Yep. Kelp noodles.
No, they do not taste fishy. Nor do they taste salty. In fact, they don’t have a whole lot of flavor at all, which means they won’t “clash” with any other flavors in the recipe you use them in. They are completely transparent, giving them a unique, almost glassy appearance. And the texture? Although they have a bouncy, flexible movement they also have a delightful “crunch”, like al dente pasta only better! What are they made of, exactly? Three simple ingredients: Water, kelp, and sodium alginate (an extract from brown seaweed).
I buy them at my local Wegman’s grocery store, in the Asian foods aisle. The brand I use comes in a one pound, ready-to-eat package, so no cooking is necessary — however, if you do want to cook them they hold up well, no turning to mush like pasta does.
So, what do you do with them?
You can pretty much do anything you would with pasta, just be aware you won’t have the pasta flavor or pasta texture in the dish. I’ve used them in place of spaghetti complete with sauce and vegan “meat” balls, I’ve chopped them to add to soups, and I’ve used them as a bed for Asian inspired stir-fry. I haven’t tried them as a pasta substitute in a noodle-based casserole, but maybe someday I’ll get brave enough to experiment with that.
So…. why use kelp noodles in place of pasta?
- They are gluten free
- They are fat free
- They are low sodium (35mg per serving)
- They are very low carb (only 1g per serving)
- They are low calorie (6 calories per serving)
- They have 15% of your daily calcium need per serving
- They can be eaten raw if you follow a raw food diet
So go ahead, don’t be shy; pick up a package of kelp noodles and see what kinds of unique meals you can make with it!