Sea Kelp Noodles: What They Are And How To Use Them
Let’s take a look at sea kelp noodles, a great source of the all-important sea vegetables that most of us don’t eat enough of (me included). I discovered these about two years ago and quickly bought a case.
What Are Kelp Noodles?
Kelp noodles are…noodles made from kelp. Okay, that was an easy one. But that’s really about all of the description that’s needed. They contain only three ingredients: water, kelp, and sodium alginate. Before you freak, sodium alginate is a salt derived from brown seaweed that, they claim, helps chelate heavy metals from the body.
They have a neutral taste and are pretty light with a slight crunch. Some people think they’re a bit rubbery, which I can see, but they might have an “off” package. Mine are typically slightly crunchy, kind of like properly cooked spaghetti squash, whether I eat them raw or cooked.
You can use them either straight from the package as long noodles or chop them up into more edible sizes. I almost always chop mine up into about 1″ long pieces just by slicing across the mass that comes out of the package. They also work both raw and cooked.
Why Are They White?
Yeah, I know, kelp isn’t white. Kelp is a dark brown color. According to Sea Tangle, the only company I’ve found that makes them for mass market sale, when you strip off the outer covering, the inside of kelp actually looks just like the noodles. Obviously I haven’t tried it myself, so I just have to take their word for it.
I usually avoid packaged products, but I put this in the same area as olives. There is a little processing required to get to the inner portion of the kelp and I’m willing to let someone else handle it since they do minimal processing. I’ve heard that in some Asian markets, you can actually find green kelp noodles. I’ve never found them and have no idea if the green is a natural thing or food coloring. Let me know if you find them.
Five Easy Uses
Over the course of the last couple years, I’ve found some good uses for kelp noodles. They blend in well to most any recipe that calls for rice or noodles. The first thing I do is dump out the water, then rinse them in more water to remove as much of the salt as possible.
- Top with a peanut or almond sauce – Take any Thai Peanut Satay sauce recipe (sub in almond butter if you prefer) and toss it with the noodles. Add some meat and you have a full meal (skip the meat if you’re vegetarian, of course).
- As a replacement for spaghetti squash – I love spaghetti squash, but sometimes don’t feel like cooking it. Kelp noodles have a similar crunch and mild flavor, so they fill in nicely most everywhere. I haven’t tried them with actual spaghetti sauce though. I’m not sure they’d have the body to carry the delicious sauce to my hungry mouth.
- As part of a vegetable side dish – Saute them up with carrots, onions, and cucumbers and add some sesame oil and tamari for a quick compliment to your main dish.
- As a base for your stir-fries – Instead of rice or noodles, use kelp noodles. They work either raw or cooked with some seasonings.
- To make a great seaweed salad – Kelp noodles, wakame (rehydrated), cucumbers, carrots, green onions, ginger, toasted sesame oil, rice vinegar, tamari, and sesame seeds. No heat required to make delicious Asian flavor.
Where To Buy Kelp Noodles
On Amazon, you’re looking at about $7.50 for a single package, whereas on the Sea Tangle website, you’re looking at 12 packages for $35, so just under $3 per package. I’m not real sure what the sellers on Amazon have been smoking, but don’t order from there. One package is enough for at least one meal, so really not all that expensive in the grand scheme.
Do you use kelp noodles? What other ways to use them do you have?