¾ cup water until smooth. If the sauce should curdle, continue mixing.
- Mix onion, wakame mixture, noodles and tahini sauce together. Cover with breadcrumbs.
- Bake for approximately 20 minutes.
I know you have heard of seaweed, also known as sea vegetables, and I know you have eaten them a number of times (whether you realize it or not) -but before you turn up your face and look the other way, let me tell you how amazing they are and what they can do for your health!
When I refer to sea veggies it is anything that, yes, grows in the sea and this includes nori (what your sushi is wrapped in), wakame (what is in your miso soup), arame (often in your seaweed salad), dulse, kombu, kelp, hijiki and the list goes on. The list even carries over to varieties of seaweeds that are in hidden forms of commercial foods such as ice cream, baked goods, jelly, salad dressings, chocolate milk and toothpaste. This is what I mean when I said you’ve eaten them many times before – and you didn’t even know it.
These little wonders, because they are grown in the deep depths of the sea, carry with them the highest doses of vitamins and minerals. All of which are essential to human health and daily nutritional balance. Sea vegetables are singularly the most nutrient dense food, as they are earth’s first vegetables and the best part is, is that they are delicious! Sea greens are a direct manifestation of their environment and therefore contain and abundance of minerals that is 7-38% of their dry weight. In such small amounts, seaweed contains more vitamins and minerals than any class of food. It supplies all the minerals needed for human health in proportions very similar to those found in human blood. The most significant elements that can be found in sea greens are calcium, iodine, phosphorous, sodium,and iron. Sea veggies are also extremely rich in protein, vitamin A, B, C and E.
The health benefits of sea vegetables is so vast and incredible. They do everything from reducing blood cholesterol, removing metallic and radioactive elements from the body, and prevent goiter. So if you are suffering with a thyroid problem, like so many women these days, then sea veggies are for you! Seaweed also has antibiotic properties, counteracts obesity, strengthens bones, teeth, nerve transmission and digestion. Seaweed is also an incredible beauty aid as they help to maintain glowing healthy skin and contain anti aging properties. To me, this sounds like the perfect food!
So how do you use sea veggies?
The garden of sea veggies is extremely versatile and they can be used in a number of recipes and incorporated into numerous styles of cuisine and compliment or accent many dishes from soups, salads and desserts. To explore this world of sea veggies and roll your own sushi, I encourage you to join me next Thursday October 8th at my Scrumptious Sea Vegetable class!
If you have ever used or tried sea veggies, share your story. Leave a comment and let us all know what you have done with Sea Greens!
Miso is a fermented paste with a texture like almond butter. It is made from soybeans, koji (a bacterial starter), salt and a grain – usually rice or barley.
There is quite a variety of Miso’s on the market, as soybeans can be fermented into a range of different flavours, from rich and savoury to delicate and sweet. They come in varieties of either dark brown, red, white or yellow in colour.
Miso is so wonderful and holds amazing health properties. Miso acts as an anti carcinogen, and is also effective in reducing the effects of radiation, smoking, air pollution and other environmental toxins. The darker the colour the more potent its medicinal properties. Miso is also a wonderful digestive aid because of the fermentation process. So having a cup of warm miso soup before or after a meal is the perfect choice is your digestive system is a bit off!
Miso is also a concentrated protein source, it contains approximately 12-20% protein depending on the source. It is also low in fat, but in keep in check that it is fairly high in salt!
Miso can be used in a variety of dishes and recipes. Because of the variety of flavours and colours to choose from, each one will derive a different outcome. It can be used in place of worcestershire sauce, salt and soy sauce as a seasoning agent. Miso is most typically used as the base of soup, where it provides a rich and flavourful broth. But it can also be used in marinades, salad dressing and even some desserts.
So get yourself equipped with at least two different varieties of miso (a sweet miso and a dark brown miso), so that you can create different recipes with different flavours. You will not be disappointed, as miso is magical and makes you feel good all over!
Quick Tip: Before adding miso to your pot of soup, take some water out and stir in the miso until it has completely dissolved. Then pour the miso mixture back into the soup pot with the heat turned off.
Miso should never come in direct contact with boiling water as it will affect it’s naturally occuring enzymes and delicate properties!
Sweet Miso Dressing:
½ cup white miso
1/3 cup agave nectar
½ cup mirin
¼ cup sesame oil
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ chopped ginger
In a blender, blend all ingredients until smooth. Store in refrigerator for 3-4 days. Makes about 2 cups.
Add this dressing to any salad or slaw with a variety of vegetables like: napa cabbage, carrots, beets, cucumber and throw some sea vegetables in too (arame, wakame, nori….)