I’ve been in love with Shirataki noodles since I first discovered them years ago. For me, the attraction was instant but I know some people aren’t so lucky on their first encounter with these calorie-free noodles. The right flavors and preparation can make all the difference so, even if you’ve tried these noodles before and thought you didn’t like them, read on and give them another chance. If you’re an old hand and want to skip straight to my favorite shirataki recipes, click here.
What are Shirataki Noodles?
Shirataki noodles are made from the konjac yam native to Japan and are sometimes called konjac noodles. They’re composed almost entirely of water and glucomannan starch, an indigestible dietary fiber. Because of that, they have no net carbohydrates and negligible calories. They’re completely vegan, gluten-free, and appropriate for paleo, keto, and pretty much every other diet out there.
In addition to the health benefits of the high fiber content, glucomannan has been shown to reduce cholesterol and glucose levels making it an effective tool for diabetes control and weight loss. That’s not even taking into account the calories you save by swapping carb and calorie-laden noodles for shirataki.
Shirataki noodles have almost no flavor of their own and will soak up the deliciousness of whatever sauce you use to prepare them. Their texture is unique, however, and usually the reason people are turned off. A little slippery and gelatinous, these noodles lend themselves more to Asian-style dishes. Nevertheless, there are steps you can take in the preparation that will give them a more conventional texture.
Be on alert for tofu shirataki noodles which are not quite the same. The tofu variation has a more traditional texture but the tofu also adds carbs and calories. Be sure to check the packaging when you buy so you know what you’re getting.
Where to Buy Shirataki Noodles
You can usually find Shirataki noodles in the refrigerated section of Asian markets and well-stocked grocery stores. Note that the konjac noodles don’t actually need to be refrigerated and can be stored for months in the cupboard in their original packaging. Tofu shirataki does require refrigeration.
My personal favorite brand is Miracle Noodle because of the variety of shapes they sell, the reasonable price, and high quality. I have a box of noodles delivered to me monthly using Amazon’s subscribe and save and supplement as needed whenever I have a coupon for the Miracle Noodle site.
How to Prepare Shirataki Noodles
For most recipes, I find a simple rinse in the sink is all that’s needed before adding these noodles to the dish. However, there are a few extra steps you can take to give the noodles a more traditional texture.
1. Open the bag and drain the liquid. Be warned that the packing liquid has a bit of a stinky fish smell. This smell rinses right off so don’t let it stop you.
2. Thoroughly rinse the noodles. I use a rice strainer for this so that no noodles are lost.
3. Optionally cut your noodles so they’re a little shorter. You can use scissors or just squeeze them between your fingers while you’re rinsing.
4. Parboil the noodles. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the noodles. Boil for 1 minute and drain.
5. Dry fry the noodles in a large skillet for a more traditional texture. Place a large skillet over high heat and add the drained noodles. Cook, tossing periodically, until all liquid has evaporated and the noodles are squeaky and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. “Squeaky and fluffy” will make sense when you do it.
The noodles won’t brown or burn. At worse, if you overcook them they’ll shrivel up when their water cooks out.
The noodles are now ready to use in any recipe. Here are some of my favorites. I’ll continue to add to this list as I find more tasty uses so be sure to check back.
Best Shirataki Recipes
This super simple preparation has tons of umami sesame flavor and will fill you up for only 170 calories a heaping serving.
[vegan, gluten-free, 15-minute meal]
Vegan, gluten-free Pad Thai in under 40 minutes and 200 calories seems too good to be true but is truly delicious.
[vegan, gluten-free, 35-minute meal]
Brad’s favorite shirataki dish combines Chinese broccoli and chicken in a sweet-smokey sauce that the entire family will love – all for under 240 calories a serving.
[gluten-free option, 35-minute meal]
The skinny version of this take out favorite packs plenty of heat. All the comforting decadence of the original for under 330 calories.
[gluten-free, 35-minute meal]
Slather your shirataki and Spring veggies with a creamy, completely veggie-based sauce. Hugely satisfying for a paltry 150 calories.
Fast, easy, colorful, and wildly flavorful – this curry is a family favorite. Swap out the shrimp with your favorite protein or leave it veggie for a tasty vegan meal.
[gluten-free, 25-minute meals]
One of my original shirataki recipe – this is the dish that made me love these noodles. Sriracha and lime give it plenty of zesty kick while shirataki and PB2 keep it well under 250 calories a serving.
This refreshing salad isn’t a noodle swap – it was made for shirataki. Light but heartily filling at under 300 calories its a great make-ahead meal for days you don’t want to turn on the oven.
[vegan, gluten-free, 20-minute meals]
What’s your favorite way to prepare shirataki noodles?