What Is Dulse and How Do You Use It?

Dulse is a seaweed or sea vegetable with a salty flavor that appeals to chefs and home cooks alike. Often consumed as a snack, its deep burgundy leaves can be fried in oil to make a crispy bacon-like substitute Tweet this or dry-roasted and crumbled to make a savory topping for salads, potatoes or popcorn.

While health claims about seaweed are sometimes overstated, dulse likely offers the same benefits as other plant foods and its nutrient profile makes it a smart choice. A one-third cup serving of dried whole leaves contains 20 calories, is a good source of potassium and iron, and is particularly rich in iodine and vitamin B6. Dulse also contains 2 grams of fiber and 2 grams of protein per serving.

Because of possible contamination with heavy metals, all sea vegetables should be consumed judiciously. Before digging in, check for small rocks or shells that may be hidden in dulse’s curly red leaves.

New to seaweed? Consider using a small amount to season foods in place of soy sauce or salt. The deep umami flavor, rich vitamin and mineral content, and long shelf life make dulse a useful and nutritious ingredient to keep in the pantry.

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Kristine Duncan, MS, RD, CDE
Kristine Duncan, MS, RD, CDE, is a dietitian and certified diabetes educator in Bellingham, Wash. Read her blog, Veg Girl RD, where she writes about diet and nutrition from a vegetarian’s point of view, and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn.