If you’re a pasta lover, shirataki noodles seem to be a dream come true. They’ve been available at natural food stores and well-stocked supermarkets for a while now. I first saw them available in spaghetti and fettuccine shapes, but I’ve noticed other types showing up now.
Unlike regular pasta, shirataki noodles aren’t dried. You’ll generally find them near the tofu, packed in water-filled bags.
The pasta is made from konjac and a few other natural ingredients. Konjac is an Asian plant that also goes by the name elephant yam (although it’s not related to yams at all) and devil’s tongue.
Because they aren’t made from regular wheat flour, shirataki noodles are an excellent gluten free option for pasta. But it gets even better: they’re also remarkably low in calories and carbohydrates. How do they compare to regular pasta? You might be surprised!
The typical serving of regular pasta is 2 ounces, which is about 1 cup cooked. This tends to come in at 210 calories and 43g carbohydrates. Nasoya Pasta Zero Plus All Natural Shirataki Spaghetti has a serving as half the package, about 2/3 cup. That has only 20 calories and 4g carbohydrates!
But is it a suitable substitute for wheat pasta? How does it taste? I purchased a package to find out.
This pasta isn’t prepared the same way as regular pasta. You actually drain and rinse it, then heat it to absorb the excess moisture. I added mine to a dry skillet to accomplish that.
Then I covered it with my Quick Weeknight Pasta Sauce and heated it through to serve.
It does have a different texture. It has more mouthfeel than regular pasta. The flavor is stronger, not quite as neutral and it doesn’t cut and tear quite the same way. In fact, it’s tougher and won’t be quite as tender as pasta cooked al dente is.
It’s different for sure, but then again it’s no different than fake meat was the first time I tried them. It’s just a matter of acclimating to it and learning to appreciate it for what it is. I could certainly get used to it, especially considering how much lower in calories and carbohydrates it is.
I wouldn’t call the entire bag 2 portions. It’s more like a serving and a half, but you could fill out dinner with a big salad and maybe a roll or slice of bread and it could be enough.
Will I have it again? Absolutely. It is more expensive than regular pasta, though. It won’t be taking the place of that for me anytime soon, but I’ll enjoy it occasionally.
If you happen to see shirataki noodles at the store I hope you’ll pick a bag up and give it a try.