What Types of Seaweed Are Edible?

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What Types of Seaweed Are Edible?
Nori, a type a seaweed, is often used to wrap sushi (sushi image by Maryna Girard from Fotolia.com)

Although not all types of seaweed are edible, many varieties are not only edible, but also tasty and nutritious. Seaweed adds flavour to such foods as sushi, soups and stir-fries. The various seaweeds have differing nutritional values, but all are high in antioxidants; vitamins B1, B2, and B12; and iodine.

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Kombu is a mix of Laminaria seaweed species. Japanese have eaten kombu for centuries. When roasted, kombu tastes like bacon. You can make a tea from dried kombu, or toss it into soups as a flavouring.


Nori (Porphyra spp.) is one of the most nutritious seaweeds. Nori is often pressed into sheets and used to wrap sushi, and almost 10 billion sheets of nori are processed each year. The sweet, meaty taste of nori works as an accent in soups and salads.


Dulse (Palmaria palmate) is harvested in Ireland and east Canada. This red seaweed is slightly salty and spicy, making it great as a snack or for seasoning soups. Dulse has a chewy texture and is often used in stir-fry.


Wakame (Undaria pinnatifida) has a higher fibre content than some of the other seaweeds. Depending on its processing, it can be either green or brown. Wakame is a flavourful addition to soups, noodles and salads.


Ogonori (Gracilaria spp.) is treated as a raw vegetable. Hawaiians eat ogonori as a salad. Ogonori is sometimes called "sea moss."

Winged Kelp

Winged kelp (Alaria esculenta) is a brown seaweed. Winged kelp, known for its protein, is either cooked or eaten raw. This seaweed grows in cold waters and is not suited to growing commercially.

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