Dec 03 2014

Have You Tried Gluten-Free Shirataki Noodles?

Published by at 7:15 am under Cooking,Diet,Food,Gluten Free


Image Credit: Craig Dugas, Flickr

When it comes to gluten-free pasta, there are a lot of options out there. Corn, quinoa, barley, rice, potato, and more. While some of these products come very close to the taste and texture of wheat pasta, they also tend to offer a comparable number of calories.

If you’re willing to think outside the pasta package, however, you’re in for a real treat with tofu shirataki noodles.

What Is a Shirataki Noodle?

Shirataki is a gluten-free food, traditionally from Japan. It’s made from the konjac yam and has more of a gelatinous texture than western noodles, akin to Chinese vermicelli. Basically, the texture is kind of like a cooked mushroom.  For some people, that alone will be an instant turn-off. But stay with me if you can, because these noodles are pretty awesome.

Unbelievable Guilt- and Gluten-Free Pasta

Guess how many calories are in one serving of shirataki noodles? Zero. That’s right. There are no calories in the Miracle Noodle brand of shirataki noodles. Other varieties have just 10 calories or fewer per serving. How is that possible? Well, a shirataki noodle is made of mostly water (97%) and fiber (3%). There just isn’t much room for calories.

While shirataki noodles are pretty amazing, I actually prefer a version with a slight twist. House Foods makes tofu shirataki noodles. These babies have the same 10 calories, but add a bit more protein. Hungry Girl prefers them as well, and I’ve had great success with her recipes and ideas.

Where to Get Shirataki Noodles

It’s only recently that I discovered shirataki noodles. A friend of mine told me about tofu shirataki noodles, and I just had to try them for myself. I got mine at Sprouts Farmer’s Market, but many large chain grocery stores carry them. They’re super easy to find if you have an Asian market near you, and you can even order them on Amazon!

The tofu varieties always come in a water-filled package in the refrigerator section (often next to the tofu). Original shirataki noodles come either wet and refrigerated or dried like regular pasta.

The Taste of Gluten-Free Goodness

So what do shirataki noodles taste like? Well, nothing, actually. Like tofu, they pretty much pick up the flavor of whatever you cook them in. For quick and easy meals, I boil them up (it takes just a few minutes) and slather them in my favorite pasta sauces. Alternatively, I throw them right in the sauce to heat everything up at the same time. This also allows the shirataki noodles to absorb more flavor from the sauce. Or, check out this Hungry Girl recipe.

If you’re having trouble getting past the texture of these noodles in Italian dishes, you might want to try them with some Asian flavors instead. Many Asian noodles have a similar consistency, so your palate may be more accepting of them. I like to add them to my favorite stir-fry recipes, but you can also try them in this shrimp curry recipe or in a shirataki salad.

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