Use kombu (kelp) to make vegetarian dashi, an umami rich broth. Kombu contains glutamic acids, making it rich in umami flavour.
Kombu can also be used when cooking beans to make them more digestible. Kombu contains enzymes that help break down oligosaccharides in beans - the component in beans responsible for causing gas. Add a piece of kombu to the pot when cooking beans to tenderize them.