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July 15, 2015

Researchers discover nutritional seaweed that tastes like bacon

Health Foods Nutrition
07152015_DulseSeaweed Oregon State University Extension Service/YouTube

Dulse is a succulent red algae that, when fried, apparently tastes like bacon.

Seaweed that tastes like bacon is too good to be true, right? Maybe not.

Researchers at Oregon State University have discovered a new strain of seaweed that is not only highly nutritious but tastes similar to bacon when cooked.

The succulent red marine algae called dulse grows extraordinarily quickly and is packed full of protein. Dulse grows in the wild along the Pacific and Atlantic coastlines. 

The strain is a good source of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants – and it contains up to 16 percent protein in dry weight, according to researcher Chris Langdon at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center.

“Dulse is a super-food, with twice the nutritional value of kale,” Chuck Toombs, a faculty member in OSU’s College of Business, said in a release. “And OSU had developed this variety that can be farmed, with the potential for a new industry for Oregon.”

There are no commercial operations that grow dulse for human consumption in the United States, according to Langdon, who said it has been used as a food in northern Europe for centuries. The dulse sold in U.S. health food and nutrition stores is harvested, and is a different strain from the OSU-patented variety.

“There hasn’t been a lot of interest in using it in a fresh form," Langdon said in the release. "But this stuff is pretty amazing. When you fry it, which I have done, it tastes like bacon, not seaweed. And it’s a pretty strong bacon flavor.”

Read more about how Langdon and his colleagues developed dulse in the latest version of Oregon’s Agricultural Progress.