Dare to try something different — Manhattan Sea Vegetable Chowder

Well, I was not in Manhattan eating chowder last week, but I did get a tasty chowder recipe at a really good conference here in Maine. It was put on by the Maine Nutrition Council and I have to say, they definitely fulfilled their mission to educate us about food. Not just what’s good for us, but also about things like food sustainability.

The keynote speaker was Dr. Miriam Nelson, who is the director of the  Sustainability Institute at the University of New Hampshire. I’ll be doing a podcast with her in the near future to talk about how we can make healthy, sustainable food choices for ourselves and for the planet.

I’ll also be collaborating with the Council on several food and nutrition posts, such as how to calculate your carbon FOODprint.

Golden brown kelp/sea vegetable

Golden brown kelp. Photo courtesy of Maine Coast Sea Vegetables

For right now, I’ve got a recipe from one of the conference sponsors: Maine Coast Sea Vegetables. What’s a sea vegetable, you might ask? Take a look at the picture. It’s kelp. Beautiful golden brown kelp drying in the sun. It’s one of thousands of varieties of seaweed or sea vegetables. Here are some others:

  • Alaria
  • Dulse
  • Laver
  • Sea lettuce
  • Irish moss
  • Rockweed
  • Bladderwrack

Just like vegetables that grow in soil, sea vegetables are low in calories and rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Learn more and get a few recipes in my blog post Easy ways to add a healthy new vegetable to your diet.

Here’s the chowder recipe, perfect for those chilly spring days we seem to be having lately. I don’t have a picture of the chowder, but I can show you what a blend of the dried sea vegetables in the recipe looks like.

Dried sea vegetables

Blend of Alaria powder, Kelp Blend granules, and Dulse flakes

Manhattan Sea Vegetable Chowder

Ingredients

  • 2 cups carrots, diced
  • 2 cups celery, diced
  • 2 cups green pepper, diced
  • 2 cups onion, diced
  • 4 tsp garlic, chopped fresh
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/8 cup Alaria powder
  • 1/8 cup Kelp Blend
  • 1/3 cup Dulse Flakes
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp ground fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp ground rosemary
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 T parsley, chopped fresh
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 4 2/3 cups crushed, no-salt-added tomatoes, including juice
  • 3 quarts vegetable stock
  • 3 1/3 cups potatoes, diced and covered with water

Instructions

  1. Sauté garlic, onions, green peppers, celery, carrots, and the dry herbs in olive oil until starting to turn tender and brown
  2. Add all remaining ingredients except potatoes in water
  3. Bring soup to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes
  4. In a separate pot, bring potatoes to a boil and cook 15 minutes. Allow soup to continue to simmer while potatoes cook
  5. Add potatoes and their cooking water to the soup and simmer for 15 minutes
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste

The beauty of this recipe (in addition to the taste) is that it allows you to ease into eating seaweed if you’re not so daring. Maine Coast Sea Vegetables general manager  Seraphina Erhart says you’re welcome to order the dried sea veggies in the recipe from their website or look for them at your local health food store.

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Diane Atwood

About Diane Atwood

For more than 20 years, Diane was the health reporter on WCSH 6. Before that, a radiation therapist at Maine Medical Center and after, Manager of Marketing/PR at Mercy Hospital. She now hosts and produces the Catching Health podcast and writes the award-winning blog Catching Health with Diane Atwood.