Shirataki Noodles & Turning 40

Last week I turned 40, continuing my streak of being one day older than Drew Brees. And like a lot of people facing milestone birthdays or anniversaries, I did quite a bit of navel-gazing. I’m 40 lbs heavier than I was at 30, and my hair streaked with silver. The realization that I’m more than halfway through my life made me consider both my health and my impact on my community and those around me.

In the midst of this, my husband decided he wanted us to prioritize our health on the whole. We’ve trimmed down our meat consumption, have worked hard to drink lots of water, and have cut back on wine and beer (problematic when you’re a Saints fan). But we’re also thinking a lot about macronutrients, and how our bodies handle that tricky balance.

Tl, dr: we ordered shirataki noodles from Thrive Market.

img_6050Miracle/wonder noodles are made from the starch produced by the konjac yam, and when you open the liquidy package containing them, it smells fishy. But we’d been warned by our fellow denizens of the Internet to ignore the preparation directions on the packaging.

I’m so glad we did. So here’s how we took a brand item food item in our pantry and didn’t terrify ourselves.

First of all, we adapted this frankly flawless recipe from Bon Appetit and lightened it up a bit. We had ground pork in the freezer, and our garden has bountiful collard and mustard greens. (And then there were the poblano chiles we made into chile rellenos last night, but that’s another post.)

Lightened Up Pork and Peanut Noodles with Collard Greens

serves 4 (Adapted from Bon Appetit)

2 7-oz. packages of wide shirataki noodles (like fettucine)
¼ cup reduced fat smooth peanut butter
¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp. unseasoned rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. palm sugar
2 tsp. Sriracha
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 lb. ground pork
1 1½” piece ginger, peeled and grated
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 bunch collard greens, ribs and stems removed, sliced thinly (we used a mix of collards, mustards, broccoli and cauliflower greens from our backyard garden)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Let’s start with these noodles, y’all. You’ll need to open them over your kitchen sink, and rinse them in a colander. Boil them 5-6 minutes in salted water, then let drain again. Heat a skillet – and this is important – and don’t add any oil. Add the noodles and stir gently and continuously for about 5-6 more minutes. This will dry them out and give them a texture similar to al dente pasta. Set to the side.
Whisk the peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar, palm sugar and Sriracha in a bowl. The sauce will be lumpy, and it will not be pretty. But it will taste incredible, so just roll with this.
Using the same skillet, brown the pork. Add the ginger and stir for a minute, and then add the garlic. Stir carefully to keep the garlic from burning, and gently add your sauce. Add your greens, and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add your noodles, tossing with tongs, and season to taste.
So the verdict? I still don’t know what shirataki noodles taste like. But I can confirm that they take on the flavors of the sauce into which they’re stirred, and that I can barely notice that I’m eating low calorie yam starch that once smelled like a shrimp boat.

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