Now that the sun is starting to coyly tease us with its presence, it's time to think about some exciting new salads for refreshing accompaniments or meals on warmer days!
But... seaweed? Really? Yes!!! This tastes amazing!
Serves 4 (possibly a couple more as a side dish). For the whole salad for 4 people: 747 calories with avocado, 471 without. Per serving: 187 calories with avocado, 118 without.
Go on, step away from the iceberg lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes, and push the boat out. Believe it or not, the whole family loved this, including my two children (aged 9 and 11). It's healthy, tasty and packed with different textures and flavours - and if you invest in some dried wakame a little goes a very long way (see below!) and it's great in things like miso soup too (my miso soup recipe is here). Makes a great side dish to all kinds of Japanese/oriental-flavoured marinated, grilled, griddled or barbequed meat, poultry, fish or tofu etc. (think teryaki, yakitori etc.), with a side of rice or noodles.
A little bit of a fusion dish using authentic ingredients - great for dinner parties and packed with nutrients! Feel free to swap the vegetables and seeds around as you choose, omit or reduce the avocado, sesame oil and seeds if you want to save calories; you can also use dried red dulse sea seaweed in addition to wakame, and use a total of up to 60g dried for four people keeping the other ingredients the same, for a more substantial side dish, or a snack/meal in itself (you may need a little more salt to add to the seaweed after tasting). Be creative!
20g dried green wakame seaweed 
2 tablespoons rice-wine vinegar (for Paleo diets use apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice) 
2 teaspoons sugar (golden caster - or for Paleo substitute raw honey or Stevia) 
1 tbsp grated root ginger 
1 teaspoon wasabi powder 
2 teaspoons soy sauce (use tamari if cooking gluten free/Paleo, or coconut aminos) 
1 tablespoon roasted sesame oil 
Juice of 1 lime 
Sea salt, to taste
1 small carrot, peeled and sliced paper-thin (on a mandolin is easiest, you could use a vegetable peeler, or a food processor instead – lengthwise if you want impressive presentation!) 
4 red radishes, thinly sliced (approx. 50g) 
2 inches mooli/daikon, peeled and thinly sliced 
1 courgette, thinly sliced (halve lengthwise, and slice on a steep diagonal for impressive presentation) 
1 firm but ripe medium avocado, sliced 
1 teaspoon toasted white sesame seeds 
1 teaspoon toasted black sesame seeds 
3 teaspoons toasted pumpkin seeds 
4 spring onions, finely sliced 
Put the wakame in a large bowl with plenty of cold water. Let soak 5 to 10 minutes, until softened. Drain thoroughly and place in a serving bowl. It really is just 20g - this is how much it increases in volume when you soak it!
Slice your vegetables whilst the seaweed is soaking, leaving the avocado until last so it doesn’t brown.
Make the dressing - whisk together the rice vinegar, sugar, ginger, wasabi powder, soy sauce and sesame oil in a small bowl.
Spoon half of the dressing over the seaweed, add the lime juice and a little salt and toss gently. Taste for seasoning (and be surprised at how tasty it is!). Place the carrot, radish, daikon, cucumber and avocado on the outside of the plate, and put the wakame in the middle.
Drizzle the remaining dressing over the sliced vegetables, then scatter the salad with the white and black sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and green onions.
Sit back, and watch the surprise on everyone’s faces, with preconceptions of what seaweed tastes like, when they sample this delicious salad! Even my children loved this, who have never tasted wakame in this way before!
If you want to impress with your presentation, reserve a few carrot and courgette slices, wrap around your (clean!) finger (one by one) and give a quick squeeze, and it will retain a slight curl – place these on top of the other veg after scattering them all around the edge of the plate.