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What’s Kosher and Tastes Like Bacon? This Seaweed

Voilà: ‘A super-food with twice the nutritional value of kale’

Jonathan Zalman
July 17, 2015

Bacon. Fatty, cured strips of meat from the fat belly or fat back of a fat, tasty pig.

Bacon. Not kosher. At all.

But for those who keep kosher, and therefore have never tasted bacon, there may be a chance to experience the flavor of these meaty treats—and in a healthy, lawful way. (Of course there are other options, but they ain’t as healthful.)

Based upon the research of Chris Langdon and his peers at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center, a red marine algae called “dulse,” which he says has twice the nutritional value of kale, tastes distinctly like bacon when it’s cooked. Dulse has reportedly been used in Europe for centuries in a powder or flake-like form, though not as a fresh food.

“But this stuff is pretty amazing,” Langdon said in an OSU press release. “When you fry it, which I have done, it tastes like bacon, not seaweed. And it’s a pretty strong bacon flavor.”

Basically, dulse, which grows wild on the Atlantic and Pacific coastlines, is the bomb—a supremely marketable panacea for the body with a clear runway toward the kosher niche:

This strain, which looks like translucent red lettuce, is an excellent source of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants—and it contains up to 16 percent protein in dry weight.

But the fresh dulse business, in which the algae is grown and sold for human consumption, is not a mature market in the U.S., said Langdon.

Better late than never.

Jonathan Zalman is a writer and teacher based in Brooklyn.