I think I must be a born vegetarian, as my daughter reminded me the other day that I had told her years ago that the best way to cook meat, was to cook it until it didn’t taste like meat! The same has been true for me with fish. Even though I always preferred fish over meat, I still never liked the taste of fish, so would marinate it until there was no fish taste. These days I happily live without either. But sea vegetables are a potent source of live food. They’re the sea equivalent of dark leafy greens, in the way they transform sunlight. The downside for me can be the damp/salty/fishy taste. I especially notice it with kelp. One of the mildest tasting and easiest ways to consume more sea vegetables is to incorporate Sushi into your diet.
It is neigh impossible to make sushi without nori sheets; they are always delicious; simple to make; filling; versatile; plus they always seem to go down a treat no matter who comes for dinner. Happy days!
Now I know many people are worried these days about the safety and quality of their sea vegetables, with things in Japan going from bad to worse as far as Fukashima is concerned. There will most likely be a very sad day in the future when we can no longer harvest anything to eat from the sea, but at this stage, good quality companies test their sea vegetable products extensively. If you are still concerned, I would email the company and enquire about where their products are grown. I only use organic, but between raw or toasted sheets, I have no true preference. The toasted is a little crispier I find.
The health benefits of seaweeds are numerous; nori contains high levels of iodine relative to other foods which is vital for healthy thyroid and adrenal function. Australians soils are notoriously iodine deficient so including sea vegetables in your diet is one way to boost your levels through food as medicine. Nori is also rich in calcium and magnesium. It is about one-third protein and one-third dietary fiber, and contains high proportions of vitamins A, B, and K, and iron. Nori is considered to be an important source of vitamin B12 for vegans. All round, it is a traditional food source that Western Cultures do not utilise. Luckily, foods from around the globe are now easily accessible and popular, so let’s get sushi-ing!
Depending what I have in my cupboard I make my sushi with a variety of base ingredients. For raw foodies, cauliflower or parsnip rice (raw cauliflower or parsnip pulsed to a rice-like consistency) can work well. For a more dense filling, I pulse a mix of Brazil nuts and coconut. Or you can just stuff your roll full of veggies without any rice-like substances and still have a tasty, filling, veggie-packed meal.
For the filling, well the world is your oyster. Fresh crispy veggies are a must! Cut them thin or grate or julienne them and pack them in! If I’m wanting more of a protein hit I really enjoy a slice of marinated tempeh or some fermented seed cheese’. And to make things nice and sticky, I’ll use avocado, tahini, or a nut butter or nut-based cheese.
My favourite fillings at the moment are home made hummus with avocado, tons of sprouts, greens and chilli sauce.
Then roll! The nori goes soggy, so don’t make extra for lunch the next day. Not that will be any left over. It’s too good!
For dipping, I like making a little mix of tamari, organic rice wine vinegar, lemon juice and organic sweet chili sauce. Yum!
If you struggle with incorporating sea veggies into your diet on a regular basis, I challenge you to give this a go, and see if you’re not absolutely addicted!
Cilantro Lime Cauliflower “Rice” Collard or Sushi Wraps
Yields 4 wraps
2 cups cauliflower “rice” (about 1/2 head of cauliflower)
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
2 TB. fresh lime juice (juice of 1 lime)
1 TB. olive oil
1 garlic clove
2 medium-sized collard leaves/ or Nori Sheets
1/2 cup purple cabbage, shredded
1 carrot, julienned
1/2 avocado, sliced
Handful of sprouts
In a food processor fitted with an ‘S’ blade, pulse 1/2 head of cauliflower florets and sea salt until it makes a rice-like consistency. In a high-speed blender, combine cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, garlic and 2 tablespoons of water until smooth. Pour over cauliflower “rice” and stir to mix well. Let cauliflower “rice” marinate in the fridge while you prep other veggies.
Sea vegetables are one of the most nutritious foods you can eat and with the right combination of textures, colours and flavors, like fruits, creamy dressings and spicy flavors like ginger, they are super delicious. This receipe is from Mathew Kenney and I love it!
Sea vegetables are one on nature’s richest sources of complete vegetable protein (up to 38%) and vitamin B12. They are also a great source of potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, iodine, chlorophyll, enzymes and fibre. They have a balancing and alkalizing effect on your blood and are known for their ability to reduce cholesterol, remove metallic and radioactive elements from the body and to prevent goiter.
2 cups mixed greens
1/2 cup dried wakame in 1 – inch pieces, soaked 20-30 mins and drained
1/2 cup dried arame in 1 – inch pieces, soaked 20-30 min and drained
1/2 cup dried hijiki in 1 inch pieces, soaked 20-30 min and drained
1/2 cup julienned mango
1/2 cup julienned cucumber
1/2 cup julienned beets
Place 1 cup of mixed greens in the centre of each plate. Mix all the seaweeds in a medium bowl. Add the julienned vegetables, mix, and place on top of the greens, sprinkle with chopped red chilles , scallions and sesame seeds
Add creamy sesame dressing :
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup nama shoyu
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup tahini
1 inch piece of ginger
1/4 cup sesame oit
1/4 cup olive oil
1tsp lime juice
Blend all ingredients in blender until completely smooth.