Wild Seaweed Salad

Wild Seaweed Salad Recipe

I keep a few types of dried seaweed in my pantry. There are long stretches of times I forget I have it, followed by weeks where I use it in meal after meal. Sometimes I toast and crumble it as a garnish or seasoning, other times I chop and add it to soups. This time around I took a good amount of toasted wild nori and used it alongside cilantro, tofu, and plenty of wild rice. I should mention, the dressing for this salad isn't shy - assertive notes of sesame, ginger, cayenne pepper and soy sauce work their way into the wild rice and tofu. It's uber-flavorful, and the kind of substantial all-in-one salad I like to bring to parties and potlucks (and eat any leftovers for lunch). I took this to our neighborhood holiday block-party.

Seaweed Salad Recipe

For those of you who don't use seaweed in your cooking much, give it a go. Not only is it interesting to explore the different flavors and textures across the spectrum, they are packed with minerals and anti-oxidents as well. Look for it at local farmer's markets (if you are coastal), I've seen a range at Whole Foods Markets, as well as other natural foods sources. You'll often find other ideas and recipes on the seaweed packages (and on corresponding websites). I most often use nori, wakame, and kombu - all quite mild flavored. I tend to stay clear of the ones that have a fishy flavor - i.e. hijiki is a bit strong for my tastes, and are some of the sea lettuces I've tried. I'm always trying to think of new ways to work seaweed into my cooking, so if you have any tried-and-true favorite ideas, please, by all means, respond in the comments.

Wild Seaweed Salad Recipe

I used wild nori here, but feel free to experiment with different types of seaweed - also, feel free to play with the amount of seaweed you use, I could certainly imagine using more in this particular salad.You can make certain components ahead of time - the dressing and tofu, and the rice.

1 cup of loosely packed (wild) nori seaweed
12 ounces extra-firm nigari tofu

Grated zest of 1 lemon
Fresh ginger, cut into a 1-inch cube, peeled, and grated
2 tablespoons honey
scant 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
3/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup unseasoned brown-rice vinegar
1/3 cup shoyu sauce (wheat-free soy sauce)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

2 medium shallots, finely chopped
2 cups pecans, toasted
1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves/stems, chopped
6 cups cooked wild rice

Preheat your oven to 300F degrees. Toast the nori for 7-10 minutes, or until crisp. Let cool for a few minutes, crumble and set aside.

Drain the tofu, pat it dry, and cut it into rectangles roughly the size of your thumb (½ inch thick and 1 inch long). Cook the tofu in a dry nonstick (or well-seasoned) skillet over medium-high heat for a few minutes, until the pieces are browned on one side. Toss gently once or twice, then continue cooking for another minute or so, until the tofu is firm, golden, and bouncy. Leave the tofu like this, or cut into strips, or cubes (whatever you like). Set aside.

In the meantime, make the dressing by combining the zest, ginger, honey, cayenne, and salt in a food processor (or use a hand blender) and process until smooth. Add the lemon juice, rice vinegar, and shoyu, and pulse to combine. With the machine running (or by hand), drizzle in the oils. Set aside.

In a large bowl, just before serving toss the shallots, pecans, cilantro, crumbled seaweed, and wild rice with a generous amount of the dressing. Mix well and add the cooked tofu. Toss (gently) again, taste, add more dressing (and a bit of salt) if needed, and serve family-style.

Serves 10-12.

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

  • I'm one of those who cannot stand cilantro at all .. i suppose parsley would be a good subsitute.. or watercress perhaps .. any other ideas?

    Tess
  • Thanks for the recipe! I just started cooking with seaweed, so this is very timely. As a Christmas hor d'ouvre, I made a hijiki caviar that my whole family raved about (even the non-seaweed eaters!) - it's posted on my blog. Happy New Year!

    Eve
  • I never cook with seaweed, I don't know why, because I love it. We just eat it for snacks or in salads at a resto. I think I'll have to give this a whirl!

    Erin
  • As usual, I love your writing and your photo always inspires me. Thanks for recipe. I really like sea veggies, but sometimes forget to do anything with it besides add it to my miso soup.

    Sarah
  • Hijiki does funny things to my tummy so I stay away from that one. Nori and kombu I use the most often, sometimes wakame makes an appearance. I have to say, sea veggies will scare off friends and family right quick so i try to hide them in recipes meant for sharing!

    Michelle @ What Does Your Body Good?
  • Are you familiar with DelicaRF1, located in the Ferry Plaza Building? If not, give it a try because they have a delicious hijiki salad. You mention that hijiki is too strong for your taste, but not they way DelicaRF1 makes it. I go to SF just for that.

    D
  • I do a lot of nori in sushi rolls (obviously), but I have hidden a 2-3" chunk of kombu in a pot of beans for extra flavor and nutritional oomph. My favorite is to do un-sushi for when I'm feeling lazy or sluggish and/or don't want the rice: I finely chop a bunch of raw veggies, add some ginger, lemon, soy sauce, or other spices, mash an avocado into it, add some salt, slap the whole thing in some nori, roll it up, and call it good. The combination of so many "umami" flavors with the avocado, soy, and seaweed is incredibly rich and satisfying, especially on hot days. Now I want un-sushi rolls with cauliflower and carrot and avocado for lunch tomorrow!

    Laurel from Simple Spoonful
  • i often make seaweed salad using Wakame( raw / salted seaweed) for this kind of salad but have never thought of using nori. we never buy nori becasue it is always exchanges as gift. your recipe is good idea of combinations using nori and pecan nuts. i will try it! thanks

    min
  • This looks delicious, and so healthy. I've never tried seaweed, but have always wanted to. I think this recipe might convince me to give it a go.

    Hayley
  • I have a habit of letting seaweed get pushed to the back of the cupboard, but pulled it out the other day when mixing up a batch of baby food for my twins. Flakes of toasted nori mixed with amaranth, sweet potato and/or pumpkin has proved extremely popular with the bubs :)

    jo
  • Heidi, your timing is perfect - I just attempted making vegetarian sushi last week, so I have a good amount of roasted seaweed and tofu left. I'm definitely making this tonight!

    Chris
  • wow, this is so intriguing! looks delicious.

    erica
  • I love seaweed on just about everything. The easiest and tastiest way to do that is with various flavors of furikake. It's a japanese "rice sprinkle". The different combinations are endless, my favorite is the kim-chee flavor. It has crunchy bits of kimchee and a great spiciness too. There are simple flavors too, like just seaweed and sesame seeds. Look for them in health food stores and Asian food stores. I get the furikakes without msg.

    renee
  • I never had a seaweed salad before, but it sounds tasty. Thanks for the recipe, I am going to try it.

    kiersten
  • I never had a seaweed salad before, but it sounds tasty. Thanks for the recipe, I am going to try it.

    kiersten
  • My favorite is a kale and seaweed salad. I haven't posted about it yet, but will be (ie, with photo) in the next week or two. It's basically steamed kale, squeezed dry and torn into bite-sized pieces with a dressing of tamari, ginger, sesame oil, garlic and toasted sesame seeds. I adore it! I also do raw nori rolls that are a twist on sushi and are quite delicious. (That recipe is on my blog, under Raw Nori Rolls).

    Ricki
  • Thanks for this reminder! I love seaweed but haven't been using it enough lately, and I really need to branch out from nori (which I've been sprinkling on just about everything lately!) I bought some fresh wakame but it was so tough I wasn't sure what to do with it...any ideas?

    Cate
  • I always just add it to miso soup. There is also a nice simple soup you can make with dashi (fish stock), sesame oil, wakame, and soy sauce. Tastes good with fried rice. Then there is sunomono, which I always make with wakame, sesame seeds, thinly sliced cucumber, sesame oil, rice vingear, sugar, and salt.

    Kathleen
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