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Sea Vegetables Emerge From the Depths

March 7, 2016
Kelp me! Learn how the sea veggie kombu can help your health.

Want a sustainable vegetable full of minerals that you can add to almost any dish to give it more flavor? Look no further than the bottom of the ocean.

Once relegated to Japanese soups or wrapped around your favorite fish, sea vegetables are making a big splash beyond sushi.

Generally, you’ve got three varieties to choose from: brown, green and red. One of our favorites is a brown kind called kombu, an edible kelp, which is sometimes referred to as the “king of seaweed.”

Kombu is an amazing source of iodine, which contributes to your metabolic rate and energy levels, along with giving you shiny hair and a stronger immune system. Bonus: It also contains enzymes that help your body digest beans and absorb more of their nutrients.

(Researchers in Oregon created a new strain of seaweed that tastes like bacon and has double the nutritional value of kale. Lines start behind us, people.)

Best of all: seaweed is a flavor powerhouse. It will add that delicious umami flavor to almost any dish, sans the MSG. 

Seaweed is also guilt-free from a sustainability perspective. It doesn’t need fresh water or fertilizer, so it’s truly one of the most sustainable crops on the planet.

To use kombu in your kitchen, you can buy it dried and add a small strip (about an inch or two wide) to dried beans when you cook them. Dress up any vegetable stock or bone broth using this same trick. Or toss some soaked kombu into a prepared soup for a nutrient boost.

You can use dried seaweed as a seasoning, like this shaker from Maine Coast Sea Vegetables or this one from Bragg. Or to really mix it up, try it in your morning smoothie.

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