Before discovering the starch free diet and I used it eat pasta all the time. It was one of my favourite foods.
Delicious, filling, super easy to make and really just a great go to food.
But pasta is super starchy and so my hopes of finding anything remotely similar seemed dashed. I’ve never viewed the diet as ‘missing out’ but, pasta was definitely something I loved.
But one day after doing a lot of Googling for Keto meal plans and starch free ingredients I came across konjac noodles (also known as shiratake).
💡 So what are they?
They’re made from the root of the konjac plant, which is native to Asia. That’s one of the reasons they are particularly popular in Japanese food.
To look at they are almost translucent and gelatinous. They have a bit of a unique texture and taste (certainly not everyone likes them) with a slightly chewy, hard bite to them. If you don’t prepare them correctly you might also get a faintly seafood smell or hint. That’s the thing we’re going to ensure we avoid because I’m not keen on fishy noodles!
As you’ll see below by cooking them twice (boiling and then frying) and adding plenty of delicious flavours along the way we can really create a tasty, easy dish or snack.
It’s worth bearing in mind that this is not an ingredient that will give you the nutrients you need to keep you going. These noodles are extremely low in calories. It’s one of the reasons they are used by people looking to lose weight as a typical serving of konjac noodles only contains 10 – 20 calories.
But because of their unique properties they are also commonly used in Keto diets and they’re also gluten-free and paleo-friendly. To beef up the calorie intake you can simply add any ingredients you tolerate into the mix. I’ve included goat’s cheese and cured sausage in mine because they are easy to prepare and I tolerate both.
Do they have any health benefits?
Konjac noodles are high in fiber, which can help help you feel full (can be helpful on this diet) and aid in digestion. They also contain calcium, iron, and potassium, all of which are essentials. Some studies have shown they can help reduce blood sugar and insulin levels, lower cholesterol and even relieve constipation.
So they are a useful ingredient if you can tolerate them. I typically see them as an easy snack if, for example, I want to supplement my lunch.
Quick Check: Is this one safe for you to try?
It depends where you are on your wellness journey.
You need to be able to tolerate konjac /shiratake flour for this one. It is made from the powdered root of the konjac plant and is starch free.
If you are sure you can tolerate it without issue then great! If you are still in the elimination phase of your diet and you are not sure then I would hold off on this one for now and come back to it at a later date once you know.
✔️ 1 – 2 packs of konjac / shiratake noodles (they are the same thing)
✔️ 100g of mushrooms (or around half a pack)
✔️ 2 teaspoon of tapenade
✔️ Pinch of salt
✔️ Optional: Truffle oil
✔️ Optional: Goat’s cheese (if tolerated)
✔️ Optional: Cured meat (if tolerated)
Important: Please check the labels to ensure they don’t contain any additional ‘nasties’.
Step 1: Drain and wash the noodles with cold water in a colander
Step 2: Boil them (like you would normal pasta) in a saucepan for 3 minutes. Add a little olive oil and a pinch of salt to the water for flavouring
Step 3: Drain the noodles in the colander
Step 4: Put the noodles into a frying pan, mix in 1 – 2 teaspoons of tapenade and drizzle the oil of your choice (see tip below). Fry on a relatively high heat and set a timer for 10 minutes
Top tip! Cook in animal fat left in the frying pan (from bacon tastes amazing) and/or with truffle oil
Step 5: Slice your mushrooms and add them to the frying pan. Mix in well
Step 6 (Optional): Chop up your cured meat (sausage) into diced pieces and add to the pan
Step 7 (Optional): Dice your goat’s cheese and add to the pan 30 seconds before the timer is due to go off