What Is Dulse, and What Are the Benefits of Eating It?

Updated on March 4, 2018
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Sarita Harbour is the owner of An Off Grid Life, a homeschooling WAHM, and a writer living off the grid in Yellowknife, NWT.

What are dulse flakes?
What are dulse flakes? | Source

What is dulse?

Palmaria palmata, or dulse, is a red seaweed that grows wild in the cold waters of the Northwest Pacific Ocean and the North Atlantic Ocean. An edible seaweed with shades ranging from red to dark purple, dulse is characterized by its unique color and the way it grows on the face of rocks and boulders. The first recorded use of seaweeds in North America was in the early 1600's when it was offered to scurvy-ridden European sailors by the native Indians of the East Coast of Canada. Writings from approximately 600 AD tell of St. Columba and the monks of Iona eating it.

Dulse is painstakingly harvested by hand during a short summer season of June to October. Once debris (such as shells) is removed and dried in the sun, it is ready to be flaked, powdered, and shipped. Otherwise, it is simply packed and shipped.

It is commonly used as a:

  • cooking ingredient,
  • snack,
  • body scrub,
  • and medicinal treat.

The best dulse comes from Atlantic Canada and is sought after by gourmands and alternative health followers worldwide.

Dulse flakes can be used in baking.
Dulse flakes can be used in baking. | Source

Tips for Eating Dulse

Dulse can be eaten on its own or used to cook or bake a dish. It comes in a variety of states, making a versatile ingredient in your kitchen.

  • Fresh Dulse
  • Dehydrated Dulse: This can be stored easily for several months.
  • Dulse Flakes
  • Powdered Dulse: Try adding a teaspoon to a smoothie or sprinkling it over bread or pizza dough prior to baking. Stir it into teas or as an ingredient in medicinal tinctures.
  • Dulse Capsules: These are commonly found in health food stores and from alternative medicine practitioners.

Dulse tastes salty and can be sprinkled over salads, cooked potatoes, or on chowders to add flavor.

Dulse Form
Soup and stews, snack
Baking and cooking
Baking and cooking, stirred in drinks

Where to Buy Dulse

Dulse is readily available in health food stores, organic grocery stores, and alternative health practitioners or naturopaths. It's increasingly available online, where it can be purchased directly from the manufacturer.

How to Store Dulse

  • Dried/Powdered/Dulse Flakes: Store them in a container with a tight-fitting lid. Keep it in a cool, dry place such as a pantry.
  • Fresh/Cooked Dulse: This should be refrigerated and used within three days.

Learn how to use dulse with the following recipes/ideas below!

Bacon, Lettuce, and Dulse (BLD) Sandwich

Use dulse as a bacon substitute to create a healthy twist on an old favourite: the BLT, or bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich!

What You'll Need:

  • 2 slices whole-grain/multi-grain bread
  • Butter/organic mayonnaise
  • Tomato slices
  • Dark-leaf lettuce
  • Handful dulse
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil/organic grapeseed oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Lightly toast two slices of your favourite whole grain or multi-grain bread.
  2. Spread a little butter or organic mayonnaise lightly over the toast.
  3. Layer tomato slices and dark leaf lettuce onto the toast.
  4. Quickly fry the dulse in the oil. If you prefer not to fry it, crisp the dulse in a toaster oven for about seven minutes. Add it to the sandwich.
  5. Sprinkle the dulse with freshly ground black pepper, and your sandwich is done!

Serve the sandwich with a tall glass of organic milk, soy milk, or almond milk for a well-rounded meal. Enjoy a small piece of dark chocolate for dessert to celebrate your good health choices!

Organic Dulse Body Scrub

Sea vegetables such as dulse are often used in bath salts, body creams, and cosmetic exfoliants. Try the following homemade and natural body scrub recipe to exfoliate your skin and make it glow.

What You'll Need:

  • 1/4 cup organic grapeseed oil
  • 2 tsp dulse powder
  • 1 drop essential oil (lavender, rose, orange, etc)


  1. Mix all of the ingredients to form a paste.
  2. Gradually add grapeseed oil until it reaches the desired consistency.
  3. Spread the scrub over your body and gently rub it in. Once your skin is exfoliated, rinse the scrub off with warm water.
  4. Discard the unused portion.

Note: Dulse has a strong sea scent that some find unpleasant, so test this recipe prior to using it before a special evening or big event!

Palmaria palmata is also known as red seaweed.
Palmaria palmata is also known as red seaweed. | Source

Health Benefits of Dulse

Dulse is an excellent source of the following:

  • Protein: Depending on the variety, dulse can provide 16-28% of the recommended daily amount (RDA) of protein.
  • Potassium
  • Flouride: Flouride is good for teeth and bone health.
  • Zinc
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Iron
  • Beta-Carotene
  • Iodine: This regulates the thyroid gland and metabolism. It also assists with weight loss.
  • Dietary Fibre: Fiber helps reduce constipation, makes you feel fuller longer, and also helps with weight loss.
  • Chlorophyll: This helps reduce bad breath as well as bad-smelling urine or feces.
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B6: A third of a cup provides over 100 percent of the recommended daily dose of vitamin B6.
  • Vitamin B12: A third of a cup provides over 66 percent of the recommended daily amount of vitamin B12.
  • Vitamin C: Boost your immune system with a dose of vitamin C!
  • Vitamin E: Add this vitamin to your diet for better skin, hair, energy!

Warning: Pick the Location Carefully

Dulse grows wild in intertidal areas of Canada, Iceland, China, Japan, Ireland, and parts of Scandinavia. This makes it easy to pick by hand along the coast and beaches.

Use caution if you choose to pick dulse from areas near towns, cities, and industries. Dangerous waste and chemicals could be present as contaminants.

© 2011 Sarita Harbour


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    • Dusty Snoke profile image

      Dusty Snoke 6 years ago from Chattanooga, TN

      Very interesting. I might try it as a replacement for salt also. thanks for sharing

    • Avamum profile image

      Sarita Harbour 7 years ago from Yellowknife, Canada

      Hi AliciaC - yes, dulse has a salty flavour. I have heard of people sprinkling the flakes on french fries and scrambled eggs too. Thanks for stopping by!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 7 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I enjoyed reading your hub. The nutrient list was very useful. I sprinkle dulse and kelp granules and flakes on food instead of salt. They add a nice flavor and I like their nutritional benefits.

    • Avamum profile image

      Sarita Harbour 7 years ago from Yellowknife, Canada

      Gigi,it is my pleasure!

    • profile image

      Gigi Thibodeau 7 years ago

      Wow, I've eaten dulse before, but I didn't know just how useful and nutritious it is. Thanks for this informative hub!

    • Avamum profile image

      Sarita Harbour 7 years ago from Yellowknife, Canada

      Middlespecialist - I hadn't heard of dulse either until I read about it in a book about Canadian organic farmers. Glad you enjoyed the hub - I really enjoyed researching it!

    • Avamum profile image

      Sarita Harbour 7 years ago from Yellowknife, Canada

      Thanks for the comment, RTalloni. Dulse is one of the lesser known seaweeds in North America, but is slowly gaining in popularity.

    • Middlespecialist profile image

      Middlespecialist 7 years ago

      I have never hear of dulse! Will have to look for it at store. Thanks for the interesting hub!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 7 years ago from the short journey

      So glad to learn about dulse from such a well done hub. Voted up. Looking forward to one of those sandwiches made with Irish dulse.