Scientists Say New Seaweed Tastes Like Bacon

Posted on July 18, 2015

OSU dulse strain tastes like bacon

Researchers at Oregon State University have created and patented a new strain of seaweed they say taste like bacon. The seaweed is a strain of red marine algae called dulse. Dulse (Palmaria mollis) grows in the wild along the Pacific and Atlantic coastlines.

Chris Langdon and colleagues at OSU's Hatfield Marine Science Center have developed the new strain. It is own Langdon has been growing for 15 years. The researchers began developing strains of dulse when they were looking to create a super-food for abalone. The dulse strain resembles red lettuce. When it is fried up it tastes like bacon.

Langdon says in a release, "In Europe, they add the powder to smoothies, or add flakes onto food. There hasn't been a lot of interest in using it in a fresh form. 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."

Langdon says he has two large tanks where he can grow 20 to 30 pounds of dulse per week. He plans to increase the production to 100 pounds per week. Langdon says the seaweed is an excellent source of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. He says it contains up to 16% protein in dry weight.

Chuck Toombs, a faculty member in OSU's College of Business, has started working with Langdon's team to develop new foods with dulse. Some of the most promising foods so far include a rice cracker and a salad dressing. Several chefs in the Portland area are also testing dulse. The photograph below shows dulse prepared in a dish created by Jason Ball, a research chef at the Food Innovation Center, Portland. An article here has more details on the development of food products using the new dulse strain.

Dulse seaweed dish

Photos: Stephen Ward, OSU Extension and Experiment Station Communications