For every person who has ever said that they would go vegetarian or vegan if it wasn’t for bacon, they now have no excuse to stop eating animal products. Scientists from the Oregon State University have invented the best thing since actual bacon, vegan bacon. The researchers have created a new species of seaweed called dulse that tastes like real bacon if fried or smoked. Although other types of dulse algae are already available on the food market and can be used in numerous dishes, this new strain that can be turned into vegan bacon is known to grow faster than others and experts are looking into new ways of using it in vegan cuisine.
The new type of dulse seaweed is a species of red algae found along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and is full of nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which make it a very healthy food. When dried, the algae contains more than 16% of protein, which makes it a great meat substitute for vegans and vegetarians, as well as for meat-eaters who want to diversify their food.
Chris Langdon, a scientist at the department of fisheries and wildlife within the Oregon State University, is one of the researchers who bred the new strain of fast-growing seaweed more than 15 years ago. His initial goal was to create a new type of algae for abalone, a species of sea snails, to feed on. Langdon explained that he wanted to create a “super-food” to feed the abalone with. Abalone is a species of mollusk that is used as the main ingredient in a lot of Asian dishes. According to the scientists, the dulse algae would absorb the ammonia and carbon dioxide released by the snail and turn it into nutrients and protein; the abalone would then eat the dulse.
Langdon said he had to stop the project but continued to grow the seaweed without the abalone. Chuck Toombs, professor at Oregon State University, said he met with Langdon to learn more about his project. He really believed it had potential as a business and presented the new seaweed to the Food Innovation Center at Oregon State University.
Michael Morrissey, who is head of the food department at the university, said the new dulse seaweed could be successful because it grows very fast and could be sold at a lower price than other types of seaweed. At the moment, a pound of dulse costs about $60.
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