Friends, I have a bet for you. I will bet you a packet of your best nutritional yeast that in a few short years, what Scientific American’s David Biello calls “wrung out algae” (or algalin or the more commercial “whole algal flour”) will be not only the shelves of your local co-op but in Whole Foods. Your vegan friends will be raving about it. The New York Times will cover it, in the food section instead of the business section. It’ll be the margarine of the late 2010s.

Why am I so confident in this bet? Because apparently “whole algal flour” is a delicious substitute for butter and eggs and turns out a kick-ass vegan brioche. (It reportedly also makes a gluten-free bread that doesn’t taste dried-out, which is a bit of a miracle.)

“The ice cream and caramels are delicious, but it’s the brioche that really convinces you eating algae could be a winning idea,” Biello reports.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Biello tasted this treat on a tour of Solazyme, a company that once intended to make biofuel from algae. It’s still working on the biofuel thing, but in a bid to make actual money, it diversified. Now the company makes almost everything but biofuel from algae, including algalin and a substitute for palm oil.

The algalin looks a bit like mushed up hard-boiled egg yolks — rich and oily. But, of course, the proof is in the vegan brioche bread pudding. Wait just a few more years, and you can bring me one, along with that packet of nutritional yeast you owe me.

Reader support helps sustain our work. Donate today to keep our climate news free.