Ask the Nutritionist
Q: Do you have any recipes using Shirataki noodles? Can you provide nutritional information on it?
CR, Boston, Massachusetts
A: Shirataki noodles are translucent, gelatinous, traditional Japanese noodles made from one of several types of yam (usually konjac yam). They are very low in calories and carbohydrates and high in water and a water soluble-fiber called glucomannan. They can be found in both dry and wet forms in Asian grocery stores and are often used as a replacement in noodle dishes. Shirataki noodles can also be made from tofu.
The noodles should be well rinsed and boiled for about 2 minutes to remove the fishy flavor and smell that sometimes accompanies the packaging liquid. The noodles don’t carry much flavor but absorb sauces very well. Although they are very low in calories and carbohydrates, and therefore are often used for weight loss, they don’t have the vitamins and minerals that whole grains do.
The Shirataki noodles have a moderate amount of fiber. If you choose to include these in your diet, add vegetables to supply a wide range of important nutrients. Here is a Shirataki Noodle Stir-Fry with Spicy Peanut Sauce recipe.
Other low calorie and low carbohydrate substitutions for pasta or noodles are spaghetti squash and thinly sliced zucchini. Spaghetti squash can be cut in half, roasted and then scooped out into strings of noodle shaped squash to be paired with your favorite sauce and toppings.