These unassuming sea vegetables pack a punch in nutrients and minerals. – JENNA BLUMENFELD
There’s something magical about briny, tangy sea vegetables. Technically algae, these rootless marine greens are packed with nutrients, such as vitamins A, C, and the B’s, and important minerals including iodine, essential for thyroid support. Plus, seaweed doesn’t require added chemicals, fertilizers or fresh water to grow, so it’s a low-impact crop, too.
Love sushi? Then you’re familiar with the paper-thin seaweed sheets that surround rice and fish. Filled with calcium and iron, nori is commonly found in the ethnic aisle of natural products stores. Branch outside sushi by crumbling nori into salads and rice dishes.
This red seaweed hails from the British Isles and grows wild on the North Atlantic and Pacific coasts. There’s a reason vegan restaurants incorporate dulse into “DLTs,”which contain dulse, lettuce, and tomato—when pan-fried, dulse acquires a smoky, savory favor, similar to bacon.
This bright-green seaweed is often added to salads, along with sesame oil and chile fakes. Try toasting this sea vegetable (available in both fresh and dried forms) and adding it to omelets or soups for extra brininess.
A type of kelp, this subtly salty and sweet sea vegetable imparts umami favor into dishes of all ilk. Add a 4-to-6-inch strip of kombu to a pot of cooking beans to make them more digestible—kombu’s many amino acids break down gas-producing sugars in beans. Also add to stews or slow cookers to boost favor.