Have you heard of the Bacon of the Sea?

2021-08-11

 |  Biodiversity/Conservation

Eaten in North-Western Europe for over one thousand years, dulse is a form of red algae commonly found off the northern coasts of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Part of the seaweed family, dulse is packed with nutrients including fibre, protein, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and many more. In fact, dulse has twice the nutritional value of kale! In recent years, dulse has become known to taste like bacon when fried! Other than it’s bacon tasting properties, dulse can be used in many dishes— from salads and sandwiches to soups and baked breads.

Although dulse carries a history so long ancient Celtic warriors ate it before battle, further innovation was made when scientists at the Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center engineered and patented a new strain of the algae that can be grown at faster rates and larger quantities. The dulse have been growing at fast rates in their circulating aquaculture tanks, seen in the images below. Despite the fact they were originally designed to feed abalone, faculty members of OSU’s College of Business saw further potential and explored possibilities of this new dulse becoming part of a human diet. A product development team at the university’s Food Innovation Center in Portland has been testing dulse as a key ingredient in various foods, including dulse-based rice crackers and salad dressing. 

Dulse seaweed growing in their tanks at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center, Source: Left, Right

Learn more about Dulse at the OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center: 

AQUACULTURE AND THE LANGDON LAB

OSU researchers discover the unicorn – seaweed that tastes like bacon!

How do you cook Dulse as a Bacon Substitute? 

First, heat up a skillet to medium heat and after using a little oil to first grease the pan, add small pieces of dulse. Fry until the pieces are nice and crisp. Eat alone as dulse chips, or add them to your salads or sandwiches as a bacon substitute. 

Adding Dulse into Your Own Diet

An easier way to incorporate dulse into your everyday diet: Powdered forms can be added to smoothies, and flakes can be used as toppings for your meals on a daily basis. Dulse, and seaweed for that matter, is versatile and can be added into any diet. 

Dulse can be used for…

Sandwiches, Salads, Savoury Baked Goods, Soups, Stews, Chowders, Dressing, Pesto, Slaw, Tartare, Tapenade, etc. 

Ingredients to compliment Dulse include…

Eggs, White Fish, Dairy Products, Starchy vegetables, Onions, Grains, Capers, etc. 

Image Source: Dulse seaweed seafood salad, Oregon Department of Agriculture 

BLT to DLT

A common sandwich on the menu is the BLT, with bacon, lettuce, and tomato. With dulse, you can create a DLT (Dulse, lettuce, tomato), keeping the classic bacon flavour, but adding health benefits and making the meal vegan friendly.

Where can one buy Dulse?

You can find dulse in many forms from powdered to dried whole leaf or flake forms and even as a seasoning. Most dulse is easiest to find online, but you can also find them in local stores, depending on where you are. A good place to start your search is Whole Foods. A few online stores that sell dulse include Amazon.ca, Organic Matters, Seafoodonline.ca, and Healthy Planet Canada. Prices range depending on the form, dried whole leaf dulse is typically the most expensive.

For more information on the benefits of seaweeds, read Seaweeds: Were they the key all along?