Kelp powder is a type of seaweed that is dried and ground into a fine powder.
It has become a popular ingredient in many recipes due to its nutrition profile and savory, umami flavor.
Kelp is a brown seaweed that grows in shallow ocean waters. It has broad leaf-like fronds and can grow over 150 feet long. Kelp is harvested and dried, then ground into a fine greenish-brown powder to make kelp powder.
Some key traits of kelp powder include:
- Umami flavor - Kelp has a savory, meaty, umami taste similar to broth. This makes it a popular vegan ingredient.
- Nutrient rich - Kelp powder is high in iodine, iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, B vitamins, vitamin K, and antioxidants.
- Salts alternative - With its salty ocean-like flavor, kelp powder can replace some salt in recipes.
- Gluten-free and vegan - Kelp powder is naturally gluten-free and vegan, making it perfect for specialty diets.
Now that you know what kelp powder is made of, let's look at the different ways it can be used.
Key Takeaway: Kelp powder is a nutrient-dense, umami-rich seasoning made by drying and grinding sea kelp into a fine powder.
Using Kelp Powder in Recipes
There are endless ways to cook with nutrient-packed kelp powder:
Seasonings and Condiments
Kelp powder makes an easy addition to:
- Homemade veggie broths and soups
- Salad dressings
- Dips like hummus
- Marinades for tofu, tempeh, veggies
- Nutritional yeast seasoning blends
- Furikake rice seasoning
- Homemade vegan fish sauce
It adds salty, savory umami flavor to anything it seasons. A little goes a long way, so start with 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 teaspoon kelp powder at first.
Veggies, Grains and Legumes
Mix kelp powder into:
- Fried rice or veggie stir-fries
- Curries, chili, stews
- Soups like miso soup, ramen, chowder
- Steamed or roasted vegetables
- Whole grains like rice, quinoa, farro
- Lentils, bean salads, chickpeas
It enhances any savory dish with extra nutrients and rich flavor. Use 1⁄2 to 1 teaspoon per serving.
Harness the ocean-like taste of kelp powder to make vegetarian seafood recipes like:
- Tofu fish sticks or cakes
- Lentil tuna salad sandwiches
- Walnut shrimp or scallops
- Kelp noodle salad
- Vegan crab cakes
- Clamless chowder
The briny flavor mimics real shellfish. Use up to 1 tablespoon kelp powder per recipe batch.
Smoothies and Juices
Add just a pinch (1⁄8 teaspoon) of kelp powder into:
- Green smoothies
- Fruit smoothies
- Vegetable juices
- Nut milks like almond milk
It blends in smoothly, adding extra iodine and minerals. Too much makes drinks taste fishy.
Key Takeaway: Kelp powder can season dishes, mimic seafood flavors, and boost nutrition in smoothies/juices. Use small amounts to avoid overwhelming fishiness.
Kelp Noodle Salad Recipe
Kelp noodles are a unique low-calorie, gluten-free noodle option made from sea kelp. Combined with vegetables and kelp powder dressing, this recipe makes for a nutrient-dense salad.
- 1 (12 ounce) package kelp noodles
- 1 English cucumber, julienned
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced
- 3 green onions, chopped
- 1⁄4 cup kelp powder
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon ginger, minced
- Rinse kelp noodles well under water. Cut noodles into shorter strands for easier eating.
- Whisk together dressing ingredients (kelp powder through ginger).
- Mix cucumber, bell pepper, green onions and kelp noodles together.
- Pour dressing over noodle vegetable mixture and toss well to coat evenly.
- Chill for 30 minutes and serve cold.
Adding extra kelp powder along with the noodles really punches up the salty umami seafood flavors. Cucumber, bell pepper and green onions add freshness and crunch.
DIY Kelp Powder
Kelp Powder Recipe
- Dried kelp sheets
- Blender or food processor
- Break kelp sheets into smaller pieces.
- Process in a high-speed blender or food processor until a fine powder.
- Use as you would store-bought kelp powder in recipes.
Storing Kelp Powder
To retain maximum freshness and nutritional value, store kelp powder properly:
- Keep kelp powder in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. Light, heat and air exposure causes fading.
- Glass jars or reusable food pouches work well for storage.
- Avoid plastic bags which allow more air transfer.
- Store homemade kelp powder in the freezer to prevent clumping if you live in humid environments.
- Properly stored, kelp powder keeps for 6-12 months. If color fades or it smells fishy, it has expired.
Key Takeaway: Store kelp powder in an airtight, opaque container in a cool, dark place. It keeps for up to one year when stored properly.
Health Benefits of Kelp Powder
Kelp powder offers an array of vitamins, minerals and health promoting compounds:
- Iodine - Kelp has the highest amount of bioavailable iodine in any food. Iodine supports thyroid and metabolic health. Those avoiding salt may be low.
- Antioxidants - Contains antioxidant pigments like chlorophyll (green) and fucoxanthin (brown) that fight cell damage by neutralizing free radicals.
- Fiber - High soluble and insoluble fiber aids digestion and gut health. Fiber also helps regulate cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
- Iron - Rich source of plant-based iron to prevent deficiency. Iron carries oxygen in the blood to cells.
- Minerals - Dense in magnesium, potassium, zinc, manganese and more minerals that boost bone, muscle, nerve and enzyme function.
- Vitamin K - Excellent source of fat soluble vitamin K. Required for proper blood clotting.
Enjoy kelp powder to increase overall nutrition intake in a savory, salty way!
What does kelp powder taste like?
Kelp powder has a salty, ocean-like, savory umami flavor, similar to seafood broth. When used in small amounts, it enhances other ingredients. Too much tastes quite fishy.
What dishes pair well with kelp powder?
Its salty flavor complements many Asian dishes like stir-fries, noodle dishes, curries, soups and more. Kelp powder also boosts the flavor of veggie burgers, savory oats or salads.
Can kelp powder replace salt?
Yes, you can use kelp powder to replace some salt in recipes without sacrificing flavor. Start with using half the amount of salt first. Be careful though, as kelp powder does have a fishy taste if overused.
Is kelp powder gluten-free?
Yes, kelp powder is naturally gluten-free. It makes a versatile, nutritious addition to any gluten-free diet.
Can you put too much kelp powder in recipes?
Yes, use kelp powder sparingly at first. Too much makes food taste unpleasantly fishy and overpowering rather than enhancing other flavors. Start with 1⁄4 teaspoon or less when experimenting with recipes.
Kelp powder brings the taste of the sea to plant-based dishes while boosting nutrition. Use this savory, salty seasoning to add depth and umami flavor to soups, salads, grains and more. With proper storage, homemade or store-bought kelp powder can last for months.
Enjoy kelp powder’s versatility in Asian noodle dishes, seafood substitutes, smoothies and anywhere you want extra minerals. Just remember - a little kelp powder goes a long way, so start with small amounts to avoid fishiness.