Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Marine Botany

Ulva title imageRecipes

The Recipes

Sea Lettuce Known by the common name sea lettuce, Ulva can be eaten in salads or used in soups. Ulva is a particularly popular food in Scotland. Nutritionally, it is very healthy. U. lactuca is made of 15% protein, 50% sugar and starch, less than 1% fat, and 11% water when dried. It is useful as roughage in the human digestive system. Ulva are very high in iron, as well as high in protein, iodine, aluminum, manganese and nickel. They also contain vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin C, sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, soluble nitrogen, phosphorous, chloride, silicon, rubidium, strontium, barium, radium, cobalt, boron and trace elements.

>In World War I, Lieutenant Colonel William J. Phillipsen ate a salad of U. lactuca, Enteromorpha and Monostroma that the Japanese call aonori. He flavored it with salad cream, vinegar, lemon, pepper, onions and oil. Granted there were a lot of ingredients other than seaweeds, but he described it as wonderfully nice, slightly piquant and not inferior to the best garden salad. An eminent algologist named Savaugeaeau ate a similar salad without the condiments and describes it as leathery and waxy in taste, and in spite of a good digestion I thought I would be ill (Lee 214). If you want to try the delicate alga for yourself, here are some potentially tasty Ulva recipes.

Most Ulva is harvested from wild populations, but there are some cultivated sources as well. You can store Ulva in the fridge for 2-3 or freeze it for up to 6 months without losing the flavor. Ulva may be air-dried or pressed into thin sheets. Drying is best done in the sun, but ovens and even microwaves can do the job. Ulva should be thoroughly washed then soaked in water for a couple hours before use (somebody says wash quickly, though try for yourself to find the best way) Ulva can be toasted over a charcoal fire, broken up and addedto soups and sauces. Or it can be used as fodder or animal feed. Ulva is usually processed before eating, but can also go fresh into salads. Though not considered as much of a delicacy, Ulva is prepared and eaten the same as Porphyra. Ulva has also been used to treat burns.