I discovered kelp noodles about 2 months ago when my husband and I were on an elimination diet. They are easier to cook with than rice noodles in the sense that they maintain their firmness and do not become sticky as they cook. You can boil them a little and eat them with a bit of crunch, or boil them more and have them a little softer. They are also in the vegetable category, and have very little caloric input. Besides being delicious, they are great for people who are watching their carbs but who still want the joy of eating a noodle dish.
This is an easy meal to prepare on a busy night…
For the Pad Thai
- 1 medium diced onion (any kind)
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 carrot sliced in ovals or julienned
- LOTS of veggies of your choice (e.g., frozen peas, shelled edamame (organic), spinach, purple cabbage, broccolini, chopped kale, snap or snow peas, etc)
- Protein of your choice (e.g., 2 chicken breasts sliced, 1 package firm organic tofu, etc) – seasoned with salt, pepper and sweet paprika
- Roasted nuts of choice (cashews, peanuts, etc – this is optional)
- Roasted sesame seeds (optional)
- Balsamic or rice vinegar
- Toasted sesame oil (1 Tbsp)
- Extra virgin olive oil (1 Tbsp)
- Kelp Noodles (1 package = 4 servings. Any clear rice or bean noodles can be substituted!)
For the sauce
- Toasted sesame oil, 1 Tsp
- Sweet brown rice miso (organic), 1 Tbsp
- Nut butter of choice (almond, peanut, sunflower, etc.), 2 Tbsp
- Water, ~2-3 Tbsp
- Ponzu (organic preferred, organic soy sauce can be used in place of ponzu), 1 Tbsp
On the side
- Spicy sauce (e.g., Sriracha, Cholula hot sauce, etc.)
- Roasted and salted nuts (cashews, peanuts)
- Put on a pot of water and bring to a boil while you sauté the veggies and meat.
- Prepare the sauce for later by adding to a bowl: 1 Tbsp miso, 2 Tbsp nut butter, 1 Tbsp ponzu (or soy sauce), 1 Tsp toasted sesame oil. Mix the miso, nut butter and ponzu with a spoon. If needed, add ½ Tbsp of water at a time to create a liquid paste (similar in consistency to watery icing). Set sauce aside for later.
- Sauté the diced onion in 1 Tbsp olive oil on medium heat until transparent
- Add the carrot and sauté for about 3 minutes
- At this point, add any veggies that need a good amount of cooking time (e.g., broccoli or kale).
- Notes: I often use pre-steamed broccolini cut into bite-sized pieces, that I make in the same pot that I use to boil the noodles. Another good option is to add leftover veggies from previous meals! Pre-cooked veggies that need to be warmed can be added at this step but only cook them briefly (2-3 minutes). Spinach or other quick cooking veggies should be added later, just before the noodles.
- Once the veggies are just starting to become cooked, remove them from the heat and place them in a bowl on the side (remember they will continue to cook off the heat and will be placed back on the burner in a bit and will cook some more then too).
- Return the pan to medium heat and add 1 Tbsp of olive oil to the same pan and a ½ Tbsp of toasted sesame oil. Add the cut up chicken (or tofu or any other protein of preference) and brown in the pan, turning as needed.
- Once the chicken is browned, create a space in the center of the pan, add ½ Tbsp of toasted sesame oil and add the minced garlic. Stir into the chicken in the pan. Turn the heat down to low and add a glug of balsamic vinegar, stir.
- While the meat is cooking, add the kelp noodles to the hot water (turn heat down to medium after water boils). Heat noodles for 2-5 minutes. Using kitchen tongs and scissors, cut the noodles into smaller segments (~3-5 inches) to prevent the noodles from tangling with one another.
- Add the veggies back to the pan on top of the meat (if you are adding spinach and frozen peas or edamame, add now to the pan to heat up). Mix with the meat.
- Add the noodles to the pan on top of the meat and veggies.
- Add the sauce on top of the noodles.
- Carefully mix the sauce into the noodles, veggies and meat until everything is mixed, coated with sauce, and warmed through.
- Turn off the heat and distribute to a serving bowl or individual plate.
- If you like a little nutty crunch, sprinkle roasted nuts and/or sesame seeds on top.
- Serve with the kimchi and/or spicy sauce on the side for those who preferred a little kick!