Kale with Seaweed, Sesame and Ginger

Living for a while in Japan does strange things to your food preferences. Instead of thinking, “eating seaweed? PHEW!” one gets a warm glow and a faraway look in one’s eyes thinking, “Eating seaweed? Ahhh. Yummm. Which kind do I want? Some sautéed hijiki? Crumpled nori with sesame and shoyu over rice? How about some silky wakame soup?” Many moons ago I saw some kale seaweed salad at the deli counter in Whole Foods in San Francisco and excitedly gave it a try. It was wonderful – the kale, ginger, sesame, seaweed and seasoning worked so well together. A week ago I saw the kale seaweed salad again at Whole Foods, this time in the Sacramento store and bought some. Not telling my father what was in it, other than kale, I got him to try some. “That’s great! Make some!” was his response, not caring one whit after I told him all that was in it. If my 75 year old, midwestern, meat-and-potatoes father can gobble up this dish, anyone can.

A few of points about this recipe. First, what to call it. The Whole Foods version is labeled a salad, and the kale is barely wilted. I prefer the kale a little more cooked, but then it is no longer a salad, it’s more like a side dish. So, take your pick. Second, the recipe requires a seasoning with the unappetizing name of Bragg Liquid Aminos. This is a soy sauce substitute. It is completely natural, not fermented, and contains no wheat. It can be found at almost any health food store and Whole Foods. Bragg really is delicious and after discovering it years ago I use it regularly to season veggies. If you don’t have access to Bragg you can substitute soy sauce, but cut the amount by half to start. Finally, I have no idea how Whole Foods actually makes their version. This recipe I made up myself based on the ingredients that were listed with the Whole Foods salad.

Kale with Seaweed, Sesame and Ginger Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 4.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dried arame sea vegetables (food-grade seaweed)
  • Dark sesame oil, about 2 Tbsp
  • 1 Tbsp peeled and minced ginger
  • 1 bunch kale (we used dinosaur kale for fun)
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp Bragg Liquid Aminos
  • 1 Tbsp Toasted sesame seeds

Dinosaur Kale
Dinosaur kale.

Method

1 Rinse the seaweed in water and let soak, covered in water for 5-7 minutes. Drain seaweed and place in a large bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of dark sesame oil and the minced ginger.

2 Prepare kale by soaking in water to loosen any dirt, rinsing thoroughly. Chop cross-wise into 1-inch by 2-inch pieces.

3 In a large covered skillet, uncover and heat 2 teaspoons of dark sesame oil on medium heat. Add garlic and gently sauté for one minute, until fragrant. Add the seaweed and ginger, gently cook for 1 minute. Remove seaweed/ginger/garlic from pan back to the bowl and set aside.

4 Heat 1 Tbsp sesame oil in the skillet. Add the chopped kale. Add 3 Tbsp of Braggs. Gently mix in the pan to coat the kale with the oil and Bragg. Cover; lower heat to low; let cook for 5-10 minutes or until kale is wilted - soft enough to eat easily, but not so soft as to be mushy. Remove cover and let cook a minute more to evaporate any excess moisture. Remove from heat. Mix in the kale with the seaweed ginger mixture. Add more sesame oil and Braggs to taste. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds.

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Links:

Cooking Healthy with Sea Vegetables
Bragg health products and books
All about kale from The World's Healthiest Foods

14 Comments

  1. Coralie

    Elise! I don’t wish to offend you or your beliefs at all but i really think God is working through you right now, it helps everyone in a circular way though, since you have solved a huge yeast/soy sauce dilemma with the *Bragg Liquid Aminos* i will refer even more people to your wonderful Blog. Thankyou thankyou and thankyou xX

  2. Reginae

    YES! Someone else who appreciates “Aminos”, as we refer to it at our house. We haven’t used soy sauce in years!

    Plus, I was just thinking that I wanted to start making more Asian-style greens. This recipe looks perfect. Garlic, ginger and sesame are some of my favorite flavors…

  3. Teresa

    This is one of my favorite dishes at the Whole Foods deli. Thanks for developing a recipe for the home cook. I have not used Bragg’s Liquid Aminos before, but will give it a try!

  4. Corbet

    Oh yum! I generally find kale a little too tough for my tastes (I’m a fiend for spinach and chard and the ‘wiltier’ greens). This sounds fantastic though. I luuuuuurv arame, and the texture of it and kale seem a promising match. Plus anything with a sesame/ginger/garlic/Braggs mixture *must* taste divine. :) Thanks for the recipe, shall try it soonest.

  5. Peter Duke

    Thank you for the recipe, and the Bragg’s suggestion! I have been trying to “hack” the Whole Foods kale recipe for years, and I think that may have been the key, as I usually use tamari. In my version, I wash and cut the kale, then blanch it briefly before dunking it in ice water. I then season, toss, and serve. It seems to please most guests!

  6. Neen

    I just made this dish and it was fabulous. The seaweed has a great flavor, and it’s a GREAT use of Kale (I was starting to get tired of Kale soups and Anglo-style sauteed Kale). I replaced the Bragg one-to-one with Soy Sauce, and used Wakame flakes instead of Arame (just what I had on hand). Highly recommended!

  7. goofyfoot

    I wonder what we did wrong here? The finished dish was so salty we couldn’t eat it. I added a few cups of plain water to the kale, and plan to serve it over toasted bread as a soup, sort of as Judy Rodgers does in her Zuni cookbook.

  8. Karen

    Really good! We will make this again.

    I made this last night, doubling the recipe so we could have leftovers today. It was good warm, it was good cold. It did seem saltier today when it was cold. But not the kind of thing that leaves you puffy salty. More just… hmmm… salty dish… would want to balance it with a …. kind of dish.

    Thanks for working this out!

  9. Yoko

    Thanks for all your wonderful recipes Elise – anytime I’m stuck with an ingredient this is where I go.

    This recipe reminded of how my mother make kale – with orange juice and soy sauce :) the sweetness & tartness of the juice offsets the bitterness of the kale really well (although I like bitter veggies)

  10. Catherine

    I recently read that kale and seaweed are listed among the top five most nutritious foods. I’ve been searching for recipes . . . and yours looks perfect. Thanks for helping us all get healthy!

  11. D'LO

    Wow – I had such high hopes for this dish. It was horrible and salty. I thought it would make a large amount and was disappointed when I saw the finished product. Now I’m glad it didn’t make a whole lot.

  12. kclm

    Thanks, Elise, if you’re still reading this after five years. I loved this at the Whole Foods salad bar, and your recipe is pretty much perfect. For those who find it too salty, I suggest using less Bragg Liquid Aminos.

  13. Catherine

    Where’s an inexpensive place to buy food-grade seaweed?

    I just get mine at Whole Foods. You can also try an Asian market. ~Elise

  14. Nancy Mandoky

    To compare Bragg’s to regular soy sauce (not low salt), Bragg’s contains 960 mg sodium per Tbsp; Kikkoman Soy Sauce contains 920 mg sodium per Tbsp. Bragg’s has a recipe for dilution on its bottle if you want to cut the saltiness and/or your sodium intake.

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