If you’re on a gluten-free or low carb diet and you’ve never had kelp noodles, get yourself to a Whole Foods or natural foods store and buy some NOW. These noodles can be eaten raw (for a crunchier texture) or you can cook them with your favorite sauce for a smoother, softer texture. They have zero fat and zero net carbs (1g total carbs – 1g dietary fiber), plus they have a ton of minerals including iodine, salt, iron, potassium, phosphorus and calcium. Kelp (i.e. seaweed) is known to help with thyroid gland regulation and therefore metabolism and energy levels. They are also known to have anti-inflammatory and cancer prevention qualities.
Kelp has been a mainstay on Asian plates for a while, but is now becoming more and more popular in the west given its nutritional qualities. They type that I used for these noodles has no flavor on its own so it assumes the flavor of whatever sauce you pair with it. Not bad for a naturally gluten-free pasta replacement!
This past weekend I was feeling adventurous and decided to make spaghetti with kelp noodles. You can also make these with Miracle Noodles, which are made out roots of the elephant yam, also known as konjac. I had some premium grass-fed ground beef from my local sandwich shop and was deciding between using it in an Italian-style ragu sauce and an Asian-style miso sauce. In the end, the Italian style red sauce won out – it seemed like a better pairing with the ground beef. Next time I’ll try a miso-mirin-sesame oil sauce paired with julienned veggies or fish.
The result of the spaghetti was delicious and we felt satisfied but light afterwards. We sprinkled some grated parmesan on top for an extra garnish, but without the parmesan, this dish is naturally dairy-free. Here’s what I did:
1) Sauteed 3/4 lb of grass-feed ground beef with gluten-free tamari, pepper, and thyme
2) Added to the beef half a jar of pre-made gluten-free tomato sauce and added a few drops of harissa, one bay leaf, and a few pinches of thyme and oregano, salt & pepper to taste
3) Added 1 cup of chopped asparagus
4) On low-medium heat, added the kelp noodles. Since they were bunched together in the package, I let them heat up in the sauce for 5 minutes before starting to separate them with tongs and fold them into the sauce
5) Topped with grated parmesan. You can also use some vegan mozzarella (we like Daiya) if you prefer a cheese alternative
This ended up being a simple and healthy dinner that I would definitely do again. I’m looking forward to experimenting with different sauces and ingredients next time and seeing what other healthy creations we can come up with!