Dulse, The Seaweed That Tastes Like Bacon (Theoretically), Could Be A Miracle For Vegetarians Everywhere

Modern technology may be amazing, but if here's one thing my carnivore-turned-vegetarian friends miss, it's bacon. In a world full of nondairy yogurt, gluten-free beer, and vegetarian corn dogs, a meatless mimicry of everyone's favorite delicious, salty breakfast food has somehow eluded us — that is, until the advent of dulse, the seaweed that tastes like bacon.

Although nothing can come close to the taste of actual, cured pork, researchers at Oregon State University (of course) are doing their darndest to try. Also known as sea lettuce, dulse has been for sale in powder form as a nutritional supplement for a few years, according to Time; it's only recently, however, that anyone has tried to sell it in its original condition. "There hasn’t been a lot of interest in using it in a fresh form. But this stuff is pretty amazing," researcher Chris Langdon said, according to the Independent. The key is to fry it, which apparently magically transforms the flavor into... you guessed it. Bacon. Delicious, delicious bacon. Vegans, you may commence the festivities at any time.

As if that wasn't enough incentive to buy dulse by the truckload, researchers also claim that it out-supers the king of superfoods, kale.

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Are you freaking out? I'm freaking out. According to Time, researchers say that dulse has "twice the nutritional value of kale," giving it the potential to be the Next Big Thing. As a result, the Oregon Department of Agriculture has awarded researchers a grant to investigate its role as a "special crop," and they're also working with several chefs to see if it works as a main-course dish. If it's as close to bacon as they're making it sound, I will probably eat it as a main course, appetizer, and possibly — nay, probably

— dessert.

Unfortunately, science is a slow process at the best of times, so you probably won't be making dulse smoothies anytime soon. In the meantime, you can content yourself with these meat-ish alternatives:

1. Cauliflower

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Cauliflower may be a vegetable, but it can pull double duty. Vegetarian bloggers across the Internet swear by its ability to substitute for ground beef in many recipes.

2. Tempeh

Tofu's lesser-known sibling, tempeh, is also made from soy beans and, as a bonus, 15 percent more pretentiousness.

3. Eggplant

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Thanks to its texture, eggplant has been used as a meat alternative for centuries.

4. Seitan

If tempeh is tofu's lesser-known sibling, seitan is their long-lost second cousin, twice removed. Made from wheat protein, seitan has historically been popular in China, Russia, and southeast Asia.

5. Mushrooms

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Portabellos are incredibly popular as a meat substitute, although some say you can use any kind of mushroom you have on hand.

6. Jackfruit

Naturally found in India, jackfruit has been heralded as a "miracle crop" for its ability to replace other, less hardy crops in the face of climate change. For vegetarians, it's a miracle for its ability to replace shredded meat in pretty much any dish.

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