If you love seaweed and are looking for a new way to eat it, this recipe is for you. On the other hand, if the word “seaweed” makes you lose your appetite, this recipe is actually for you, too. Sesame Coleslaw with Seaweed is heavy on the coleslaw and light on the seaweed. Depending on the type of seaweed you use, the slaw will have a subtle seaweed flavor or none at all. This coleslaw with an Asian twist is dressed in rich sesame oil, tangy rice vinegar, salty tamari and spicy ginger tossed with cabbage, avocado, carrots, jalapeno and green onion. With so many bold flavors vying for the spotlight, the seaweed simply blends in without being overpowering.
Seaweed has an incredible amount of nutrients but it’s understandable if it hasn’t yet become a staple ingredient in your kitchen. If you weren’t raised in a culture where sea vegetation showed up regularly on the menu, cooking with it can be intimidating. There are dozens and dozens of seaweed varieties, which means the odds of finding one you enjoy are pretty good. The downside is…well, where do you begin?
For this particular recipe, there are several different types of seaweed to try. For a bolder seaweed flavor, look for a mix of fresh seaweed in the refrigerated section. These blends of various seaweed types are sold in sealed bags and packed in salt. Before eating, soak the seaweed in water and rinse several times to remove the salt. Wakame is another choice that has a noticeable, but subtle, seaweed flavor. It is the green that’s usually floating in miso soup. Sometimes wakame is sold fresh, but more often you’ll find dried strips or flakes. To re-hydrate wakame, simply soak it in a large bowl of water for 5-15 minutes until tender. Use kitchen shears to cut away the tough middle stem of large strips and cut the seaweed into small pieces.
If you want the health benefits of seaweed but not the fishy flavor, look for arame or alaria. Arame is sold in shredded form and is re-hydrated by soaking in water for just a few minutes. Arame has mild flavor bordering on bland, which makes it a little dull on its own, but perfect for mixing into other dishes. Alaria is basically flavorless too, although it looks so similar to wakame that it’s often called “Wild Atlantic Wakame.” Dried alaria can be boiled for 3-5 minutes to soften before eating. All dried sea vegetables expand quite a bit when re-hydrated, so only re-hydrate a little bit at a time.
When you toss your seaweed of choice into the coleslaw, you’ll be surprised by how well it goes with slaw and thrilled to have found a delicious way to work more sea vegetables into your diet. This coleslaw is only the beginning! Once you start cooking with sea vegetables, it’s likely that you’ll start finding more and more ways to easily incorporate them into your cooking.
1 cup fresh or re-hydrated seaweed (or more or less to taste)
1 head of Napa or Savoy cabbage, thinly shredded
1 large jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
2 carrots, grated
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon tamari
1 tablespoon grated or finely chopped ginger root
2 avocados, cut into small pieces
If needed, re-hydrate your sea vegetable of choice by following the instructions above or on the packaging.
In a large bowl mix together seaweed, cabbage, jalapeno, carrots and scallions.
In a small bowl whisk together sesame oil, rice vinegar, tamari and ginger. Pour over the coleslaw and mix well.
Gently toss in avocado. Add sea salt to taste.
For protein, consider adding cooked chicken or fish to the coleslaw.