Sunday, October 18, 2009

Soba, Spinach and Sea Vegetable Salad

Sea vegetables are so packed with nutrition that I really want to learn to like them. Okay, I really want to learn to accept them enough to eat them every week in a form other than sushi.

This salad is something I made up to get a little seaweed into us at lunch today. Surprisingly the seaweed blended into the background and except for one bite, which had more seaweed than the other bites, I couldn’t taste it in the dish. Even my husband said this was good, and he doesn’t like any seaweed but nori and sea asparagus. I was quite pleased with the end result.

If you are wondering why I want to cultivate a taste for seaweed that is easy. As usual the reason is all about nutrition. Sea vegetables are said to contain more minerals than any other food. They are an excellent source of iodine and vitamin K. Additionally they also contain iron, calcium and a few B vitamins. Sea vegetables also contain lignans, which has been shown to inhibit angiogenesis. Cancer needs a rich blood supply to grow and when you inhibit the growth of blood vessels (angiogenesis) you are shutting down the food supply for the tumors. The fucans in sea vegetables is also thought to reduce inflammation, also a good thing. Consumption of sea vegetables is also associated with a reduction in menopausal symptoms.

I am hoping that we grow accustomed to the taste and texture of seaweed like we did the green drink. As I find new ways to use seaweed I will continue to post the recipes. Here is what we had for lunch today.

Soba, Spinach and Sea Vegetable Salad
Serves 2


120 grams (1 bundle) Soba Noodles (Yamaimo Soba)
10 grams mixed dried seaweed (mixture of brown, green and clear sea vegetables)
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoon liquid aminos
½ tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 clove garlic, peeled and grated (or finely minced)
3 cups baby spinach, julienned


Fill a medium sized pan with plenty of water (at least 1 ½ quarts) and bring to a boil.

Begin by soaking the seaweed in plenty of water for at least 15 minutes. I changed the water once during the soak. Now drain the sea vegetables and move to a large bowl.

Add the soba noodles to the boiling water and cook according to the package directions. My package indicated to cook for 4 – 5 minutes (much less than regular pasta) and to drain and rinse. Use cold water to rinse the noodles so that won’t wilt the fresh spinach.

Place the noodles in the bowl with the seaweed. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and toss to combine.

Serve cold.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 265.48
Calories From Fat (19%) - 51.24

Total Fat - 6.36g
Saturated Fat - 0.63g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 1548.72mg
Potassium - 375.73mg
Total Carbohydrates - 48.28g
Fiber - 1.26g
Sugar - 0.24g
Protein - 11.73g


This salad was surprisingly in its lack of “seaweediness”. If I hadn’t made the dish I am not certain I would have known it contained seaweed. I would suggest that you do what I did and start with a small amount of seaweed and make certain it is evenly distributed and flavored with an intense sauce. That seemed to work well for me.

The nutritional information was also impressive for this dish. The dish contains over 4200IU of vitamin A, and 220 mcg of vitamin K, and almost a 100mcg of folate. I think that is quite a lot of nutrition for a little bowl of salad.

Next time I will be more careful when I buy soba noodles. I didn’t realize until today that the package I bought had over 1000mg of sodium per serving just for the noodles. There must be a few brands with less sodium than that. Overall this was a nice flavorful salad and one that I will be making variations of in the future.


  1. This looks great. I am also trying to fit more sea veggies into our diet. I will have to give this a try. thanks!
    Debra @ Vegan Family Style

  2. Debra,

    If you come up with any sea vegetable recipes please post them. I have been looking for them and they seem to be few and far between. My Japanese friend Reiko told me she adds sea vegetables to soups and salads. That is why I used them as I did in this recipe.


  3. Alright! You took the seaweed challenge! I remember discussing our mutual love/hate relationship with seaweed a few posts back. However, you are far braver than me.

    I haven't been brave enough to try sea vegetables yet, although I noticed a package of them at my local co-op last week. I held the package up, inspected it, and decided to leave it until another, braver day.

    Now that you've posted this...I may just have to go back and pick up a package. I know that sea kelp extract works wonders out in the garden; so it must work wonders for us too. ;)

  4. Rose,

    I decided to put my toe in the "seaweed" water today. I used half of a 20 gram package, just in case we weren't thrilled with the results. The dried seaweed I bought is a mixture of at least three or four different types. I wish I could tell you what was in it but the package is all in Japanese, or Korean (some language I don't know), so I don't know what it is exactly.

    I can't say for certain I would be ready for the entire package in one recipe, but using half worked much better than I expected. Even the hubby said he would eat it again and not complain. And .... he is the pickier of the two of us.

    You use sea kelp extract in your garden? Where do you buy it? I don't remember seeing it when I have gone plant shopping. I guess I need ask for it.


  5. I like the seaweed-y taste. Salty and a little metallic tasting. I guess I am the only one?

  6. You can find sea kelp extract in most garden's for garden use not food use, but plants thrive on it due to all the nutrients. You can mix it in when you water, but I usually use it as a foliar feed, mixed with water and sprayed on the foliage, the plants soak it up through their leaves.

  7. Alexandra,

    It is going to take a while longer for Dan and I to get used to the flavor of seaweed. However, the squishy texture is going to take even longer. That is why I hid it in the soba noodles and spinach.

    I will check with Reiko to see if she likes the seaweed flavor. I suspect she only eats it because it is good for her, but I could be wrong she may like it.

    talk to you soon,

  8. Rose,

    Thanks for explaining how to use the sea kelp extract. I am such a gardening novice I can use all the tips I can get. I will look for it when I get to the garden center next.


  9. I like the idea of just mixing spinach w/soba noodles.

  10. Shenandoah,

    We have had this without seaweed before, and you are right it is good. I was looking for a way to get the seaweed into us and the spinach hid the appearance and flavor nicely.

    If you want to increase the flavor and thickness of the sauce you can also whisk a little miso into the sauce.


  11. Oh man, I forgot about this. I should make this again soon.


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