One inquisitive omnivore’s journey towards healthier and more compassionate eating…

(Click here for why I started)

(MEATLESS/VEGETARIAN AND VEGAN RECIPES) I was watching a cooking segment with celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito. He was promoting his new book The Pound A Day Diet, and two of his dishes included what he called “Miracle Noodles.”

He touted them as 100 percent fiber noodles, important to any diet because fiber has no calories and makes your metabolism work harder. I was definitely intrigued.

Tofu Shirataki Noodles are a low calorie, low carb alternative to enjoy your delicious pasta dishes. The low fat, high fiber food not only helps dieters curb their hunger pangs, but studies show they also help to lower cholesterol and control diabetes./Photo credit: Lisa Singer
Tofu Shirataki Noodles are a low calorie, low carb alternative way to enjoy your delicious pasta dishes. The low fat, high fiber food not only helps dieters curb their hunger pangs, studies also show the noodles may help to lower cholesterol and control diabetes. Photo credit: Lisa Singer

It turns out Miracle Noodles are Shirataki—traditional Japanese noodles that are thin, low carb, and made from the dietary fiber glucomannan. They’re derived from the konjac root and are said to help you lose weight, lower your cholesterol, aid your digestion, and control your diabetes. Sounds pretty good to me, but how do they taste?!

I decided to put them to the test with my own version of Rocco’s Thai Noodles with Turkey recipe. The first obvious change: ditch the turkey.

Thai Noodles with Seitan (serves three)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup no added sugar or salt peanut butter
  • 2 tsp red curry paste
  • 1/2 cup water
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • 16 oz tofu shirataki spaghetti
  • 24 oz bell pepper and onion blend
  • 8 oz seitan wheat protein strips
  • salt & crushed red pepper flakes to taste

Above are the ingredients to Rocco’s meal, sans the turkey. His recipe is geared towards quick weight loss, so it’s extremely low in carbs. It tasted good, but I wanted a little more flavor (and yes, more carbs), so I decided to tweek it a bit for myself:

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • scallions

Preparing Shirataki Noodles:

Pour the Shirataki noodles straight out of the package into a strainer and thoroughly rinse under cool water. Transfer them into a bowl and dry with a paper towel. Then microwave for two minutes and dry again.

When you first open the package of shirataki noodles, they’ll have a strong, fishy odor and slimy texture. This process helps to get rid of that and make the noodles much more enjoyable.

Directions:

Coat pan with olive oil cooking spray, add water, peanut butter, red curry paste, scallions and noodles. Saute over medium heat, stirring until the ingredients begin to combine. Add salt & red pepper and continue mixing until sauce completely coats the noodles (about 10-15 minutes). Transfer to plate.

In the same pan (rinsed) saute seitan strips with olive oil cooking spray, soy sauce and honey over medium heat. At the same time, microwave frozen bell peppers & onion mix in a bowl covered with plastic wrap, cook 3-5 minutes until tender.

Combine cooked peppers and onions with seitan, add noodle mixture and stir until completely blended. Serve immediately.

Thai Noodles w/ Seitan is a dieter's dream. The healthy and tasty vegan dish combines low calorie shirataki noodles with peppers, onions & scallions, all cooked in a sweet & savory honey-soy sauce. Yum!
Thai Noodles w/ Seitan is a dieter’s dream. The healthy and tasty vegan dish combines low calorie shirataki noodles with peppers, onions & scallions, all cooked in a sweet & savory peanut-honey-soy sauce. Yum! Photo credit: Lisa Singer

To say I was skeptical about this meal would be a HUGE understatement. Smelly noodles, and let’s face it, uncooked seitan can be a little scary-looking. But I was pleasantly surprised. My Thai noodles with seitan was a big hit!

Shirataki noodles are definitely a great way to cut your calories and still enjoy your pasta dishes. My recipe is about 250 calories per serving compared to 456 calories if made with whole wheat pasta. I guess they really are miracle noodles!

— Lisa Singer, exclusive to Global Animal

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