Sesame Coleslaw with Seaweed

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.

Servings: 6


  • 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.

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35 thoughts on “Sesame Coleslaw with Seaweed”

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  1. yum! just in time for summer. this would be so good with shrimp or pork in it. This basically the slaw I make anyway, but I never thought to add seaweed. yum!

  2. I love seaweed and cabbage, so this looks to die for. I can’t wait to make it. I’m also wondering how it would taste made with coconut vinegar!

    1. Coco vinegar would be awesome! Thats a nice sub for the sushi vinegar (which is made with rice vin, sugar, and salt… and Im guessing was deleted and subbed to make it primal) which would give it the same sweetness. NOM. I wish coco vin wasnt so expensive, Im almost out!

      1. If you can find a filipino or south asian grocer in your area you can find coconut vinegar very cheap – around $2.39 for a 750ml (the size of a wine bottle). hope that helps.

  3. Great idea. I’m going to try it in my next batch of coleslaw.

    I don’t have access to fresh seaweed where I live but I’ve been using dried arame in soups for a long time because it’s such a good source of nutrients. I find you don’t really taste it at all, especially in a mixed vegetable soup or any other dish like that which has a strong flavour of it’s own.

  4. This looks great, Mark. I’m not sure how easy it will be to get some of the ingredients, but if possible, I’m excited about trying it. Thanks for posting.

    1. Vitacost has seaweed (as well as lost pf other things we love) and free shipping right now.

  5. Oh MY that sounds good! My husband’s a bit of a traditionalist for the coleslaw I make to go with BBQ/pulled pork, but I’ll bet he’d like this at other times! Don’t believe I’ve seen seaweed in the Midwest, darn it…

    1. Not sure exactly where you are in the Midwest, but you can find seaweed pretty easily at Asian markets, Whole Foods or other natural food markets, if you have any of those close to you. Here in KC we have them all.

  6. Looks fantastic!

    The iodine in the seaweed will counter the goitrogens in the uncooked cabbage. Given current concerns about pollutants in seaweed, certified organic is a good way to go.

  7. Simple, healthy and tasty. The three things i look for in a meal. This looks like a winner in my eyes. Let’s see what my stomach says 🙂

  8. This is great. I recently purchased a package of seaweed from the local food co-op (living in Wisconsin, it’s difficult to come by in the wild). I’ve been trying to develop a taste for it by eating it right out of the bag (at first I discarded the little shells in there, but then I started eating them — extra calcium? Plus a nice crunch . . .), but this looks like a great way to add more of it to my diet as I continue to develop a taste for it. Thanks for the recipe!

  9. That’s a lot of sesame oil and not much rice vinegar. Are you sure you didn’t accidentally switch the amounts for those two ingredients? (I make a recipe where the amounts are reversed, and I think the sesame oil would be overpowering if I used that much.)

    1. Good point – I just might start with a little less sesame oil to start and see how it turns out as I can always add more if needed.

    2. I agree. I wouldn’t dream of using more than a tablespoon of sesame oil in any recipe. It would definitely be too overpowering.

  10. I have everything needed to make this except for the seaweed so I just ordered the Alaria and Wakame online. Hmmm, I do have some nori – I wonder if that would work. Can’t wait!

  11. Certainly worth a look, will see if I can add my daily portion of laverbread in as the fresh seaweed part, maybe some cockles too

  12. Great recipe!! Just made this for dinner. I used dulse because that’s all I had and cooked up some ground venison with Asian spices to put on top. I also used a little less sesame oil and a little more vinegar.

  13. I made this tonight, it is fantastic! I followed the recipe exactly, I didn’t find the seaseme oil to be too strong. I grilled some onion and venison to have with it.

    I was shocked at how delicious it is.

    It is way more than 6 servings, unless you have a tiny cabbage. Mine filled a gigantic bowl.

  14. I thought sesame oil was no-go too. Not sure how seaweed can be organic unless it is not grown in the ocean. Interesting concept. But this recipe looks delicious.

  15. We added a little extra vinegar to taste and it was delicious! Great recipe. Thank you.

  16. What’s wrong with sesame oil? It’s a seed, right? I use it daily for oil pulling. Cold pressed NOT toasted sesame oil. Big difference in taste. The kind I use is light in color and very mild in flavor.

  17. I made this today and it turned out wonderful. I added honey to my sauce mixture and it went well with the flavors!

  18. Is rice wine vinegar considered primal? My husband loves it on salad but gave it up because it’s made from rice. Is it acceptable here because it’s fermented? Thanks!

  19. Is sunflower oil a good type of oil for sensitive (dry) skin. Why do you think someone can be allergic to almond oil, shea butter, olive oil, basically every type of oil when applied topically on the skin – except the sunflower oil? Is this oil perhaps more gentle? Thanx.

  20. Would braggs liquid aminos work in this recipe as a replacement for the tamari?