Recently I have been completely obsessed with shirataki noodles because they satisfy pasta cravings with none of the guilt. Shirataki noodles are made from the konjac yam, which contains a water-soluble fiber called glucomannan. Though they have been available in Asian markets for a long time, they are gaining popularity among people who must adhere to low carbohydrate diets. The folks at Quest Nutrition also made a brilliant move and came up with their own brand of shirataki noodles, so now people in the fitness industry are aware of these great pasta alternatives.
There are two different types of shirataki noodles available, both of which I enjoy. Straight shirataki noodles have zero net carbohydrates and no gluten, whereas tofu shirataki noodles have a small amount of net carbs and a less slippery texture. Both forms are package in water and must be rinsed before cooking, as the water they are packaged in has an odd, ocean-like odor. The noodles are very slippery (less so for the tofu type) and really don’t have any flavor of their own, so you must add some type of sauce of liquid seasoning to make them palatable. However, these noodles act like sponges and do a great job of absorbing flavors which are added to them during cooking. The high fiber content in shirataki noodles imparts a sense of fullness and slows digestion, making these noodles lifesavers when it comes to curbing cravings.
Shirataki noodles are a bit expensive, so I try to ration out my supply. However, get actual cravings for them and enjoy putting a meal together. My favorite prep method is very simple: I heat up the noodles for a minute, then I add sesame oil, soy sauce, white pepper, ginger, vegetables and chicken or shrimp for a delicious Asian style meal which fills me up.
Here are the most popular brands available:
When I heard about the new pasta from Quest Nutrition, I became quite excited because I love everything this company comes out with. It took me a while to get my hands on a package of these guilt-free noodles, but I finally did a couple of months ago.
I was given the spinach fettucine variety, which contains 20 calories per serving (2 servings in a bag). The noodles are very low carb and gluten free, comprised of 100% soluble fiber from the Konjac root, which is also known as glucomannan. I kept waiting for a time when I would finally feel compelled to try it, and that time coincided with a day in which I was constantly ravenous. I walked into the kitchen and figured that consuming Quest noodles would be an excellent way to fill me up and would also give me an opportunity to finally try them.
I hadn’t heard about the odor imparted by the alkaline water that is used to pack the noodles in, so I was a bit alarmed when I opened the package and was assaulted by a strong, SALTY (weird how it actually smelled salty!), ocean smell, kind of like strong seaweed. I thought maybe the noodles had already gone bad! My cream Burmese Kazu, who by the way is a FREAK for seaweed, jogged into the kitchen to investigate and was convinced that I had opened a package of seaweed, so we did a little dance in which she kept jumping on the counter and I kept removing her from it. Once I rinsed the noodles, the smell went away and so did my little seaweed fanatic.
The noodles are very slippery, and have a chewy, slightly rubbery consistency when you eat them, but they hold sauces very well, and they cook up lightning fast. A minute in the microwave does the trick. I added shredded chicken breast, fresh garlic, black pepper, onions and 2 tablespoons of spaghetti sauce and was very happy with the outcome. I honestly tried to restrain myself and have one serving, but these noodles are so guilt free that I had 2 servings and was satisfied for over two hours. After trying these noodles, I think I might have to keep a supply on hand for those times when I am starving and need to throw some food bulk into a meal. Thank goodness for Quest Pastabilities!
You can order direct from Quest Nutrition: