10 Best Seaweed Substitutes

seaweed sheet

Some Asian dishes are difficult to imagine without seaweed. This ingredient is used even plain as a snack but also in soups, stews, and the worldwide famous sushi which comes in many types.

However, you might not have seaweed in your kitchen at all times unless you reside near Asian markets. In this case, there are several options you can rely on. 

Let’s learn more about each seaweed substitute below!

Best Seaweed Substitutes 

Consider your diet but also your recipe before you choose a substitute for seaweed from the list below.

1. Rice sheets

Rice sheets

Rice paper or rice sheets are definitely the best substitutes for seaweed in all recipes that call for this ingredient. You can also find them fairly easily in stores worldwide.

They are commonly used in Thai cuisine as well as Vietnamese cuisine. All you have to do when you use rice paper is soak it in water for a few seconds before you add your favorite ingredients such as veggies, meat, and omelet and wrap them tightly.

Unlike the seaweed, rice paper has a more chewy texture that you might grow to like even more.

2. Soy sheets

Soy sheets can be used in a similar form as rice paper and they can substitute seaweed in almost all recipes. This product will have a different soy taste compared to the seaweed, therefore you can’t expect the same flavor. But it will nevertheless be delicious.

Add soy sheets in all recipes instead of seaweed and you will not regret it. Just make sure to season them properly though, because they don’t have such a rich flavor on their own. 

3. Sesame seeds

Sesame Oil

Sesame seeds can save your sushi rolls any time you lack seaweed or other alternatives. Roasted sesame seeds are that much better than raw ones and you can use them as a topping or coating on your rice rolls.

Wrap the ingredients inside your rice rolls and dip them in a generous quantity of sesame seeds in such a way that the rice is completely covered.

4. Lettuce

Romaine lettuce

Lettuce can also save you if you are lacking precious seaweed.

You can use lettuce in recipes of different wraps as it goes great with the meat. The great thing about lettuce is that you can use it without having to prep it in any form. Just wash it properly, and it’s ready to go!

It is widely available all over the world, so choose the type of lettuce that you want and enjoy it with your favorite Asian wrap recipe. Furthermore, you can use your favorite lettuce dressing to enrich the flavor of your final dish.

5. Smoked salmon

Smoked Salmon

Smoked salmon is actually a common wrapping ingredient for sushi and other rice rolls.

You will find it already sliced thin enough in stores so all you have to do is use it in your recipe instead of seaweed. The salty, smoked aroma of salmon will mix perfectly with sushi rice as well as vegetables so you can get a tasty dish even if you don’t have seaweed or nori.

6. Pickled leaves

Pickled leaves are commonly used in Asian cuisine and they come in many forms. You can use pickled cabbage or lettuce leaves of your choice and roll different meat combinations along with other veggies and sauces.

Pickled leaves also make great side dishes for soups, stews, barbecue, and steak.

7. Omelet


A thin omelet can save many of your Asian dishes that call for seaweed, including sushi. You will have to make an omelet that is thin enough to roll yet resistant enough to not break apart as you prepare it how you wish.

It is a great match for vinegar rice and other Asian ingredients and you can use it in soups, stir-fries, baked dishes, different rolls, or as a side dish by itself.

If you use omelet as a seaweed alternative in sushi or other rolls, make sure you let it cool down before adding it to your recipe.

8. Tororo kombu

Tororo kombu is not an ingredient that you will find easily. However, if you can get it, it is worth it to give it a try.

This is a processed form of kombu or kelp and it has a fluffy and somewhat soft texture. It also smells mildly like vinegar which makes it perfect for sour soups or different roles.

The best way to use this substitute is in miso soup or other noodle dishes as a topping.

9. Slices of meat

If you want a more protein-rich substitute, you can always go for slices of meat. Make sure the slices are thin enough to accommodate your rolls and season them with plenty of herbs so they have an inviting flavor.

Roast or boil your meat slices before you add them to your dish. You can use beef, pork or chicken, according to your preferences.

10. Dry ham

Dry ham

Dry ham can also be a perfect alternative for seaweed and you can use it in the same form you buy it as long as it is already sliced. If you don’t purchase sliced ham, be careful to slice it in a thin size so you can roll it easily.

You can use dry ham in soups, stews, and stir-fries and mix it with many toppings for your favorite dishes as well. Dry-cured ham also makes a great match for vinegar rice. It will provide a specific taste to your dish. 

Substitute For Seaweed In Soup

If you are preparing tasty Asian soup that calls for seaweed pieces, you can either use a thin-sliced omelet or Tororo kombu. Depending on your soup, you might be able to add dry-cured ham or slices of meat too. However, consider the rest of the ingredients as well.


What can you get in sushi instead of seaweed?

Seaweed, especially the nori type, is very common in sushi rolls. But if you don’t have seaweed at hand, you can use rice paper, soy paper, smoked salmon, lettuce, pickled leaves, or even dry ham, or thin slices of meat. In my opinion, rice paper is the best seaweed substitute for all types of sushi. It also provides the best flavor!

Final Thoughts 

As important as seaweed is in Asian cuisine of all kinds, it is not irreplaceable. Luckily, there are plenty of options you can consider if you don’t have seaweed. and you might discover that your recipes will turn out even tastier!

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