In this post, I am going to be talking about an alternative to spaghetti/pasta/noodles that you may or may not be familiar with already. (if you are, scroll down for the delicious recipe if you feel so inclined :D) Are you crazy about spaghetti, pasta, and noodles? Do you have a love/hate relationship because they make you feel weighed down? Or maybe you just wish you could find an alternative that is low carb almost ready to eat instantly? While something like ramen noodles prepare fast, they are usually very unhealthy. They’re super high in sodium, fat, and calories.
Have you heard about Shirataki/Yam/Konnyaku noodles? These are clear japanese noodles made from yams, and are also known as “white waterfall noodles”. They are pretty much tasteless, but the great thing is that they take on whatever flavor you season them with! You can use them in any way you would use othe rpasta noodles. In tomato sauce, in a curry sauce, in a ramen noodle soup, in a stir fry, the possibilities are endless!
The kind that I am going to specifically focus on for the recipe below are by House Foods:
“House Foods Tofu Shirataki Noodles are a healthy pasta alternative that are gluten-free, and made from non-GMO soybeans. It is made from blending the root of the Konnyaku, a member of the yam family, and tofu.”
Since they are also made up of about 97% water, they usually only contain around 20 calories per serving, or 40 calories per pouch. Despite them being mostly water, I find shirataki noodles to be quite filling. I enjoy adding a halthy serving of vegetables, with the last quarter of my meal made up of the noodles, since it they aren’t very nutrient dense. After all, I want to make sure I’m eating mostly high-nutrient foods.
I have usually found them in a plastic pouch at certain grocery stores. Sometimes they can be tricky to find, but ask someone at your store if they carry it, or if they would be willing to order some in. The pouch is filled with a liquid, which you drain out before you use the noodles. They can often be found in the Asian section of supermarkets, though some are in the refrigerated section and other types don’t need to be (unless they are opened). Shirataki noodles are already cooked, so all you need to do is drain them and give them a good rinse and marinate / season they to your heart’s content!
Different Kinds of Shirataki Noodles
You can get gluten-free yam shirataki noodles, as well as tofu-based shirataki-style pasta. Some are plain, but you can also get others that contain herbs, spices, spinach, and other flavors. You can also find fettucini-shaped shirataki noodles, angel hair, spaghetti and even rice-style shirataki.
“Do Shirataki Noodles taste exactly like regular spaghetti?”
Well, no, they do not taste exactly the same. It is more similar to spaghetti squash, or ramen noodles. If you have ever tried spaghetti squash as an alternative to spaghetti, you’ll know it is not exactly the same. The same rings true for zucchini pasta, if you use a spiralizer to make spaghetti-like noodles out of a zucchini. Some people might be put off by the change in texture, but if you don’t mind it not tasting exactly the same, you might be very happy to incorporate it into your diet. 🙂
Tips on Preparing Shirataki Noodles
I sometimes cut the noodles in half before cooking them, since they can be quite long. I find it just makes them easier to eat if I pre-cut them. Also, I make sure to really drain and rinse out the noodles and run some water over them for a few seconds. I also make sure to have the noodles quite warm, to slightly hot before serving, since I am not a fan of them if they are cold.
And again, I recommend not having these noodles make up the majority of your meal. Make a yummy stir fry full of mostly veggies, and then add in some of the noodles, but don’t eat just the noodles for dinner. You won’t be getting enough vitamins and minerals that way. They are great for spaghetti/ramen cravings though! And they usually have quite a long shelf or fridge-life, so you can always keep one or two packs in the fridge for when a craving strikes.
Where Else to Buy Shirataki Noodles
And here are a few Shirataki Recipes for good measure:
- Shirataki Fettucine Alfredo
- Shirataki Pad Thai with Scrambled Tofu
- Shirataki Tofu Noodles in Sesame Peanut Sauce
Vegan Sesame Ginger Salad Stir Fry
This recipe is by House Foods (I was asked to test and share the recipe if I liked it), although I have slightly tweaked the recipe by adding less sugar, using low sodium Liquid Aminos instead of high sodium soy sauce, and by using coconut sugar instead of regular sugar. I also ended up enjoying it best when added into a non-stick skillet or wok after all the prep was done and stir frying it dry for about 6-8 minutes. It made the noodles more like fried ramen noodles and all the flavours blended together nicely.
- 3 pkgs of House Foods Tofu Shirataki (Spaghetti Shaped)
- ½ cup green cabbage, shredded
- ½ cup red cabbage, shredded
- ½ cup carrot matchsticks
- ¼ cup mint leaves, minced
- ¼ cup cilantro, minced
- ½ cup of baby spinach
- 1 ½ tsp. sesame seeds
- 1 ½ tbsp. fresh ginger, peeled
- 2 tbsp. vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
- 2 tbsp. coconut sugar
- 2 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce (I used Bragg's Liquid Aminos)
- 2 tsp. sesame oil
- Rinse and drain tofu shirataki noodles and pat dry. You can chop the noodles into smaller pieces if you wish.
- To make the dressing, place the ginger, vinegar, sugar, soy sauce and sesame oil in a blender and blend for a few seconds. Combine the noodles with the dressing and toss several times. Set aside for at least 30 minutes for noodles to absorb the flavour.
- In a large bowl, add in the shredded cabbage, carrots, minced mint and cilantro and spinach. In a nonstick skillet or frying pan, quickly heat the marinated noodles for a few minutes and then add into the bowl. Toss and garnish with sesame seeds and serve! You can also choose to all all of the veggies and herbs into the pan too. I have been stir frying (with no oil) everything for a few minutes and I really enjoy it that way!