Vegetables of the Sea

Sea vegetables are such wonderful friends! For thousands of years they have been called upon for their healing, disease preventing, life prolonging properties, and they come in many colours and varieties, so there is bound to be one that suits you just perfectly!

Sea vegetables contain 10-20 times more minerals than land plants, and because these minerals have been integrated into a living plant/seaweed, they are beautifully absorbed and assimilated by our bodies.

Each sea vegetable has a specific set of qualities, but generally speaking they all contain protein, vitamins A, B, C and E, super amounts of iron, calcium and iodine, are detoxifying, alkalising and anti-inflammatory.

To prepare sea vegetables they need to be rehydrated. Cover with water and soak for 5-15 minutes – they will expand to at least twice their original volume.

Cooked Arame


I will feature a little special each month on each sea vegetable in turn, giving them all a time to shine. This month is arame. Arame grows in fronds which is then cut into stringy ‘noodles’, partly cooked and dried. It is rich in iodine, high in iron and calcium, and is traditionally used for normalising high blood pressure, treating female reproductive conditions, mouth afflictions and encouraging growth of glossy hair.

This week on the food matters project the recipe was Seared Bean Sprouts with Beef and Sesame Orange Sauce (check out the original version here). I adapted this to a vegetarian meal using tempeh, and added the arame and served it with quinoa – delicious!

I also changed the marinade a little, making it a version of the one Jude Blereau uses with her pan-glazed orange tofu. Here’s what I did.

Orange Pan-Glazed Tempeh with Bean Sprouts
225g/8oz tempeh
2 tablespoons coconut oil (or olive oil)
2 tablespoons sesame seeds (black or white)
400g/14oz bean sprouts (snow pea sprouts would also be delicious here)
1 small bunch of spring onions/scallions
250ml freshly squeezed orange juice 
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
2 teaspoons tamari (or soy sauce)
3 teaspoons mirin*
2 teaspoons honey or maple syrup
1 clove of garlic chopped
1 big handful of fresh coriander/cilantro
1 handful of arame
Pickled ginger (optional)
*If you don’t have any mirin you can just add some extra sweetness with the honey/maple syrup to taste

Combine the orange juice, ginger, garlic, tamari, mirin and honey/maple syrup in a small bowl and set aside. The smell is amazing, so fresh and fragrant!

Soak the arame (if using).

Place the sesame seeds in a dry skillet/frying pan over medium-low heat and heat until fragrant (about 3-5 minutes) then remove from pan.

Put the oil in the pan and when it’s hot but not smoking add the tempeh.

Cook until browned and then turn over and cook on the other side until nice and golden (about 3-5 minutes each side).

our in the orange juice mixture and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the mixture reduces to a lovely glaze. About 2-3 minutes before the end, add the sprouts and white parts of the spring onions/scallions and stir through.

To serve, arrange on top of a bed of quinoa (or brown rice) and drizzle with any left over glaze. Top with a big pinch of arame, a sprinkle of sesame seeds and garnish with fresh coriander/cilantro and pickled ginger (optional). I completely forgot about the coriander until about halfway through the meal! 

This is such a versatile recipe. You can substitute tofu (or a meat protein) for the tempeh, and can add in some other fresh vegetables with the bean sprouts if you feel like it.


Here is what the other food matters project members came up with.

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