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Posted Jan 24 2013 5:00pm

I'm still looking for the perfect pasta substitute. Dreamfield's contains wheat; spaghetti squash is, well, squash; spiral-sliced zucchini, sorry, still squash; shirataki is rubbery and tasteless; tofu shirataki contains soy...

Regular shirataki noodles are not really food. They have no calories, no carbs, no nutrients, and no taste. They are 100% konjak fiber. If I came across a bowl of shiritaki noodles in the wild, I would never say, "Yum, food!" I'd be no more likely to eat them than to eat the tablecloth or the carpet. The version made with soy tastes better. They have the texture and taste of soft egg noodles, like the ones my mother-in-law used to make. But the soy is a deal breaker for me and I'm sure I'm not alone about that.

Nasoya, makers of all-things-soy, must have heard our complaints because they now have a soy-free shirataki combination called Pasta Zero. It is made with a little potato starch and chickpea flour and it has 1 net gram of carbs, 20 calories, and 3 grams of fiber per serving. It comes as fettuccine and spaghetti.

The only store near me that sells Nasoya is Safeway, where it can be found in the cooler with the tofu and the other vegan-friendly stuff. There is a store locator at:

All the recipes on the website are low-fat, but they are easy to convert. I'll put a couple of them below. It's still not exactly like pasta, but it tastes pretty good for a "freebie" food!

Shirataki Fettuccine Alfredo
Makes 3 servings

1 pkg Nasoya® Pasta Zero Shirataki Fettuccine
4 oz full-fat cream cheese
¼ cup organic butter
¼ cup heavy cream or half and half
Salt and pepper to taste

Rinse and drain pasta in a colander. In a non-stick skillet, toss pasta over medium-high heat until dry, about 2 minutes and set aside in a bowl. In the same skillet add the remaining ingredients and heat on low until smooth and creamy. Add the pasta and cook on medium for two minutes. Enjoy!
Shirataki Noodles with Red Curry Broth
Makes 4 servings

1 pkg Nasoya® Pasta Zero Shirataki Spaghetti Noodles
3 tbsp red curry paste
15 leaves fresh Chinese basil or Italian basil, chopped
8 stalks scallions, chopped
1/2 cup shitake mushroom caps thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
8 fresh Thai chilies
4 tbsp hot sesame oil divided
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
Soy sauce to taste, gluten-free
Prepare noodles according to the package and set aside. Place whole Chilies onto aluminum foil and coat with 1 tablespoon sesame oil. Close foil loosely and broil until soft, about 10 minutes.

In a pot, bring broth to a boil. Add tops of chopped scallion and 1 chopped garlic clove to broth. Keep at a simmer. Heat 3 tablespoons sesame oil in wok or large, cast-iron sauté pan to medium-high heat. Remove stems of Chilies and place into pan with garlic, curry and then scallions, basil and mushrooms. Sauté for 8 to 10 minutes.

Add noodles and sauté for 3 more minutes, adding soy sauce to taste. Place contents of wok into four bowls. Ladle 2 scoops of broth into each bowl. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and serve.

Note from Judy: I rinse the noodles well, heat them to a boil, rinse again, and then drain to get rid of the "fishy" taste before using them in recipes. I cut them into manageable lengths with kitchen shears.  
(C) 2013, Judy Barnes Baker,
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