Deutsch: Meeresalgen / Español: Alga marina / Português: Alga marinha / Français: Algues marines / Italiano: Alga marina

Seaweed refers to various species of marine algae that are edible and used widely in cooking, particularly in Asian cuisines such as Japanese, Korean, and Chinese. Seaweed is celebrated not only for its unique umami flavors but also for its nutritional benefits, including being a rich source of iodine, vitamins, and minerals.


Seaweed comes in many forms and varieties, including nori, kelp, wakame, and dulse, each with distinctive tastes and culinary uses. It can be eaten fresh or dried, and is commonly used as a seasoning, a vegetable in soups and salads, or as a wrapper for sushi. The versatility of seaweed makes it a popular ingredient across various dishes, offering a range of textures from crispy to silky.

Nutritionally, seaweed is a low-calorie food that packs a high concentration of vitamins like vitamin K, iodine, calcium, and magnesium. It's also a natural source of iodine, which is essential for thyroid function. The presence of unique compounds such as fucoxanthin has piqued interest for potential health benefits including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Application Areas

Seaweed is utilized in numerous culinary applications:

  • Sushi Rolls: Nori sheets are used as a wrap in sushi.
  • Salads: Wakame and hijiki are common in Japanese seaweed salads.
  • Soups: Like miso soup, which often includes pieces of wakame.
  • Snacks: Dried seaweed snacks are popular for their health benefits and flavor.

Well-Known Examples

Some iconic dishes featuring seaweed include:

  • Nori in Sushi: Essential for making maki rolls and onigiri rice balls.
  • Wakame in Miso Soup: A staple ingredient in this traditional Japanese soup.
  • Kombu in Dashi: Used to make the umami-rich broth that forms the base for many Japanese dishes.

Treatment and Risks

While seaweed is generally safe and healthy to consume, it does contain high levels of iodine which can affect thyroid function if ingested in large quantities. It is also important to source seaweed from clean waters due to the risk of contamination with heavy metals like arsenic.


Seaweed can be easily incorporated into diets with simple recipes:

  • Simple Seaweed Salad:
    • Ingredients: Dried wakame, sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, sesame seeds.
    • Method: Rehydrate wakame in water, then mix with sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar. Garnish with sesame seeds before serving.
  • Seaweed Miso Soup:
    • Ingredients: Miso paste, dried wakame, tofu, water, scallions.
    • Method: Dissolve miso paste in water, add rehydrated wakame and cubed tofu, and heat gently. Serve topped with chopped scallions.

Similar Terms

  • Marine algae
  • Kelp
  • Nori
  • Wakame
  • Dulse


Seaweed is an incredibly versatile and nutritious ingredient used in a variety of global cuisines, particularly in Asian countries. It offers a unique umami flavor to dishes such as soups, salads, and snacks, and provides a host of health benefits due to its rich content of vitamins and minerals. Care should be taken to consume seaweed in moderation due to its high iodine content and potential for heavy metal contamination.


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