HIJIKI + QUINOA SALAD
If you are a fan of seaweed salad but have never tried hijiki, I encourage you to pick up a bag at your local grocer (or order offline). Hijiki is in short a sea vegetable grown in parts of Asia like Japan, China, and Korea. Dark brown in color in its ready-to-eat stage, hijiki is a pretty popular food staple in the Japanese culture. Rich in minerals and fiber, hijiki also contains more calcium than any other sea vegetable.
For those of you who have just googled hijiki out of curiosity, let me quickly address the elephant in the room. There have been concerns from several government food safety agents claiming that tests indicate higher levels of inorganic arsenic in hijiki compared to other sea vegetables. Their mission is to discourage consumers from eating hijiki, period. While we cannot discount scientific research, it is important to note that hijiki is a great source of alginate; a polysaccharide that aids in removing toxic metals from our bodies. Thinking long term – for those concerned – hijiki is more likely to remove toxins than add them. Also, despite these claims, no arsenic-related illnesses (such as anemia and liver damage) have become prevalent in long-term consumers of hijiki to date.
I am still a fan. If you are feeling discouraged, I suggest the following: Soak the hijiki in water and after you drain it, rinse it thoroughly with water. Squeeze ALL of the excess water out. Consume hijiki in small amounts and always buy this sea vegetable from a reputable seller.
- Hijiki (1/2 cup)
- Zucchini (1)
- Tomato (1)
- Green Peas (1 cup)
- Scallions (2)
- Yuzu Juice (2 tbsp)
- Miso Paste (1.5 tbsp)
- Sake (1 tbsp)
- Honey or Brown Rice Syrup (1 tbsp)
- Soy Sauce (1 tsp)
- Sesame Seeds (1 tbsp)
- Quinoa (1 cup)
- Salt + Pepper
- Soak the hijiki in a bowl of water for a good 20 minutes.
- Cook the quinoa according to package instructions.
- Quarter the zucchini and slice up thinly. Place in a large salad bowl.
- Chop up a tomato and add to the zucchini slices.
- Add oil and yuzu juice to the salad bowl. Toss zucchini slices and tomatoes together. Season with a little salt + pepper.
- Add the pre-cooked (frozen is fine) green peas. Toss with the zucchini and tomatoes.
- Finely dice up the green parts of your scallions and add to the bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the miso paste, honey or brown rice syrup, sake, and soy sauce. Set aside.
- Drain and re-rinse the hijiki. Squeeze all of the excess water out of the hijiki and transfer it directly to the salad bowl.
- Also add to the salad bowl the cooked quinoa. Toss everything together until completely combined.
- To finish off, toss in the sesame seeds and pour in the sauce you whisked together. Again, mix everything well and season with a final bit of salt + pepper as necessary.