Popular in many Japanese and Korean eateries is seaweed salad. You’ve probably encountered it in a sushi restaurant, where its neon-green hue is difficult to miss.
Although there are other types of seaweed salad, the most popular is made using wakame, a seaweed that is both incredibly healthy and adaptable.
However, many claims that the seaweed salad served in most restaurants is inferior to those prepared at home. In actuality, wakame seaweed should not be brilliant green at all.
This article provides comprehensive information about seaweed salad, including its nutritional profile, potential benefits and drawbacks, and home preparation instructions.
The nutritional profile of seaweed salad
The vibrant, neon-green side dishes found in most restaurants – seaweed salads — are frequently produced by another food company and may contain a lengthy list of food chemicals, colorings, and flavors.
A serving of 100 grams of seaweed salad provides:
- Calories: 70
- Protein: 1 gram
- Carbohydrates: 11 grams
- Fiber: 5 grams
- Sugar: 6 grams
- Fat: 2.5 grams
- Sodium: 36% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
In addition to sugar, salt, high fructose corn syrup, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, and food colorings such as yellow #5 and blue #1, many prepackaged seaweed salads have additional sugar, salt, high fructose corn syrup, and hydrolyzed vegetable protein.
Although there is minimal evidence that these components are intrinsically dangerous, they provide little to no nutritional value.
The dish’s high fiber content is derived from agar, an additional form of seaweed that is occasionally added to seaweed salad. Consequently, there are certain advantages to consuming a mixed seaweed salad.
However, wakame seaweed by itself is a far superior source of nourishment. A 2-tablespoon (10-gram) serving of raw wakame seaweed, the quantity typically used in handmade preparations, contains:
- Calories: 4.5
- Protein: 0.3 grams
- Carbs: 1 gram
- Fiber: less than 1 gram
- Sugar: less than 1 gram
- Fat: less than 1 gram
- Iodine: 280% of the RDI
- Manganese: 6% of the RDI
- Folate: 5% of the RDI
- Sodium: 4% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 3% of the RDI
- Calcium: 1% of the RDI
Wakame seaweed is low in calories, rich in iodine, and a respectable source of manganese and folate.
In contrast, the added salt, sugar, and oils in prepared seaweed salad significantly increase its caloric load. Additionally, prepared seaweed salad typically comes in larger servings than handmade seaweed salad.
Therefore, if you are managing your calorie intake, it may be advisable to make your own seaweed salad, as you can control the components.
Typically, seaweed salad comprises wakame, a low-calorie, and nutrient-rich seaweed that is also low in calories. However, the majority of prepackaged versions contain excessive levels of salt, sugar, food colorings, and flavors, making them less healthful.
Health benefits of seaweed salad
If you prepare your seaweed salad at home, its nutritional profile and health benefits will be considerably enhanced.
Low in calories
In general, seaweed salad is low in calories, with less than 100 calories per serving – whether it is prefabricated or created from scratch.
The majority of the ingredients in seaweed salad, including wakame, agar agar, assorted veggies, and a tiny amount of sesame oil, are low in calories and high in nutrients.
Some prepackaged seaweed salads may contain more oil, which can add calories, but when you create seaweed salad at home, the amount of oil is up to you.
High in iodine
Wakame is a good source of iodine, a vital mineral that aids in thyroid regulation and the production of thyroid hormones responsible for metabolism, growth, and cellular repair.
Despite being uncommon in the Western world, iodine deficiency affects 2 billion individuals globally and can cause goiter and hypothyroidism.
Aside from iodized salt, wakame and other seaweeds are among the best sources of iodine. 280% of the RDI is provided by 2 tablespoons (10 grams) of wakame, which is more than enough.
Can be nutritious
Especially when made from scratch, seaweed salad can be a wonderful source of nutrients.
While wakame is the primary component of seaweed salad, other nutrient-dense items such as sesame seeds, different types of seaweed, leafy greens, ginger, edamame, daikon radish, shredded carrots, and maize may also be included.
However, prepackaged seaweed salad typically has fewer nutrients because it is typically composed of wakame seaweed and taste enhancers.
Low in calories and high in essential elements such as iodine, seaweed salad is a healthy option. If you prepare it at home rather than ordering it in a restaurant, it can be made even more nutritious.
Potential Downsides of Seaweed Salad
There are possible drawbacks to seaweed salad, particularly the prepackaged versions seen in a number of eateries.
High in salt
A 100-gram portion of premade seaweed salad has 820 milligrams of sodium, which is equivalent to 36 percent of your daily sodium requirements. This is primarily the result of additional salts rather than the seaweed’s natural salt content.
Consuming an excessive amount of salt might cause hypertension in individuals who are susceptible to its effects.
Given that the majority of Americans consume too much sodium, it may be advisable to reserve readymade seaweed salad for special occasions. Choosing a homemade alternative can dramatically reduce salt intake.
Includes Several Additional Substances
Since most restaurants use prepackaged seaweed salad, they have no control over the ingredients.
Frequently, these salads contain numerous additives, such as food coloring, high fructose corn syrup, extra sugar, excess salt, and various flavor enhancers.
In addition, they frequently include a flavor enhancer called hydrolyzed vegetable protein. Despite not being detrimental to the majority of individuals, wheat is present. This is something to bear in mind if you must avoid gluten.
If you are attempting to limit or avoid these ingredients, it may be best to avoid purchasing readymade versions.
Typically, prepared seaweed salad is heavy in salt and also contains numerous other ingredients, including sugar, salt, syrups, flavors, and food coloring.
Recipe For Seaweed Salad
If you wish to make your own seaweed salad, you can find many excellent recipes online. Alternatively, you can make your own version by being inventive in the kitchen.
To create seaweed salad, you must first get dried wakame, which is available at many Asian markets and online.
Rehydrate the wakame by adding it to a pot of boiled (removed-from-heat) water and allowing it to sit for a few minutes. Then, pour the mixture in a strainer and rinse it with cold water. Be sure to squeeze out any extra liquid.
After this, you can add a number of healthy ingredients, such as carrot shreds, ginger, sesame seeds, daikon radish, and edamame. It is acceptable to experiment with various veggies, herbs, and spices.
Choose a type of salad dressing as the final step. Typically, sesame seed oil, soy sauce, and vinegar serve as the dressing’s foundation. Additionally, you can add chili flakes, a small amount of sugar, and salt to taste.
One dish from Yeung Man Cooking provides a nutrient-dense, simple, yet equally delicious sesame salad. Observe his video here.
Caroline Caron-Phelps, a Japanese-French Canadian recipe maker who offers numerous delectable Japanese-inspired meals on her website, Pickled Plum, has provided another simple and speedy recipe.
You can simply prepare seaweed salad at home by following popular web recipes or utilizing your imagination in the kitchen. You can acquire dried wakame by visiting an Asian grocery store or by ordering it online.