Vegan Food Your Dad Would Love: Seaweed That Tastes Like Bacon

I’ve been over the whole bacon/cupcakes/marshmallows feeding frenzy for ages, but folks at Oregon State University have forced me to rethink my attitudes toward one of those food trends. (Hint: not cupcakes. I am always disappointed by cupcakes.)

OSU researcher Chris Langdon and his colleagues have created a new strain of dulse seaweed that grows quickly, has loads of protein, and, yes, tastes like bacon:

There are no commercial operations that grow dulse for human consumption in the United States, according to Langdon, who said it has been used as a food in northern Europe for centuries. The dulse sold in U.S. health food and nutrition stores is harvested, and is a different strain from the OSU-patented variety.

“In Europe, they add the powder to smoothies, or add flakes onto food,” Langdon said. “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.”

The vegan market alone could comprise a niche.

Of course, Langdon and his colleagues have patented the strain, which could be seen as more than a little Monsanto-y. Not so great.

Then again, funds generated by the patent could be used to support follow-up research. If they’re taking requests, I think a cheeseburger-flavored grapefruit could be a huge hit.

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