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They’re Crunchy and They’re Noodle-y…and They’re Kelp!

Posted Aug 01 2011 10:52am

Kelp Noodles with Cashews & Spinach

About a year ago, I attended a potluck with some very unique culinary contributions. Probably the most unique of them all was a bowl of what I’d assumed were whole-wheat noodles tossed with alfredo sauce. Darn, I remember thinking. Guess I gotta avoid that — it’s definitely a mess of gluten.

I proceeded to happily stuff myself on all the other dishes (which was 95% of the spread). Imagine my surprise when — towards the end of the meal, when I’d eaten more than my fill — someone finally commented on how delicious the kelp noodles were. Kelp noodles? They were kelp noodles? Yep. Turned out the alfredo bowl was in fact a vegan raw dish: kelp noodles tossed with fermented cashew cream. And it was damned yummy, too! Made me wish I had asked about it right away rather than making assumptions.

Ever since that potluck, I’ve had my eye out for kelp noodles. Last week I finally found them. They are the easiest-ever noodle to prepare: just take them out of the bag. That’s it. Even bean noodles require more effort. (You have to soak them in warm water for 15 minutes.) So kelp noodles are not only tasty, they’re also the ideal thing to “make” when it’s 90 degrees outside. I found my kelp noodles at a natural foods store; although I haven’t shopped around extensively for kelp noodles, I think most natural/health foods stores would have them. (Whole Foods does not. At least, not yet — the employee I stopped to ask made careful notes on his clipboard when I described the product and pointed out that kelp noodles would buff out their gluten-free section quite nicely.)

Kelp Noodles with Cashews & Spinach
One bag of kelp noodles serves 4 to 6 people depending on how much spinach, cashews, etc. you use.

Bag of kelp noodles
Chopped cashews
Baby spinach, sliced into thin ribbons
Either a dash of tamari (make sure it’s wheat-free if you’re making a gluten-free dish) or a splash of miso paste thinned with water (ditto on the miso and wheat issue)
Rice wine vinegar
Dash of ground ginger
Sesame seeds (I used black seeds for their sheer exotic appeal, but white would work just as well)
Canned tiny wild shrimp (optional, but Trader Joe’s has some very nice wild-caught tiny shrimp canned in BPA-free cans)

Pull out a noodle and taste it on its own. If it strikes you as too seaweedy-tasting (I like the flavor of seaweed, so I liked them straight out of the bag), rinse the noodles several times in cold water.

Toss noodles with cashews, spinach, tamari, and vinegar. If you’re using standard (i.e., NOT low-sodium) tamari, start out with a mere splash, then taste and add more as you like. If you’re using low-sodium tamari, you can start out using equal parts of tamari and vinegar. Sprinkle with ginger and sesame and toss well. Garnish with shrimp and serve immediately. You could use cooked chicken instead of shrimp, but that would destroy the whole point of not having to heat anything on a wretchedly hot day.

Enjoy!

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