Becoming increasingly popular, kelp noodles are a sea vegetable that is formulated with–you guessed it!–kelp, sodium alginate, and water. They are naturally gluten-free and vegan, and I’m pretty sure every bag I have seen says “gluten-free” right on the package.
They’re super neutral tasting, unlike shiritaki noodles that have that fishy-ness to them, and good for you, too (particularly a source of iodine, which vegans tend to lack).
Raw they have a bit of a crunchy texture, though you can marinate or soak them so they soften up a bit.
You can buy them online from my awesome friend Lee at Truly Organic Foods, and check out her recipe for a quick and easy raw salad to enjoy them with!
I like mixing them up in a variety of dishes, and love them cooked, as well, standing in for rice noodles in stirfries and pasta with sauces.
Kelp Noodle Stirfry with Tofu, Veggies, and Tamarind Sauce
Kelp noodles stand in for grain-based noodles in this easy stir fry, excellent for those trying out a few meat-free meals. Baking the tofu brings on a meatier texture, and the sauce gives a nice balance of spicy/salty/sour/sweet.
For the tofu:
1 (350g) package extra-firm tofu, squeezed of excess liquid, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup vegetable broth
3-4 tablespoons wheat-free tamari
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 (2-inch) piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
For the stirfry sauce:
1/2 cup vegetable broth, plus more as needed
1/4 cup wheat-free tamari
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
2 teaspoons Thai (or regular) chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons canola or neutral coconut oil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
Fresh vegetables, such as snap peas, broccoli, carrots, cut into bite-sized pieces
Vegetable broth, as necessary
2 (12 ounce) bags kelp noodles, rinsed and cut into pieces with scissors
6 cups bean sprouts
4 green onions, chopped
To make the tofu, mix together all of the ingredients. Let sit 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 425F. Pour the mixture in a small baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes until the top of the tofu pieces are dry and brown. Flip each piece and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until the other side is browned. Set aside.
For the sauce, blend all ingredients until smooth.
To make the stirfry, heat the oil on high heat in a skillet. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds until it starts to brown. Add the vegetables (except for bean sprouts), starting with crispier vegetables such as carrots and broccoli, adding vegetable broth as necessary to keep a bit of liquid in the pan. Once the vegetables are tender crisp, add the tofu, noodles, and bean sprouts. Add sauce, just enough to coat the ingredients. Turn to low heat and cook until the noodles are tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in the green onions. Serve immediately. Leftover sauce can keep covered and refrigerated for up to 1 week.