Salad Booster Recipe

I often carry a small vial of this spiced kale and nori medley in my purse, refilling it every few days. Nutrient-dense and delicious, you use it as a healthful seasoning for salad, vegetables, stir-fries...

Salad Booster

I often carry a small vial of this spiced kale and nori medley in my purse, refilling it every few days. I got the idea years back when I saw the words "salad booster" on a jar in the spice section of one of the natural foods stores I frequent. The seasoning was a blend of a few types of seaweed, sprouted seeds, and the like. Nutrient-dense and delicious, you'd use it as a healthful seasoning for salad, vegetables, stir-fries - whatever you like. The idea stuck with me and I started making my own, usually using a toasted nori and kale base. From there I'd add nuts and/or seeds, and whatever spices I was craving at the time. I'll include my base recipe down below, but really, think of it as a jumping off point.

Salad BoosterSalad BoosterSalad Booster

I'm going to encourage you to embrace this seasoning enthusiastically. You don't want to skimp. A pinch isn't really the spirit, really go for it. I use a couple teaspoons on a rice bowl, same goes for a good-sized salad or stir-fry. Also, it's a nice little treat to hand off to friends :)

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Salad Booster

2 sheets nori seaweed
2 oz kale (8-10 leaves), stems and center ribs removed
1/4 cup / 1 oz / 30g sunflower seeds
zest of one lemon
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

-------optional add-ins ----------------------

1/4 teaspoon sansho pepper (optional)
sea salt to taste
dried herbs
bee / fennel pollen

Heat the oven to 300F / 150C with racks in the top and bottom third. Wash the kale well, and pat dry thoroughly with a clean dish towel. Arrange the kale in a single layer on one parchment-lined baking sheet, and the nori, sunflower seeds, and lemon zest on another. I often tear the nori into pieces so it's easier to arrange.

Place both sheets in the oven until everything is nicely toasted. Remove the sunflower seeds, lemon zest, and nori after about 20 minutes (keep a close eye on things). And remove the kale after that, it typically takes about 5 minutes longer. Let all the ingredients cool and crisp.

Crumble the nori and kale into a large mortar and pestle along with 1 tablespoon of the sunflower seeds. Pound until finely ground. Alternately, you can pulse in a food processor. Work in the dried lemon zest and pepper flakes (and sansho pepper if you're using it), and add the remaining sunflower seeds. Blend until the seeds are broken up just a bit.

Makes about 2/3 cup.

Prep time: 5 minutes - Cook time: 25 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Thanks, Heidi! Cannot wait to make this a permanent addition to my salad arsenal!


Ok girl. You are starting to sound like my mom.... who pulls out a mini bottle of local maple syrup at pancake breakfasts. ;)


This idea reminds me of the Japanese 7 spice mix Nanami Togarashi which you might know of as well - I love to sprinkle this on rice, salads, ripe avocado, you name it. It somehow never occurred to me to make my own, although I did wince the other day I bought some more given the prices charged for it here in Rome, so maybe it is time to start experimenting - I certainly like the sound of your mix!

Is this anything like the 'rice seasoning' they have at Japanese restaurants? I've tried buying the pre-made stuff at the Asian market before, but it never tastes quite the same.

It's nice to see I'm not the only one who carries condiments in her purse! This looks like such a lovely, all-purpose seasoning. I'll be whipping up a batch very soon.

What a great concept - and what original taste. Love the idea of dropping some off as a treat for a friend - very personal and unique!

That looks like "furikake" for rice in Japan! Maybe ok to try on rice, I wonder.


the idea of you carrying around this booster in your purse is so nice:)

I love your blog, I cook from it at least 5 days a week. Are you going to post a bean main dish recipe soon, I love beans and it's been a while since you posted a new recipe.

HS: Hi Patti - Thank you! On the bean fron, I'm not sure - there are a lot of bean/pulse recipes in the archives though, in the meantime!


What a unique idea! You're awesome. I can totally see this with some toasted sesame seeds and even some dehydrated nettle. Any excuse to sprinkle nori on anything is fine by me. I'll be giving this a try!

What a great idea! And how satisfying to use that beautiful mortar and pestle... Where can I get one as beautiful and white and smooth as that one?

We've been using dried, powdered kale in everything, but it never occurred to me to add these great flavors. What an excellent idea to add additional flavors to what was originally intended to be just a nutrition boost. As always, thanks, Heidi.


my favorite discovery this year has been using japanese blends of toasted nori, sesame seeds, a bit of salt, and often bonito, as a "dip" for raw veg. Carrots, cucumbers, red peppers are all lovely, damp enough to get a good, gritty coating. But radishes are my absolute favorite, their peppery bite a brilliant contrast to the salty, umami-rich, savory "crunch". I've been meaning to mix up my own batch for months. Thanks for the nudge.

I love this idea Heidi! Can't wait to try it when I get back from my trip to San Francisco. So excited to visit your home town and I am very appreciative of the list of restaurants and other treasures you have posted on your blog. I will be using it for sure.

How would you describe the flavor?


What a great concept - and what original taste. Love the idea of dropping some off as a treat for a friend - very personal and unique!

What a great idea, never seen anything like it before! You just never run out of ideas, do you?


I love kale salads, absolutely cannot wait to try this salad booster recipe!

What an interesting idea! I can totally see this with some toasted sesame seeds and even some dehydrated nettles added to the nori mixture. I'm all for anything with nori sprinkled over it...just fantastic!

I love the name, 'Salad Booster'. Sometimes salads could definitely use a little boost :) Great idea!

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