Kelp noodle and broccoli slaw
When I first tasted kelp noodles — at, of all places, a salad bar in a corporate cafeteria — it was love at first bite.
They’re delicate and crunchy, with a surprising neutral taste that, instead, soaks up the flavors of other ingredients. Thin, translucent, and somehow sparkly, kelp noodles are an intriguing addition to salads, soups, and slaws.
My neighborhood is sadly bereft of ethnic markets, except for a crazy, independent mega store that recently opened near me and carries just about anything a cook’s heart could possibly desire, including these kelp noodles. (If you’re ever in Cincinnati, you must visit Jungle Jim’s. There’s an entire room devoted to hot sauces, and another to olives. The produce department alone is a comprehensive education in the world’s fruit and vegetables. Whodda thunk you could find fresh galangal in a Cincinnati market?) Whole Foods might carry kelp noodles as well, and I imagine they’re a staple in Asian markets.
Look how beautiful — like strands of crystals. Only the sea could produce such a gorgeous, exotic vegetable.
Kelp noodles are considered to be a super food, as they contain high concentrations of iodine, potassium, magnesium, iron, and calcium, plus 21 amino acids. Kelp noodles assist in healthy thyroid function (for those without a sensitivity to iodine), promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and enhance heart health. They contain no fat, cholesterol, protein, gluten, or sugar.
Crunchy broccoli slaws are one of my favorites, especially when topped with a gingery Asian dressing and a big handful of seeds. I hope you’ll enjoy this, too!
Kelp noodle and broccoli slaw
The kelp noodle brands I’ve seen are sold in 12 ounce packages (you’ll use 6 ounces for this recipe). The kelp strands are very long and are wound into loose, stiff ball. Store unused noodles in a container, covered with water, in the fridge.
- for the slaw:
- 6 ounces kelp noodles (seaweed tangles)
- 1 head broccoli, grated (use the stems, too)
- 1 small head purple/red cabbage, grated
- 1 small carrot, grated
- 1 small green onion, chopped
- ginger tahini dressing
- for the ginger tahini dressing:
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar*
- 2 tablespoon white miso
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
- 2 tablespoons neutral oil (such as grapeseed or canola)
- 1 teaspoon honey (or your favorite sweetener)
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 1/2″ inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 green onion, roughly chopped
- pinch red pepper flakes (optional, provides a gentle heat)
- salt, to taste (begin with 1/8 teaspoon, or a big pinch)
- water to thin
- for assembly:
- a handful of your favorite seeds or nuts (I use pepitas and sliced almonds)
- For the slaw: Soak the kelp noodles in a bowl of warm water for about 15 minutes, then rinse and drain (this helps to loosen the noodles). Use a pair of kitchen shears to cut the mass in half (store the unused half in the fridge in container covered with water and sealed). Continue snipping into the noodle mass to create shorter strands, pulling the them apart as you go.
- Toss the grated broccoli, cabbage, carrots, and green onions in a medium bowl. Add the kelp noodles a little at a time, gently folding into the other ingredients to mix.
- For the dressing: Add all ingredients (except the water) to a tall container and blend with an immersion blender until smooth (or use a regular blender). Add water one teaspoon at a time and continuing blending until dressing reaches your desired consistency (I end up using 1 to 2 tablespoons). Taste, and add more salt if necessary.
- Pour the dressing over the slaw and toss gently. Top with nuts or seeds. Store in the fridge until served. (For extra crunchiness, add the dressing just before serving.)
*Apple cider vinegar will give extra tang to the recipe, which I prefer. For a more subtle result, use rice vinegar.