Homeskillet Real Food Feels Good

Late Summer Seaweed Salad with Cucumbers and Avocado

Sep 17 2013

Summer is on its way out, but cucumbers are still here and it’s still in the upper 90s in Texas. So we’re still enjoying the refreshing produce before we say goodbye to cucumbers for a good long while (well fresh ones, anyway – there’s always pickles!). Now is a great time to savor cukes before we transition into soups and stews and yummy winter squash and cold-weather crops like broccoli and Brussels sprouts. I’m really ready for the change and am beginning to stockpile butternut squash, acorn squash and spaghetti squash. So keep an eye out for heartier recipes to come.

In the spirit of late summer, I made a seaweed salad adapted from a recipe in Food and Wine Magazine from a Maine seaweed harvester named Kacie Loparto. I used wakame seaweed harvested in Maine (one of the greatest places, ever) from Ironbound Island Seaweed. It’s really important to get seaweed harvested sustainably from clean waters and this is one such source. Ocean vegetables are a real delicacy and a food I eat occasionally for their wholly unique sea-like flavor and serious nutrient potential.

Seaweed Salad with Cucumber and Avocado  |  Homeskillet  |  Real food feels good

They have a very broad range of minerals and contain antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties that scientists are learning more about it. This fiber-rich food also seems to boost fat loss, provide prebiotics for good gut bacteria, and soothe the lining of the digestive tract. Wakame is best known for its high iodine content, helpful for people with hypothyroidism. Better to get your iodine from this whole food than from processed salt with added iodine. I do want to note that not everyone does well with a lot of seaweed in their diets and I typically think of it as a condiment, adding strips to soups or a nori sheet to make a sushi-inspired wrap. Kombu goes into a pot of beans to make them more digestible, and dried dulse can be sprinkled on to food like salt. But a salad chock full of seaweed a few times in the summer seems cool to me, especially with salmon sashimi!

Back to cukes. Crisp Armenian cucumbers (or another similar seedless cucumber) are my favorite for simply eating, as they have more flavor and a heartier texture than regular cucumbers. Not only are they hydrating and replenishing, cucumbers contain cancer-fighting lignans and have positive effects on diabetes, cholesterol, high blood pressure, and weight loss. Pretty good for a versatile, easy-to-grow veggie.

Avocado adds a richness to salad and supremely healthy fats and antioxidants, along with hempseed oil, which although is high in omega-6 polyunsaturated fats (the not-so-good fats in vegetable oils), it’s in a balanced ratio with the more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, and its vitamin E and vitamin D and may improve eczema, heart health and inflammation. It tastes really good in this salad too, but you could always use a high-quality sesame oil instead. Really all of the ingredients in this salad have health benefits, but I’m going to call it a day here so I can play outside for a bit.

Enjoy the last days of summer with your favorite summertime meals!

by Adrienne Lee
Skill Level Easy
Cook Time Medium < 45 min
Serves 4-6
Seaweed Salad with Cucumber and Avocado

Seaweed Salad with Cucumber and Avocado

Out of the ordinary salad with balanced, interesting flavors from simple ingredients. This recipe is inspired by one from a Maine seaweed harvester named Kacie Loparto and I used wakame from the Maine Coast. Wakame seaweed becomes slimy when soaked, but instead of being turned off by this texture, you can reap the health benefits of this food, including high iodine, a trace element often lacking in American diets but is necessary for proper thyroid function.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces wakame
  • ¼ cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon yellow or sweet white miso paste
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey
  • ½ cup cold-pressed hempseed oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 cups sliced Armenian cucumbers or small seedless variety (about 1/8” thick)
  • 1 small avocado, peeled and pitted and diced
  • 3 thinly sliced scallions
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • Coarse unrefined sea salt, to taste

Preparation

Bring a medium saucepan or pot of water to a boil. Add wakame and remove from heat. Allow seaweed to soak until softened, about 20 minutes. Drain, reserving the liquid if you’d like to make miso soup or another project. Rinse seaweed under cold water and gently pat dry. Thinly slice the wakame into strips with a sharp knife. It’s slimy and sticky so take care when slicing.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the rice vinegar, lime juice, miso paste, ginger and honey. Drizzle in the oils slowly while whisking vigorously, until the vinaigrette is thickened and well combined. Season with a pinch of sea salt. Add the wakame, cucumber, avocado and scallions and toss well but gently, coating the vegetables with the vinaigrette. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds. Best when served immediately but if you make it a day ahead, add avocado just before serving.

Homeskillet Notes

  • If you don’t have a seedless cucumber variety, you can use regular cucumbers with a less flavorful but still good result. Peel and remove the seeds, then dice.
  • Toast sesame seeds in a dry skillet on medium heat with plenty of room to spread the seeds out. Keep it attended and stir often so the seeds won’t burn.
  • Substitute the hempseed oil with untoasted cold-pressed sesame oil if needed.

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