Sunday, January 6, 2013

Pantry Staple - Kelp Noodles

This is going to be an abbreviated post since I like to spend the weekends with Dan whenever I can but I wanted to give you something to consider. 

Have you ever tried kelp noodles?  I purchased a different brand about a year ago and wasn’t crazy about them. However I thought I would try this brand and see if changing the producer made a difference and it did.  *woo hoo* For those of us who love pasta but not the calories associated with regular pasta consumption these are a good substitute.

How many calories are in kelp noodles?

This is the crazy part of this product in my opinion.  One pound of kelp noodles has 18 calories. No, that isn’t a misprint or a typo there is a total of 18 calories in an entire pound of kelp noodles.  Compare that to a pound of whole wheat pasta which has 1,600 calories.  You can see how swapping out just a few servings of pasta for kelp noodles can make an impact in your total calorie consumption right? 

Remember it only takes an extra 100 calories per day to add up to an extra 10 pounds on you at the end of the year.  Here is how the math works:  100 calories per day times 365 days in a year equals 36,500 additional calories in a year. Divide the 36,500 by 3,500 for the calories in a pound and you have 10.4 pounds of extra weight in one year from eating just 100 extra calories per day.  *sigh*  This is why it is so easy to gain weight.  However knowledge is power so now that you know that even small decisions matter you can make better choices.  Love that!  J

What are kelp noodles made of?

Here is the ingredient list. Don’t freak out at sodium alginate that is just a type of seaweed.   I love that these don’t include any preservatives. 

How do you prepare them?

The directions say to use them uncooked but I have found that they are much better if you cook them for a few minutes in boiling water. What I do is get a big pot of water ready for pasta for Dan.  I cook his pasta first and then I give my kelp noodles a quick dunk in the pot, maybe two to three minutes.  All you need to do is check them after two minutes to see if they have softened and remove them when they have.  Just be careful not to cook them too long. I think they would turn to mush.   The short cook softens them just a little and then they are more like traditional pasta. 

I use them exactly as I would whole wheat pasta.  Most often they get red sauce and lightly steamed veggies.  However I have also made them into “peanut noodles” and that worked well too.

Here they are last night topped with red sauce to which I added artichokes and rehydrated dried shitakes. I topped this with a few pine nuts for texture and to help me absorb the fat-soluble vitamins in the veggies.

Since my hubby needs the calories he had his red sauce with whole wheat pasta and extra pine nuts.

What do they taste like?

Kelp noodles don’t actually taste like much of anything.  They are extremely bland but then again so is white flour pasta.  The taste isn’t strong enough to be offensive if you know what I mean.

However the texture is a bit different from traditional pasta. Please don’t think that these are just like eating pasta because they aren’t.  However they mimic the shape and resemble the texture.  I thought this would be a good alternative for those of you who don’t have a turning slicer (spiralizing tool).  If you are on the fence between buying a spiralizing tool of ordering these I would go with the tool.  Even though I have one I still buy these for variety.  I tend to use them more in the winter when the warm weather squash isn’t looking so good.

Where can you get them?

I have found these locally at Wegman’s in Hunt Valley.  However the easiest option is to put a 5 pack (or it may be 6) on auto-ship from Amazon which is what I did.  The UPS man brings me kelp noodles every month with my other auto-ship items.  Amazon is great for pantry items which aren’t common.

Happy thoughts:
  1. We have to start with the weekend is here. *woo hoo*  There isn’t much I love more than the weekend with my husband.  J  Sadly Dan told me late Friday that he had to go into the office Saturday for a little while to finish up a project.  *boo hiss*  But that will give me a little time to get things done at home. Somehow I am always running behind which makes me a bit nervous.
  2. Considering it is January the weather is actually not too bad.  Heck by mid week we are back in the mid 50s. You certainly can’t complain about temperatures like that.  I will say it was 38 degrees Saturday morning which was a bit chilly.  I am looking forward to those mid 50s coming up in a few days.
  3. Dan is strongly encouraging me to apply to PCRM (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine) for the upcoming Food for Life InstructorTraining.  Given how much I love to cook healthy vegan food he thinks this would be the perfect thing for me to do. If any of have any thoughts on this I would love for hear them.  I am on the fence now but leaning toward doing it if there is enough interest here. What do you think, should I just do it and add cooking classes to my schedule?
  4. I ordered 5 pounds of organic popcorn from Amazon and it arrived on Friday.  *happy dance*  I know what I will be snacking on this weekend.  Bring on the air popped corn with nutritional yeast, paprika, garlic powder and black pepper.  *woo hoo*  LOL I am so easily pleased aren’t’ I?  ;-)  Every since Regan (my dental hygienist) said I could have popcorn again I have been eating it often. 
  5. A week or so ago I ordered a surprise for Dan and it arrived today.   I can’t wait to give him the present.  Thank goodness Christmas is over. Waiting to give presents is torture for me.
  6. Speaking of presents we gave one of our friends a juicer like ours (the Omega 8006) for Christmas and I am happy to report the juicer is out of the box and has been used.  My friend has been texting me photos.  J  This same friend has also now used his Vitamix to make a green smoothie and strawberry banana sorbet with added spinach. Don’t you just love when your healthy habits rub off on your friends?  I really couldn’t be happier about this one.  Love you buddy (you know who you are)!  J

Question for you:

A friend of mine (waves hi to Matt) suggested that I consider adding a section to the blog (or a series of posts) about healthy veganism for beginners. I realize that many of you have been reading me for a while and that may or may not work for you.  However I was thinking that if I wrote a series like that you could forward it to your friends who are starting to think about nutrition and their health.  I think we all agree that this lifestyle is the way to go in terms of health improvement and that if we can get more people interested that is a good thing right?  What do you think do you like the idea of a series geared to beginners?  Is this something that I should work on?  My goal for the blog is to show people that this lifestyle is easily achievable and would love to reach people who aren’t there yet.  Please share any ideas you have for reaching more people.  I am all ears … well not literally that would be weird.  LOL

Signing off:

I wrote this post on Friday and Saturday and scheduled it to post at midnight between Saturday and Sunday.  Since I knew I would be busy I was concerned if I didn’t do this early it wouldn’t happen.

One more post to go and I will make it through a week of posting.   *woo hoo*  J  Can  you tell that I am proud of myself?  I actually don’t know how I made this happen but I did and that proves that I can keep doing it which makes me happy.

I hope your weekend is terrific.  If you are doing anything fun I would love to hear about it.  I will be sharing our trip to DC for Shakespeare with you soon.  I am hoping they will allow photos without a flash. The last time I was there they didn’t allow photos so this could be a problem. However I am a good sneak so we will see if I can manage a shot or two.  I will definitely try.


  1. Wow, those kelp noodles are amazing! I'm going to pass that tip along to my pasta-loving friends and might even try some myself. I use Amazon subscribe & save for muesli and flax seeds, for which it works quite well.

    Thanks for mentioning your juicer, as I'm getting close to buying a new one. The reviews on it are great! Your friend must be thrilled. Any tips on where I should buy it?

    A series on healthy veganism for beginners would be great. Getting people to make small steps in the right direction is so important, and so gratifying if we can get through to them! Thanks for all you do in this regard. I sure wish I lived closer...would love to meet and chat with you.

    I have to ask, what did you buy Dan? (You don't need to answer) -- enjoy the rest of your weekend.

    1. Laura,

      I know Amazon subscribe and save is great. A big box shows up here with kelp noodles, nutritional yeast, flax seeds, and tea. I am sure there is other stuff that has slipped my mind. It is just too convenient. LOL

      I bought our juicer from Cool Shiny Stuff (on line). You should look for sales. I heard the Macy's had it for $100 off just before Christmas. You may find someone else running a sale this time of year.

      Thanks for weighing in on healthy veganism for beginners. When Matt mentioned it I thought it was a good idea but wasn't sure what everyone who was already vegan would think of the idea. Glad to know you agree. :-) I agree getting people to make small shifts is gratifying. You should see how excited I am when they make big leaps. I am such a big kid. Let me know if you are ever in the area.

      Dan and I bought each other a lot of stuff this year. I should write about some of it. Dan also got two pair of Vibrams, books, a Dali dripping clock, tea stuff, music CDs, concert tickets, and I will need to remember what else. Sorry for my delay in replying we left before 10a for DC and just got home. I am exhausted.

      Hope you weekend was good,

  2. I think it's a brilliant idea to "speak" to new or wannabe vegans - it's a scary step to take, even in this enlightened age, and any tips you could give would, I'm sure, be welcomed:) the kelp noodles sound very interesting:)

    1. Christine,

      Thanks for letting me know that you agree with a series geared to new or wannabe vegans. It is a scary step for them to take. I remember how confused I was when we first went vegan. Trying to be vegan in a non-vegan world can be both daunting and confusing. There is so much bad nutrition information out there people have no idea what to believe. It is very sad.

      I have embraced the kelp noodles but they were a tough sell for me. Being part Italian this was easy for me. However now that I have been through more than half a dozen bags myself I can safely say they have a permanent place in my pantry.

      Sorry for my delay in replying. We were out of the house all day. Hope you had a great weekend.


  3. waiting to give presents is hard for me too, im constantly giving hints that nobody asks for. how come some people are so patient? what is wrong with them...:)

    i think these noodles are at my health store, i will get them if its the same!

    1. Hey Michelle!

      Happy New Year girlfriend! I have missed you. :-)

      I have no idea how people can have patience either. At our house it is normal for Christmas to start a few days early since I can't wait to give presents. So our holiday ends up covering multiple days which is fine with me.

      Be sure to cook the noodles for just a few minutes to soften them but not so long that they turn to mush.


  4. ok will do! ill prob get them tomorrow

  5. so tried the kelp noodles. i also read a few reviews on amazon. maybe i got a bag that was dried out? would yours stand alone(like a birds nest) or would they lay down like regular pasta? mine, even after boiling were the consistency of...bird nest.

    i continued to boil them for 13 min, they just got tougher.i will try again tomorrow and boil for just 2 min and then cut it into smaller pieces with some sort of sauce. a few ppl on amazon are saying the same thing as me. but i wont give up!

    1. Good morning Michelle,

      When you open the package of noodles they should be submersed in liquid. They will be compact and require you to pull them apart. I use my fingers to do this. Then I place them in a colander to rinse off the liquid from the bag. After that they go into the water that I cooked Dan's "real" pasta in. Mine were definitely softer than a bird's nest after cooking. However I only cooked mine about two minutes just enough to loosen them a little. The texture was more like spaghetti squash than it was pasta. Does that help? If not let me know what I missed and I will try to explain it.



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