One thing that sets apart Blissful Bites from other vegan cookbooks is the chapter on Sea Vegetables (or seaweed). It wasn’t until I went to a macrobiotic culinary school that I was introduced to the exciting world of sea veggies. Honestly, I didn’t even like sushi until after that and came to love nori for wrapping and snacking.
Sea vegetables are an important missing link to the plant-based diet in the US (and many other countries for that matter!). Sea vegetables, or seaweeds, are some of the most nutritious foods we can eat. They have more vitamins and trace minerals per ounce than any other food. They are very alkaline, have antibiotic and antibacterial properties, aid in digestion, and help reduce cholesterol. You don’t need to have a lot to get the benefits. Just a tablespoon or two a day will do the trick. Keep in mind that sea vegetables are usually dried and will double or triple in size once rehydrated. Be sure to drain off the soaking water and cook in fresh water.
Buy your sea vegetables from a reputable source. They are readily available at natural food stores, but that aisle is often neglected. Each one has a different taste, texture, and smell. I personally love some more than I do others but have found some delicious ways to make them edible and even enticing. They may be cheaper at Asian markets, but they also may contain fish by-products or unwanted chemicals.
Today we spotlight Wakame!!
Wakame is part of the kelp family. Often found in soups and light salads, it supports the liver and nervous system. Usually it comes in flakes or long strips. If you find it in long strips, use kitchen scissors to cut into 1/2-inch pieces. For soups, toss in a pinch or two toward the beginning. For salads, marinate the wakame for up to 20 minutes.
If you love quiche, you will love this recipe, which has wakame for an added nutritional explosion. It has the perfect quiche-like consistency, so you’ll never know it’s vegan! To make this a traditional quiche with a crust, use the homemade flaky crust recipe in Blissful Bites or buy a crust from the store.
Wakame Tofu ”Bacon” Quiche
Makes 6 to 8 servings
3 slices store-bought tempeh bacon (or use my tempeh bacon recipe)
1 package (14 ounces) extra firm tofu, crumbled
3 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
2 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon apple cider or sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
Spices of your choice: 1/2 teaspoon each cumin, oregano, basil, paprika, coriander, rosemary, chili powder, black pepper
1/2 cup red pepper, diced
1 medium zucchini, quarter-moons
2 tablespoons dried wakame, soaked for 10 minutes, then drained
If using store-bought tempeh bacon pan-fry, chop bacon and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine tofu, soy sauce, tahini, vinegar, oil, nutritional yeast, and spices in a food processor. Blend until smooth, making sure to scrape the edges of the bowl a few times to incorporate all ingredients. Place tofu mixture in a medium bowl and combine with the veggies, wakame, and bacon. Place in greased pie pan or 8×8 casserole dish. Bake covered for 40 minutes. Uncover and cook for 15 more minutes, until the top is golden and browned. Serve hot.
What are YOUR favorite sea veggies and how do you like to use them?