Tuesday, February 01, 2011

No Calories, No Fat, No Carbs,
No Kidding!
Oh, and a Winner!

If you're counting calories, fat, or empty carbs and you're passionate about pasta or nuts for noodles, then this post is for you!

Have you heard of Miracle Noodle? I first learned about it from my Facebook buddy, fitness coach Sincere Hogan. Because of his enthusiasm, dedication, and commitment to empowering people to achieve their health and fitness goals, Sincere is an inspiration to me. He often shares photos and recipes from his collection of "New Warrior Grub," and I am always excited when he posts something vegan. So when I happened to catch one of his posts featuring a high-fiber, calorie-free, fat-free, vegan noodle, I had to take a closer look.

A calorie-free noodle? Get outta here! But here's the scoop: Gluten-free, soy-free shiratake Miracle Noodle is made from the root of the konjac plant, also known as Devil's Tongue.

Seriously, is this not the most provocative-looking plant you've ever seen?

Known as konnyaku in Japanese, konjac is grown in the warm subtropical to tropical regions of China, Japan and eastern Asia. It has been used for centuries to make flour and jelly and has more recently been used to make a plant-based substitute for gelatin. Konnyaku noodles, known as shirataki in Japan, are filling, because they're made from water and a highly soluble fiber, called glucomannan. It makes you feel full, without adding calories, empty carbs, or fat. You'll be surprised how much like your everyday Miracle Noodles are. But a word of caution: you don't want to overeat this stuff. After all, your body does need nutrients other than fiber! But replace your pasta and noodles with shirataki, and you won't have that weighed-down, heavy feeling the morning after you consume it.

When I received my first bag of Miracle Noodle (angel hair style), I prepared it according to package directions, first draining and then rinsing the contents in cold water to remove their somewhat odd aroma, and then drying them on a clean kitchen. Drying the noodles is an essential part of the preparation, to remove the bitterness, or "aku" as it is referred to in Japanese. Then I blanched the noodles in boiling water for 1 minute, drained them again, and set them aside while I prepared the sauce for the Hot or Cold Sesame Noodles recipe found on Miracle Noodle's website. You definitely do not want to overcook these babies, as it would change their texture and make them too chewy.

Granted, this was basically an all-fat meal, so it's not one I would eat everyday. But it was very easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. It even brought back fond memories of the cold sesame noodles I used to enjoy at one of my favorite Chinese restaurants in New York City, T.S. Ma. (We're talking 25 years ago, and I still remember it!)

I next decided to get a little inventive. I threw together some ingredients I had on hand and created a tasty Mexican Pasta. As luck would have it, I just happened to have a jar of Nacho Mom's Vegan Fire-Roasted Queso in the cupboard! If you haven't yet tried Nacho Mom's Queso, get your hands on a jar. (You can also see some mouth-watering photos and read my earlier review here.)

My colorful Mexican Pasta concoction was scrumptious and a snap to prepare! And for all the Weight Watchers out there, it may not look like it, and sure didn't taste like it, but this was a completely zero-point meal!


1 3.5-oz bag Miracle Noodles
1 small onion, diced
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1 cup spinach, packed
1 tomato, diced
2 heaping Tbs Nacho Mom's Ultimate Vegan Queso


Prepare Miracle Noodles according to package directions, rinse with cold water, and set aside.

In a large skillet, sauté onions in broth for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add tomatoes and then spinach, stirring to combine. Cover, and heat until spinach is wilted, about 5 minutes. Add queso to pan , and stir all together, heating through for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat, add noodles to vegetables and sauce, serve, and enjoy!

Miracle Noodle makes several varieties of shiratake, including fettuccine and angel hair, and they even make rice! I can't wait to try the rice. What about you?

My heartiest thanks to everyone who entered my Glass Dharma giveaway. The lucky winner is Anna of GreenTalk! Congratulations! You'll soon be receiving an email confirmation from me and your gift certificate will also be emailed to you from Glass Dharma. Please let me know when you receive your straws.


Kristina @ spabettie said...

no WAY !! that is so very cool - I had no idea what those noodles were made from!

we have one of those in our yard, and it is VERY colorful and interesting :



Vegiegail said...

That's so cool, Kristina! I really like the name Voodoo Lily, too! Your blueberries and flowers are all so lovely, and Basil is adorable!

Abby Bean said...

I've been meaning to buy a jar of this queso; your previous review sold me & this one reminded me!

Tanya said...

I've tried some shirataki in the past and it really hasn't been my pot of tea....very weird texture. But, I'm willing to try again...maybe it's improved or there are different brands. But those dishes look so amazing....and yes, I LOVE Nacho Mom's Queso!!

GiGi said...

I just tried those Miracle noodles and they are pretty good. The queso looks like it would be terrific on lots of stuff.

VeganMarr said...

What's the Queso made of?

Vegiegail said...

Abby, I'm really hooked on it! The Fire Roasted is a bit spicier than the Ultimate Vegan Queso, so choose accordingly.

Tanya, you really must be careful not to overcook shiratake. Easy to say, I know, and not so easy to do. I really only blanche the noodles for a minute. I found that if I left them any longer than that, they were too chewy. Still, their texture is not exactly like what or rice noodles, so I can see how they might not be for everyone.

Yes, Gigi. The queso is great on so many things! And sometimes, I just can't resist sticking a spoon in the jar and going to town.

Vegiegail said...

Marr, the cheese base is made with nutritional yeast, but you can read all about how they make it here: http://fatgoblin.com/Items.html

reniebritenbucher said...

I am so inspired to try this. And, I will! I am ordering the ingredients.

Thanks so much for all your wonderful recipes and ideas and help!

Vegiegail said...

Thank you for stopping by, Renie! Please let me know how you like them.

Justine said...

Vegan fat-free noodles and queso? Pinch me. I must be dreaming!

Jamie :) said...

yummmmmmmmmmm!!!!!!!!!!!! this looks amazing! i have to try it this week! : )

Miyoko Schinner said...

I use shirataki noodles in my classes for McDougall. It also comes in a block form (not noodles), which is called konnyaku, and can be used to replicate squid. I make vegan calamari with it.

Vegiegail said...

How interesting, Miyoko! I'd love to taste that sometime!

Anna (Green Talk) said...

First, thanks for the contest. Second, this is a great idea if you are following a gluten free diet. Where do you get them?

Vegiegail said...

Hi Anna! Congratulations again on winning the Glass Dharma giveaway! Please let me know how you enjoy your straws.

You can order Miracle Noodle online at their website: http://miraclenoodle.com

Nacho Mom's website is: http://fatgoblin.com

Happy eating!

Anonymous said...

Why have I never heard of this before? Thank you!!!!

Anonymous said...

Both of those dishes look so delicious. I can't wait to try Miracle Noodles!

The Vegan said...

Another mouth watering blog post!!!

Jamie :) said...

i have been eating miracle noodles for over a year - i love them!!! <3

Anonymous said...

I love these noodles, too! In fact, I had them tonight with some left over sweet potato, spinach, tofu and curry! mmmmmm.
These came from a local asian store and had a different name, but same thing. Usually I find the "shiratake" brand ones at FredMeyer locations.

Vegiegail said...

Hi Celeste! Thanks so much for stopping by! I haven't tried shiratake with curry yet, but what a GREAT idea!

I've also found Shiratake tofu noodles at Fred Meyer and Shiratake tofu and yam noodles at our local Asian market, and they've all been wonderful! One thing I haven't been able to find locally is shiratake rice. So I was really thrilled to discover that Miracle Noodle makes it!

Heather McClees said...

I've had three bags of this stuff in my fridge for a couple months because they intrigue me and are so healthy! Mine are actually made from yams , so they are basically yam noodles. I got them online, and figured they would be like eating spaghetti made out of sweet potato( they also have seaweed in them). Interestingly enough, as intrigued as I was, I still haven't gathered the guts to try the slimy little devils. This recipe looks great though, so I feel a little more inspired now:)

KayMoss said...

love miracle noodles..saw your recipe on their facebook site..can't wait to try!