Shirataki noodles are becoming increasingly popular in the United States as a pasta alternative that aids weight loss. Shirataki noodles are in fact very low in carbs as well as low-calorie, and even in some forms, gluten-free.
Shirataki noodles take the appearance of translucent and jellylike Japanese noodle. Shirataki noodles come from the root of the Asian plant called konjac, also known as elephant yam or devils tongue yam. The word shirataki means “white waterfall”, words that describe the appearance of the noodles.
What Are Shiritaki Noodles?
The shirataki noodles are made up of mostly water and glucomannan. Glucomannan is a water soluble dietary fiber. The pasta alternative noodles have little to no flavor of their own, and take forms of both wet and dry noodles. The shelflife of the shirataki noodle is up to one year, however, some forms of these noodles have a shorter shelf life and must be refrigerated even before opening. Some brands of the shirataki noodles require rinsing or parboiling as the water they are packaged in has unpleasant odors.
How Do You Prepare These Pasta Alternatives?
There are different ways to prepare the shirataki noodles, making them a perfect addition to every dish. The noodles can be dry roasted, giving the noodles a more pasta like consistency. The dry roasting procedure is basically placing noodles in a nonstick skillet for one minute or until you hear the slight squeaking noise when moving them around. After they are done in the skillet you can then add them to any soup or sauce you’d like.
What Forms of Shiritaki Noodles Are Available in the United States?
There are two types of shirataki noodles sold in the US currently. The first is traditional shirataki noodles. Traditional shirataki noodles have zero carbs, no food energy, and no gluten. The other is a tofu-based shirataki noodle, that is becoming increasingly popular in the US. However the tofu-based shirataki noodle tends to have a much shorter shelf life and requires refrigeration even before opening. Tofu-based noodles contain minimal amounts of carbohydrates.
Why Are They Such Great Pasta Alternatives?
Some of the pros to the shirataki noodles is that they are the perfect food for low-calorie, low-carb, and a gluten-free diet. The shirataki noodle is made up of mostly water and fiber. Another plus to shirataki noodles is that they go great with every meal due to their lack of flavor and similar pasta texture. Some of the cons to the shirataki noodles tend to be due to their packaging. Some of the wet shirataki pre packaged noodles have unpleasant odors and must be well rinsed and boiled before eating. Another downside to the shirataki noodles as a pasta alternative is the shorter shelf life when compared to traditional boxed pasta.
What Are Other Fun Pasta Alternatives You Might Want to Try?
As great as shiritaki noodles are as pasta alternatives, they’re not the only options out there. This is great news because it opens up the opportunity to try many new things depending on the types of flavors you’d like to combine with them.
Consider some of the following pasta alternatives as you plan your meals for the next while.
Zucchini noodles are just what their name suggests: noodles made out of zucchini. You can either purchase them in your produce aisle pre-made, or you can buy the veggie and run it through a spiralizer. This makes them very convenient in both cases. Even better? They’re faster to prepare than most pastas, as they cook through very fast by simply sautéing them in a pan and topping them with sauce.
If your family isn’t a fan of zucchini or if the season has changed and it’s easier to get squash from a more local source, squash noodles are a great choice, too. You may find those pre-made in the produce section, too, or you can run them through your spiralizer. These pasta alternatives are generally made with butternut squash and taste delicious with pesto, tomato, and mushroom sage sauces, especially when you sprinkle with a bit of parmesan cheese!
Black Bean Pasta
For a truly unique look on your plate, black bean pasta will give you a great boost of protein and fiber. These dark, gluten-free past alternatives are also low in calories and sugar while giving you some calcium, too. These are delicious with vegan meatballs, in pasta salads, and when served with onions and peas. Their earthy taste goes particularly well with wintery or spicy flavors. You’ll often find these where your traditional pastas or international noodles are sold at the grocery store.