Eat This: Low Carb, Low Calorie Skinny Pasta

hadmayaUSA_SPAGHETTI

By now most of us know that one of the keys to weight loss is curbing carb consumption and upping fiber intake. This can be a problem if you’re addicted to pasta. Zoodles are a fantastic alternative, but there are times you probably want something that more closely mimics the texture of pasta and for those times, checkout Skinny Pasta.

Sugar-free, gluten-free, fat-free, cholesterol-free, they not only contain fiber, but they have only 9 calories per serving! The pasta comes in a number of iterations (Spaghetti, Angel Hair, Spinach Fettuccine, Macaroni, Rice…), but all are made from an Asian root called konnyaku (konjac). On their own they have no taste. I’ve heard that they smell bad, taste weird… lies! I’ve been eating Skinny Pasta on and off for weeks and they do not smell! They do feel a bit slippery when you take them out of the pouch (they are kept in water to maintain their freshness), but they’re no different from rice noodles. Also like regular noodles they don’t have much flavor on their own so they’re great because they absorb the flavors of whatever sauce you put them in.

I eat them with fresh, homemade tomato sauce (I add in a ton of herbs, spices, and veggies to keep calories low and flavors high), but the options are really endless. I eat two packs at a time (less that 60 calories worth of “pasta”) and it’s a perfect, filling lunch that holds me over till dinner and doesn’t leave me feeling lethargic.

If you’re looking for something more involved/creative than tomato sauce, checkout these recipes below!

Shirataki Sesame Noodles

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Ingredients:
  • 7 ounce Skinny Pasta, Angel Hair
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon tahini (sesame paste)
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup shredded cabbage
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 large scallion, chopped
Instructions:
  1. Heat a small skillet over medium-low heat and use it to toast the sesame seeds, about 2 minutes, just until golden. Watch out so that they don’t burn. Remove from skillet and set aside.
  2. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil.
  3. Using scissors, open the shirataki noodles package. Pour its contents into a colander. Ignore the slightly fishy smell – it will rinse/cook out. Rinse the noodles under cold running water for 30 seconds.
  4. Use clean kitchen scissors to cut the noodles in half – they are too long to eat as they are.
  5. By now, your water should be boiling. Transfer the noodles to the boiling water, bring back to a boil and boil for 3 minutes.
  6. While the noodles boil, heat a clean, dry medium-sized nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  7. Pour the cooked noodles back into the colander and drain well. Transfer the noodles to the hot skillet and dry-roast them (adding no oil to the skillet), stirring, for 1-2 minutes, until they are visibly dry and make a squeaking sound when moved in the skillet. This step will get rid of the shirataki’s rubbery texture, and help the noodles better absorb the sauce.
  8. While the noodles are dry-roasting, use a fork to mix together the sesame paste, soy sauce, rice vinegar and red pepper flakes. Add the mixture to the dry noodles in the skillet (use a small rubber spatula to scrape it all off the mixing bowl) along with the shredded cabbage. Stir-fry until the noodles and cabbage are thoroughly coated, 1-2 minutes.
  9. Turn the heat off. Transfer the noodles to an individual bowl. Drizzle with the sesame oil and top with the sesame seeds and chopped scallion. Enjoy immediately.

Asian Noodle Summertime Salad

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Ingredients:
  • 16 ounce Skinny Pasta, Spaghetti
  • 12 ounce bag fresh rainbow slaw mix, or plain slaw
  • 3 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup salted, roasted peanuts
  • 2 tablespoon sesame seeds
Dressing:
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger paste
  • 3 tablespoon super fine sugar or 4 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 teaspoon. finely minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 4 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Salt to taste

Instructions:

  1. Drain, rinse and cook tofu shirataki noodles according to the package. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a small bowl or dressing shaker, mix the ingredients and whisk or shake well.
  3. In a large bowl toss the the salad ingredients with the cooled noodles, omitting the sesame seeds for now. Toss the salad with the dressing, use as much as you want, there may be some left over for another use. Garnish the top of the salad with the sesame seeds. Let sit for a few hours or serve immediately.

Spaghetti And Lentil Balls

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Ingredients:

For the baked lentil balls:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 and ½ cups cooked green lentils (equal to one standard can, drained well)
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup walnuts
For the spaghetti:
  • 8-oz. Skinny Pasta, Spaghetti
  • about 1 cup tomato-based pasta sauce of choice (I went with an Arrabbiata style sauce)
  • (optional) hemp parmesan, to serve

Instructions:

For the baked lentil balls
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly spray the parchment paper with oil.
  2. In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and carrot, and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until both are softened. Add the garlic and cook for another 60 seconds, until fragrant.
  3. Use a spatula to transfer the vegetable mixture, including any residual oil, into a food processor. Add the cooked lentils, pepper, oregano, nutritional yeast, and tomato paste, and pulse to combine. Finally, add the walnuts and continue to pulse until the walnuts are crumbled. Add other seasoning to the mixture to taste. (If you did not use canned lentils, you will probably need to add salt).
  4. The mixture will be fairly soft, but form it into small lentil balls as best you can, placing them on the baking sheet with plenty of space between them.
  5. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. If the lentil balls are firm enough, carefully flip them over after 25 to 30 minutes before continuing baking. Let the lentil balls cool for 5 to 10 minutes before gently removing them from the sheet with the help of a spatula.
For the spaghetti:
  1. Meanwhile, drain the package of tofu shirataki, and rinse the noodles. Either microwave the noodles for 1 minutes, or boil them for 3 minutes. Use kitchen shears or a sharp knife to cut the noodles to a shorter length for eating (half is fine).
  2. In a small sauce pan with no oil or liquid, cook the noodles over medium heat for about 7-8 minutes, stirring them frequently. You will see the noodles releasing steam, and want them to end up dry but still supple.
  3. Add your tomato sauce, stir, and bring it to a steady simmer to heat the sauce. Reduce the heat to low to keep the spaghetti warm while you wait for the lentil balls to be done.
  4. Serve a generous portion of spaghetti with around ⅓ of the lentil balls, topped with hemp parmesan if desired. Leftover lentil balls keep in the fridge for a couple of days – store after cooling to room temperature.
Yellow-Curry-Noodles-6
Ingredients:
  • 1 pound (450g) large shrimp (21/25 count), peeled and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • pinch of salt
  • 16 ounce Skinny Pasta, Fettuccine
  • 2 stalks of lemongrass
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger (from about a 1-inch piece)*
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons yellow curry powder (mild spice)
  • 5 cups (about 1.2 liters) vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup (175ml)  full-fat coconut milk (can sub with low-fat coconut milk)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, add more if necessary
  • 2 medium zucchini, spiralized
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and julienned

Optional Garnish

  • sliced scallions
  • red pepper flakes
  • black sesame seeds

Instructions:

  1. Heat a large pan with a tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Once the pan is hot, add the shrimp. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over the shrimp. Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes and flip the shrimp when the bottoms have turned orange. Cook the other side for another 3 to 4 minutes. The shrimp is cooked when you no longer see any grey spots on it. Dish up the shrimp and set aside.
  3. Drain and rinse the tofu shirataki noodles under cold water. Set aside.
  4. Peel the tough outer leaves of the lemongrass, about 2 to 4 layers. Cut off the dried leaves at the top (about 4 to 5 inches from the top) and the bottom (about 3/4 to 1 inch from the bottom). Slice the stalk of lemongrass into 3 sections. Using a mallet or the flat side of a tenderizer, smash the lemongrass so that it splits open. This helps release the flavors. Set lemongrass aside.
  5. Heat the a tablespoon of oil in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the ginger, garlic and yellow curry powder, and stir for about 30 seconds to a minute, until they become fragrant.
  6. Gradually pour in the vegetable broth. Add the bruised lemongrass stalks. Cover the pot with a lid, bring the heat up to medium-high, and bring the broth to a boil. This will take about 4 to 5 minutes.
  7. Once the broth has boiled, add the coconut milk and salt, and bring the broth back to boil again, uncovered.
  8. Reduce the heat to medium and add the tofu shirataki noodles and zucchini noodles and cook everything for about 3 to 4 minutes.
  9. Turn off the heat and stir in the julienned carrots and shrimp. You can scoop out and discard the lemongrass stalks now or leave them inside the broth. Just make sure not to eat them. Taste the broth and adjust the seasonings to your liking.
  10. Serve the noodle soup in bowls and top with sliced scallions, red pepper flakes and black sesame seeds, if you like.

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