Back to the Kitchen: The Magic of Low-Calorie, Low Carb, Good for You Kelp Noodles

Print This Post Print This Post


Trade kelp noodles for pasta for a low calorie, low carb healthy choice.

Trade kelp noodles for pasta for a low calorie, low carb healthy choice.

Okay, maybe this time I have gone too far.  You ask me “Just what the heck are kelp noodles?” They are clear, thin noodles made from kelp, brownish seaweed that is notable for its high iodine content. Kelp noodles have the same look of pasta, and you can use a lot of the same preparation methods with them that you might otherwise use in noodle dishes. They taste great with pesto, cashew alfredo, raw marinara, or any other wide variety of sauces.  They are rich in minerals, low calorie  and low carb (6 calories and 1 carb per 4 oz), gluten and wheat free. It is said that kelp noodles offer a wide range of health benefits, partly due to their iodine content — which is  said to improve thyroid health, help protect against osteoporosis, promote weight loss and enhance heart health.   I particularly love  Green Tea Kelp Noodles. Not only do you get a great noodle that’s raw, gluten-free, rice-free, and full of trace minerals, you also get the added benefits of the powerful anti-oxidants found in green tea.  Kelp noodles are a bit crunchy. It’s best to soak them in hot water for about 30 minutes before making the recipes.  The noodles are good with a crunch, but they do often soften when sauces are added.  They do not have their own taste, but rather pick up the tasted of sauces and seasonings.

I also recently discovered  another pasta substitute called sea spaghetti which is another seaweed wonder. It grows in the natural seaweed fields of Brittany and can be interchanged in these recipes. Keep an eye out for a future column after I have a chance to play with it and share more recipes and information.

Kelp noodles and sea spaghetti come in packages and since they are raw you just open and eat or add to your favorite recipe! Mostly they are fun and easy to work with and just plain delicious.  Look for them at Whole Foods Market.

Asian Kelp Noodles

2 12 oz. packages kelp noodles

1 small red bell pepper, julienned

1 small green pepper, julienned

2 carrots, julienned

3 scallions, julienned

For the sauce:

6 tablespoons almond butter

2 teaspoon miso paste

2 tablespoon sesame oil

1 inch chunk of fresh ginger, grated

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup water

Combine carrots, peppers, scallions and kelp noodles in a bowl. Reserve a little of the veggies for garnish. Set aside. In a blender or food processor, combine all of the sauce ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour the sauce over the noodle and vegetable mixture, and toss until the sauce is evenly distributed. Garnish with extra veggies and serve. Serves 4.

Kelp and Cashews

2 12 oz. packages kelp noodles

2 cup cashew nuts, with enough water to puree in a blender

3 cloves of garlic

Fresh squeezed lemon juice

Fresh ground black pepper

2 tablespoons fresh parsley

Pinch of sea salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

Place kelp noodles into a sieve. Rinse. Set sieve into a bowl of hot water and let the noodles sit while you prepare the sauce. In a blender process the cashews in enough water to allow it to pulse easily. Blend it so that it is somewhat thin. Once the nuts are in small pieces switch the setting to a high speed and allow it to run for one minute. Add the garlic lemon juice, pepper, parsley and sea salt to the sauce and pulse again a few times until it is all incorporated. Drain the noodles and toss with olive oil. Serve with the sauce poured over the noodles. Serves 4

Raw Pad Thai

1 12 ounce package Kelp Noodles or Green Tea Kelp Noodles

2 cups mustard greens

2 cups arugula

10 basil leaves, chopped

½ cup raw peanuts

½ cup green onions

Place the kelp noodles in a work bowl and toss with the sauce. Toss the arugula and mustard greens together on a large serving plate. Pour the dressed noodles over the greens and garnish with basil, peanuts and green onions. Serves 2 and can easily be doubled.

For the sauce:

4 tablespoons raw peanut butter

1/3 cup coconut oil

1-tablespoon nania shoyu (Soy Sauce)

1/3 cup of coriander seeds

2 whole thai chili pepper (red)

Juice and zest of 1 medium lemon

½ cup of water

Blend all ingredients in food processor until completely mixed.

Quick Chicken and Kelp Noodle Soup

3 teaspoons olive oil

1 cup sliced carrots

2 cups kale

2 cups cooked shredded chicken

6 cups chicken stock

1 12 oz. package  kelp noodles

Salt and pepper

Heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat, Sauté carrots in olive oil for 2 minutes to soften Add kale to the carrots and continue to sauté for 1 minute Add shredded chicken and chicken stock to the pot. Continue to cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring often. In the mean time, rinse the kelp noodles under cool water. Add the kelp noodles to the pot cook for an additional 4 minutes or until the noodles start to soft. Season with salt and pepper. Serve while hot. Serves 4.

Kelp Noodles and Mango in a Cilantro and Kale Pesto

2 12 oz. packages kelp noodles

2 cups of cilantro pesto (recipe follows)

2 mangos, sliced

2 cups cucumber, sliced and quartered

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

Mix together and serve. Serves 4.

Cilantro Pesto

1 cup packed cilantro

1 cup kale

1/4-cup olive oil

2 tablespoons pine nuts or 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts

1/4-cup Parmesan cheese

3 cloves garlic, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

In food processor or blender, whirl cilantro, kale, oil and nuts until smooth; transfer to large bowl. Stir in Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt and pepper; toss to coat.

Strawberries, Kelp and Cream

2 cups strawberries — thinly sliced

2/3-cup dark brown sugar – divided

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cup almond milk

1 12 oz package  kelp noodles

8 tablespoons toasted almonds, chopped

In a small bowl, gently toss the sliced berries and 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Cover and set aside. In a medium saucepan, mix the almond milk, vanilla and the rest of the sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Lower the heat and simmer until the sugar has dissolved, almond milk has turned light brown and mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat.  Rinse the Kelp noodles and drain them well. Add kelp noodles to the sauce mixture and toss until coated. Before serving, spoon the berries with their juice over the noodles and sprinkle with the chopped nuts. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Gwen Kenneally is the owner of Back to the Kitchen, Full Service Catering and Party Planning. She is the co-founder and master baker at Magpie Gourmet Mini Pies.  Check out her websites and  Her Sweet and Savory Cookbook is available through AMAZON 



About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.