Seaweed might not be the first thing that comes to mind when we think of healthy snacks, but it's actually a delicious, low-cal way to add a boost of nutrients to your day. It's packed with important vitamins and minerals such as iodine, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and vitamins A and C. When you buy it in stores, you'll most often find dried seaweed (usually the nori variety, which is the kind used to wrap sushi) sold in sheets, flakes, or handy snack packs. Fresh seaweed, on the other hand, is commonly sold as an ingredient in prepared foods like sushi or seaweed salad.
The slightly sweet, vaguely salty taste of seaweed pairs well with savory, creamy foods like avocado, tahini, and hummus. You can also nosh on it with crisp, hydrating veggies like cucumber or enjoy it alongside sushi-grade fish and salty flavors like smoked salmon, miso paste, and soy sauce. But when you're in the mood for a little snack, here's a few quick ideas:
Add to toast: Top a slice of sprouted-grain toast with smoked salmon, smashed avocado, or hummus. Crumble dried seaweed on top for a subtle flavor.
Make tea sandwiches: Take four sheets of dried seaweed. Spread two with hummus and sliced cucumber or zucchini. Top each with the remaining sheets and cut each piece into two—makes a total of four mini-sandwiches.
Mix into hummus: Purée crumbled dried seaweed in a food processor or blender with store-bought hummus. Or make your own with chickpeas or white beans, tahini, olive oil, and lemon juice. A teaspoon of white miso paste adds rich umami flavor.
Try sesame seaweed wraps: Slice a cucumber very thin and use the pieces as wraps for broken-up seaweed sheets and a creamy spread like avocado or a homemade sesame dressing. You can also roll up fresh ginger—just be sure to soak the ginger in water before using it to take some of the bite out.
Combine with avocado: Cut an avocado in half and scoop out the pit. Top half with a sprinkle of crumbled dried seaweed, a squirt of lemon juice, and a teaspoon of sesame seeds.
Toss in your popcorn: Crumble a few sheets of dried seaweed and toss with popcorn. Sprinkle in sea salt or other seasonings you like. Nutritional yeast makes a satisfying addition as well, and provides some protein and vitamin B12. (Here's more to know about nutritional yeast.) This works with bagged popcorn, but you can also make it fresh (even at the office!) by placing 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup of kernels in a brown paper bag, folding the top of the bag a couple times, and microwaving a minute or two or until the kernels stop popping. Remove the bag from the microwave, add seaweed and desired seasonings, and toss to combine.
Blend into a smoothie: The subtle seaweed taste is barely detectable in a smoothie. Mix in a few sheets with whatever other greens you're using. As an added bonus, the slight saltiness will highlight the sweetness in the other ingredients. Try it with spinach, frozen banana, coconut water, and your favorite protein powder.