Wild Seaweed Salad Recipe

Toasted wild nori alongside cilantro, tofu, and plenty of wild rice. 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. Lots of flavor.

Wild Seaweed Salad

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.

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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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Ditto on the previous comments re: dulse. My mother is Korean, so I grew up loving all kinds of seaweed. Still, even I was a bit suspicious when I came across a recipe for a "DLT" Sandwich, with fried dulse replacing the bacon. To my surprise, it was great! The recipe is simple. Just take some strips of dulse, fry like bacon, then add to your favorite sandwich bread with lettuce and tomato. The fried dulse has a crispy, fish-like flavor, so it's more like a faux-fish sandwich.


Hiziki is great in a quick, kinpira-style saute with sliced or roll-cut carrots. The sweetness of the carrot balances out the strong, pungent/ocean flavor of the hiziki. Also, I always put a piece of konbu into the pot when I'm cooking beans to add minerals and a hit of umami. Actually, konbu is great in any soup where you want a hit of umami.


This recipe looks wonderful, as usual, Heidi! When you asked for suggestions on other types of seaweed, dulse immediately came to my mind. It is incredibly packed with nutrients, and is especially great for vegetarians/vegans. If anyone wants some quick information about it, these two sites are useful: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palmaria_palmata http://www.grandmanannb.com/dulse.htm It does have a very fishy smell, though the taste is more salty than fishy, I find. Mind you, as a long-time vegetarian I do forget what fish tastes like now!


Question about wild rice for Heidi and commenters: any particular blend or brand you all prefer? I'd love a suggestion or two. Cheers and happy new year.


Seaweed is one of my new favorite ingredients, but I'm never quite sure how to use it in a way that's not really obvious (miso soup, sushi, etc.). This recipe is awesome!! Thanks, Heidi! :)


This looks wonderful, Heidi, and I cannot wait to try it. It prompts me to ask you a question. Do you use a rice cooker when you make all the rices and grains you incorporate into your wonderful dishes? Over the holidays I visited a friend who loved his and uses it all the time, but the ones I have seen have either an aluminum or teflon container for the rice, both surfaces I try to avoid when cooking. Any suggestions? Thanks so much for your inspirational blog. I hardly ever go to my other cookbooks any more - your site is my favorite! HS: Hi Lindsey, I don't. I just cook everything up in a pot.


Hi Heidi; Just want you to know that I made your seaweed salad as my first meal of 2009! With some minor adjustments and one tasty addition! I plated it beside some lightly sauteed chopped mushrooms, bean sprouts and raw peanuts (since I did not have any pecans to use). The salad and sproutmix were so delicious! Thank you for the inspiration! HS: Glad you liked it ArtZen, I imagine the peanut substitution would be a good one.


Wonderful, Spektakular!! This recipe combines my favorites: seaweed, cilantro and pecans. Can't wait to make this. Gorg photos too. xo, www.gastrogirls.com


I have been wanting to try some seaweed in my at home diet for a while, but the options at Whole Foods seem so expensive for the amounts you get. I was going to check out an Asian market soon. Do you find any quality differences in certain brands or better places to purchase? Thanks and Happy New Year!!


Hello Heidi, just wanted to wish you a happy and healthy 2009, from all of us at foodista.com! Hope you have a great one!


Heidi, check out the Welsh laverbread if you want to go in a different direction with seaweed. Cheers!


i just noticed white cubes are tofu. tofu in the US and Australia are much firmer than our tofu in Japan and taste sweeter. We have firmed nigari tofu but it is still soft comparing tofu in the States. i think tofu in US has high contained soy bean and ours are less beans and alotof water, so, tastes not so good.


Seconds to Ricki for the combo with kale. My popular dish despite a seaweed-skeptical household is: steamed kale + boiled kelp (simmer for 10-15 min, then lay out flat, fold it up lengthwise and slice into thin strips - like making fresh pasta!) + very small tofu cubes. Then a dressing with soy sauce, a little bit of sherry, minced ginger and plenty of garlic. A grind of pepper and a dash of paprika for good measure. Arame and dulse, on the other hand, go great as an extra dimension to classic soups - like potato leek, borscht, or cream of broccoli. Love your blog, Heidi! I'm glad I get to share my bit of seaweed wisdom - one of my favorite ingredients.


Made this for dinner last night, although with Trader Joe's sprouted whole wheat pasta (we were out of wild rice) and sans the pecans (got my wisdom teeth out about a week ago; still can't quite manage things like nuts.) It was a hit. The dressing is pretty intense, but that's why I liked it so much. :) Anything with fresh ginger and nori is great in my book, but this was particularly tasty. Thanks for the great recipe, as usual.


I just used the last of my nori in a batch of miso soup last night! I felt the need to detox after a week of eating heavy foods at home. This recipe (and a few other recent ones) have inspired me to bring wild rice back into the kitchen. I was given your book for Christmas. I can't wait for the long new year's weekend I'm taking to try some of the recipes! Thanks, Heidi, for helping my technique and whetting my palate.


A great site and your nori recipe inspired me to contribute this recipe idea that features arame. It's an easy, bold and beautiful appetizer or side from a 1985 "Cooking with Sea Vegetables" by Peter & Montse Bradford ARAME CHINESE CABBAGE ROLLS 5 large Chinese cabbage leaves pinch of sea salt 1 cup arame water to cover arame 1 1/2 TBL shoyu Basically you blanche the leaves in salted water, wash soak and then cook the arame slowly for 20 min, add the shoyu and simmer for another 10 min. Place 1/5 of the arame on a leaf and roll tightly towards the top, folding over edges. Slice each into 2 or 3 pieces.


I made an interesting pâté with hijiki, but since you don't like them, I think arame or wakame will work well, too. Here is my recipe: Ingredients - serves 12 hijiki 1.75 oz (50 gr) garlic 1 clove parsley 1 tuft + 1 for garnish sesame oil 2 tablespoons shoyu 2 tablespoons rice vinegar 1 tablespoon tahini 1 teaspoon lemon ½ grey sea salt 1 pinch Cooking time: 50′ Rinse hijiki and soak in warm water for 20′, then boil it for 20′. Rinse parsley and chop it. Squeeze the lemon. Strain hijiki and put them in a blender with all the other ingredients to obtain a soft pâté. Garnish with chopped parsley.


Thanks for the recipes that you are always sending to me. I have never eaten seaweed before and i think i will have to try this one for a start. Thank you again!


I haven't eaten sea vegetables for ages and now you have brought them back to my plate a tasty recipe, you have done it again! Kind regards, Colette

Colette W

Awesome Heidi, I am loving incorproating seaweeds into my fare. Acutally did a ReMix of your recent Celery Soup with an addition of Wakame. It was delish. Happened to be shopping online for AFAs, that is Blue Green Algaes...wondering if anyone out there in Foodie land has a recommendation on sources/feedback? Though apparently our local Kalmath Lake is the greatest source, I am curious..Anyone?? Thanks!


I just went to Berkeley Bowl to get all of the ingredients for this and I can't wait to try it! I grew up with a Japanese mom and we eat a lot of seaweed at our house. Some ideas: 1.Get flavored (ajitsuke) nori and wrap it around japanese sticky rice or get unflavored and dip in soy sauce. If you get the big sheets you can toast it yourself over the flame of the stove (just brush it over on each side a few times) or get the ones that are already cut. 2. Do the same as above but wrap around mochi squares that have been baked. 3. I keep shredded nori on hand to sprinkle on stir fry- great with black sesame seeds. 4 Seaweed salad- you can get it all in a kit at Asian grocery stores if you don't want to deal with finding a recipe. 5. You can use kombu to make a great stock for a vegetarian miso soup and put dried wakame in soup as well. Sorry for the long-windedness but I hope that this helps.

Aki Chikka

Yay! for the post holiday healthy recipes! I am trying to load up on the leafy greens and sea veg, Thanks for the great ideas!

Organic Goodness

I love seaweed when I get it in restaurants, but like other posters, forget to use it in my kitchen. One of my favorite ways to eat it is from a recipe in the first Laurel's Kitchen cookbook. It's a brown rice, seaweed, and veggie dish that tastes like vegetarian sushi without the rolling up part. Terrific post. Thanks.


Seaweed is an acquired taste... and I must say it took me years to acquire the taste for it. Its strong mineral taste used to be too much for my palate... until I startted cooking Japanese food at home. As it's so healthy, I now use it in miso soup, sushi, noodles, braised and stir-fried vegetables, etc. I also make a Japanese-style egg omelette, with cooked peas, cubes of tofu, spring onions (scallions), and a variety of shredded seaweed. I flavour it with fresh ginger, light soy sauce, and Japanese 7-spice pepper. It's delicious with simply-cooked Japanese plain or vegetable rice. I look forward to trying your recipe, Heidi. As always, thanks... and Happy New Year!


SEA WEED SAL;AD. I like seaweed to eat sometimes but after the meal is finished, if it's not used up the same day, you can't keep it for next day even in the fridge because it loses its taste. If you like a salad of that kind, why not add some thistle also because thistle picked from the fields is a good source of fiber if you add the leaves to salad and its seeds fried with egg.

Miron Lovric

I want to try seaweed but have questions. What is wild? How has dried been processed? If I find fresh, do I prep it differently than dried, or is it the same for fresh and dried? Thanks for helping me get started with a new food that sounds great!


I'm glad most of you seem receptive to this recipe - I wasn't entirely sure how it would be received. I'll also note that for those of you who are seaweed newbies - this is a good starter recipe. Later on, If you decide you like it, you can certainly dial up the seaweed to rice ratio. -h


Great recipe. Especially in the Asian cuisine, seaweed is a healthy nutritious ingredient. I love seaweed salad at Japanese restaurants. I like that you also added a hint of cayenne as a kicker!

Ray from Campusfork

How wonderful! I got very excited about seaweed a while back and bought tons of it on a trip home to California, but have never known what to do with it. This sounds phenomenal, and perfect for the light eating that inevitably comes (at least briefly) after the New Year!


I've never thought to use seaweed in salad. It sounds good.


Thanks for this recipe. It looks delicious. Just right for the post holiday season!


The salad looks delicious, but I must say that the pic of the seaweed looks like burnt aluminum foil. :) I got your book for my wife for Xmas. It's a big hit.


Looks lovely and sounds delicious. The boy doesn't really like seaweed though, unless it's part of an avocado maki roll. Maybe I'll make it anyway, hope he trys some, and decides he likes it after all. I used arame in stuffed eggplants a couple weeks ago and liked the results. I actually enjoy the brininess/fishiness of sea greens, since so little actual fish makes it into my diet.


This sald is just lovely. I'm going to make it for New Year Eve.


I've never tried it before, but I'd love to. I hear that it's insanely good for you!

Fit Bottomed Girls

it looks sooo yummy!


This right here is exactly what I need more of! Substantial one bowl meals that are jam packed with the most nutritious ingredients around. I practically live off your Lemon-scented Quinoa Salad, and your Sushi Bowls, and quite a few others (not to mention great ideas from the comments) but what can I say, I'm greedy - more like this please! Especially with a busy new year fast approaching!


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?


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!




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!


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.


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?

I have to admit that I've never tried seaweed in a salad before - you've got me curious though. thanks for the recipe!

tabitha (From Single to Married)

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.


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


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.


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 :)


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!


wow, this is so intriguing! looks delicious.


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.


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


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


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).


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?


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.


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