Salad Booster

Nutrient-dense and delicious, use this salad booster as a healthful seasoning for greens, vegetables, and so much more!

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, adding nuts and/or seeds, and whatever spices I was craving at the time.
kale, seaweed, sunflowers and spices - ingredients to make salad booster

Go Big!

The key here is to embrace this seasoning enthusiastically. You don't want to skimp. A pinch isn't really the spirit. Instead, really go for it. Use a couple teaspoons on a rice bowl, same goes for a good-sized salad or stir-fry. Shower your favorite soups with it!

kale, seaweed, sunflowers and spices - ingredients to make salad booster

Make some, gift some! Keep in mind this is a nice little treat to hand off to friend. You can find little glass containers online, and make cute labels for them. And feel free to tweak the ratios of ingredients as you go. I’ll include my base recipe down below, but really, think of it as a jumping off point.
kale, seaweed, sunflowers and spices - ingredients to make salad booster

More Spice Blends

If you like these sorts of seasonings and spice blends, heads up. I mined my notebooks from the past few years to create a collection of favorite spice blends, seasonings, sprinkles and the like. The blends are bold, flavor-packed, and meant to be delicious and fun. They’re the ones I use regularly, the ones in my notebooks with lots of stars and hearts next to them. The collection (Spice / Herb / Flower / Zest) is specifically for the members of my site. *Note: if you're already a member (thank you!) the PDF will be in the downloads section of your account. For example, take a look at this...

Ingredients to make Toasted Coconut Pepper spice blend including coconut and black pepper, sesame seeds, and red chile flakes

This is another example of a recipe in Spice / Herb / Flower / Zest, one of my favorites - Toasted Coconut Pepper. With black peppercorns, sesame seeds, toasted coconut flakes, lime, dried garlic or onions, and grated cheese to finish, this seasoning blend is good on everything. You can’t go wrong keeping a little container front and center in your kitchen. Work this combo generously into butter for a fantastic compound butter perfect on roasted sweet potatoes. Or, sprinkle it across your favorite grain bowls.

In the meantime, give the salad booster a try, the recipe is posted down below. Enjoy!

More Homemade Spice Blends

More Recipes with Kale

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Salad Booster

5 from 1 vote

  • 2 sheets nori seaweed
  • 2 oz kale (8-10 leaves), stems & center ribs removed
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Wildcards: nutritional yeast, smoked salt to taste, a bit of smoked paprika, dried herbs
  1. Heat the oven to 300°F / 150°C 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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, red pepper flakes, any wild cards you might add, and the remaining sunflower seeds. Blend until the seeds are broken up just a bit.

Makes 2/3 cup.

Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
25 mins
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Cool idea! As for anyone trying to figure out how to carry spices around, find a small plastic container with a snap-on lid. I have reused tic tac containers to carry spices on camping trips. You could also use one of those small containers meant to carry salad dressings in packed lunches.


What a neat idea!! Thanks!
Heidi xo

Heidi - Apples Under My Bed

i love your blog, really i do. and i read it religiously. i enjoy your passion for food. however, i do think it’s insane that you carry this stuff around in your purse.

HS: I know! But I totally do. Although sometimes I swap it out for za’atar.


Your creativity continuously amazes me, and not to mention your beautiful photographs!

Christina @ The Beautiful Balance

I love this idea! I will have to come up with my own signature blend 🙂


    Yes! That’s the fun of it.

    Heidi Swanson

Fantastic idea – I wonder if I can sneak it onto bland restaurant salads?!


I love the idea of carrying it around with you! Yet another reason why I wish it were socially acceptable for men to carry purses. ..
This seems like a great opportunity to experiment with seaweeds. I have always wanted to dig in to the seaweed section at Rainbow, but it’s so intimidating. Can you recommend a species other than nori to try out? Or perhaps direct us to an edible seaweed guide?

Kyle @ The House Red

I love this idea! I will definitely be making this recipe but will also be adding some dehydrated ramps.


Love this. I do green powder from kale in my dehydrator…and I’m so going to try seaweed in the mix. What a great idea!


Love this idea and post! Never heard of a “salad booster” before. Going to try out my own twist..thanks!

Dave @ Fit Chef Chicago

It doesn’t say the size of the kale leave or if the 2 oz is by measure or weight. Also the lemon zest – grated, zested, peeled?

HS: Hi Janne – 2 oz by weight, and zested. But really, the spirit of it is a kale / seaweed base with some accents – so if you like more zest, go for it, more seaweed? Just add more. More spicy? Add more spice…..think about what you like in a seasoning, and go from there. Hope this helps! Heidi


Brilliant! I’ve been throwing dulse and nutritional yeast on salads lately, but this looks like a lovely, healthy option!

Carrie @ Carrie on Vegan

Made this last night, and then ate it plain, right off the spoon. Wonderful, compelling flavors. I used my Vitamix, which gave a perfect, even texture.

Katrina Kenison

H–you are my hero.

HS: Look out or I’ll pack some for Lisa on the next cabin trip ;)xo


wow what a great idea, thank you. I am in HK and we find it almost impossible to source western kale here but do ahve access to lots of very nice chinese kale. I assume this will work with chinese kale as well?

HS: Absolutely!


This is such a great idea!
Thanks for sharing! 🙂

Kali Ramey Martin

Hi Heidi! This sounds great!
Not to be a total nudge, but nori means “seaweed” in Japanese. So…. nori seaweed is like saying seaweed seaweed! 🙂
Also… doesn’t the seaweed burn if you bake for 20 minutes at 350? Traditionally, we cook it for less than 30 seconds a side to bring out the toasty flavor and not burn the seaweed. 🙂

I sometimes do a quick toast over an open flame burner, for single sheets….but not for this recipe. Here different seaweeds are labeled based on varietal – nori, kombu, hijiki, etc.


I love how different this recipe is 🙂
Thanks for sharing.

Jan @ Sprouts n Squats

This booster is very similar to my basis for any kale salad, so I can very much see this working. Great idea!


Just in time for my New M & P!!
Received it today! In love ! Better than all my rest.
I love melding things together in such a raw way!

Keli Aiello

Love this! The kale is a great idea! I make a “brain food” powder based off an herbal health book I have using powdered gotu kola, spiralina, dried herbs, powdered sesame seeds, and nutritional yeast. It is really delicious on popcorn too…. I can see this making an appearance in my diet soon. I never thought about adding something like kale to it. Thanks!


I’d love to see how you carry this. I’m sure it’s a pretty cool vial and probably not a brown plastic medicine bottle!


How funny. I just had a similar idea for a popcorn topping. I made some kale chips, crushed them up and used them to sprinkle over my popcorn with a dash of olive oil and nutritional yeast.
I can’t wait to try your variation!

Briana Morrison

What a fabulous idea! Thanks so much for sharing. I’m going to make this right away;)

Gwen @SimplyHealthyFamily

I love the idea, and the handiness of it, wherever you go. I am on my way to do my own batch!


Yummy! I love new ways to incorporate more kale in my life

Tessa Jones

Love this mix. I have something similar that comes from House spices called Shichimi Togarashi that I use all the time to sprinkle on stuff. Making it fresh will be fun!


I LOVE THIS IDEA! I’ll be making this over the weekend for sure… I was wondering what to do with my leftover nori anyhow 🙂


Funny, I would totally pass up such a thing in the store as funky, foolish food silliness, but to hear that you have a vial of it in your purse, and to think of making it–totally appealing. Thanks for sharing!


Wow! This is brilliant. I’ve been making a lot of Mediterranean and Israeli chopped salads that this would be perfect with. Many thanks for your inspiration and graciousness
~See you at Bi-Rite;-)


Nice interpretation of furikake! I was always a huge fan of the ones high in crushed sesame seeds but also like mushroom powder, if you haven’t tried that.


reminds me of a japanese version of dukkah.


This sounds so interesting! Can’t quite imagine the taste…the more curious I am to give it a try!


Heidi, do you ever play around with nutritional yeast? I have been adding it to various salts and dried flavor bombs and I really enjoy the savory quality.


This looks awesome. I love that you carry it in your purse – I can certainly see it coming in handy for mealtimes!

leaf (the indolent cook)

This sounds a lot like furikake! I love that stuff, must try making this at home.


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.


One more question: How long does this keep? And how should one store it?
Can it be frozen?

Cara O'Sullivan

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.

Katie (A Fork in Hand)

This is one of my favorite ways to incorporate herbs, both for culinary and medicinal purposes, besides pestos. I have a sweeter sprinkle with ceylon cinn, ginger, cardamom, and the like, but then add things like hawthorn berry powder, beet root powder, elderberry powder. I’ve even added toasted coconut.
My other favorite one is a savory sprinkle made with dried herbs of nettle, dandelion, sage, rosemary mixed with nutritional yeast, sesame seeds, garlic powder, turmeric and dulse. Like you, I like to play with proportions and ingredients and additions. It never fails that the time I make it with the best ratios, and everything just sings, I forget to write it down. injoy, libby


What a lovely idea. I can’t wait to try it 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!

Dan from Platter Talk

This looks amazing, I can’t wait to try making some 🙂 I am in LOVE with the flavor of nori. I will definitely need a toothbrush or mirror and toothpick after this though…


Reminds me of
Shichimi Togarashi
1 tbsp. of Szichuan peppercorns
1 ½ tsp. of dried orange peel
1 ½ tsp. of ground dried red chile (use a chile appropriate to your heat tolerance)
1 tsp. of crushed, flaked nori
1 tsp. of black sesame seeds
1 tsp. of white poppy seeds
1 tsp. of granulated garlic
And this came with a recipe for fried udon noodles.


What a wonderful idea to make my own … I’ve purchased versions of pre-made spice blends like this (can’t recall the brand name, but it included dried seaweeds, black sesame seeds and other herbs), but would love to try making my own …
Do you think arame seaweed or dulce would work … ? I have a big bag of both that I’ve been meaning to find a use for … Or is there something special about the nori seaweed sheets?
Thanks for sharing!


What I’ve always wondered, is if there is any actual nutrient value left in kale (and nori for that matter) after it is toasted?
I mean – it may taste good, but if it is mostly empty of actual goodness, that would be kind of sad. Does anyone know for sure?


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.


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!

Nourish Your Roots

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?

Anna kay

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.


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


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!

Nourish Your Roots

I love the name, ‘Salad Booster’. Sometimes salads could definitely use a little boost 🙂 Great idea!

Averie @ Averie Cooks

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


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.


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!

Dan from Platter Talk

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


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