Low Carb Pasta Substitute: Shirataki

If used properly, this is a wonderful way to have a satisfying pasta meal with very few calories and almost no carbs! Ray & Terry use "House" brand Tofu Shirataki, which comes in spaghetti and fettuccine forms.


One eight ounce package (2 official servings) contains just 40 total calories and 2 net grams of carbs. One package is equivalent to about 300 calories of pasta which has about 75 grams of carbs. Nutritionally speaking, that's a good deal!

From the package: "Shirataki is composed of thin gelatinous strings made from yam flour (polysaccharide-glucomannan) from the Konnyaku root and has very low caloric or digestible food values. This traditional Japanese food is enjoyed for its simple taste and unique texture."

How to cook Tofu Shirataki

Tofu Shirataki is a precooked product and comes ready-to-eat. It can be eaten as a main dish or added to salads and soups with minimal preparation. Place bag in colander and cut open to drain water from the package. Rinse noodles in colander under running water for about 3-5 minutes. Drain. Parboil for 3-5 minutes. Increase rinsing and boiling times to 10 minutes each to further reduce aroma.

To top your shirataki, try a low carb tomato-based spaghetti sauce. One serving of this sauce contains an average of about 60 calories and 4 grams of net carbs. So for a total of 100 calories and 6 net grams of carbs, it provides a good sized pasta dish which would ordinarily be about 400 calories and 90 grams of carbs. Or try vegetables sautéed in olive oil in lieu of sauce.

Where to buy shirataki

There are two varieties of shirataki: Tofu based (requires refrigeration) and non-tofu (no refrigeration needed).

Miracle Noodle carries non-tofu non-refrigerated shirataki in all kinds of pasta shapes. They also carry Konjac Glucomannan powder, which can be used as a fiber drink, a thickener for sauces, or to make your own pasta. There are recipe suggestions as well on their site: Miracle Noodle - Shirataki - Guilt Free Noodles - Zero Calories

House brand Tofu Shirataki is available at most Whole Foods Markets and other select retail stores. To find a store near you: http://www.house-foods.com/tofushirataki_faq.html

Nutrition Information

Per 4oz serving of House brand Tofu Shirataki spaghetti style noodles:
Calories 20 - Fat Cal. 5 - Total Fat 0.5g - Sat. Fat. 0g - Trans Fat 0g - Cholesterol 0mg - Sodium 15mg - Total Carb. 3g - Fiber 2g - Sugars 0g - Protein 1g
Vitamin A 0% - Vitamin C 2% - Calcium 10% - Iron 2%
*Percent Daily Values (DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

There are also many foods designed with carbohydrate substitutes that use fiber (as well as vegetable protein) to replace the bulk and texture of starch, such as low-carbohydrate cereals and breads. There are now many low-carbohydrate substitutes for normally high-carbohydrate foods, such as bread, pasta, cereals, puddings, and desserts. These are available in food and nutrition stores and from several Web sites.

Quick Vegataki Soup

1 package (8 ounces) Shirataki spaghetti-style noodles, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
4 ribs celery, finely chopped
1 medium cippolini onion, finely chopped
1 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves coarsely chopped
1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes
6 cups reduced sodium vegetable stock
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
basil & oregano
salt & pepper

Rinse noodles for 5 to 10 minutes in cold running water and drain thoroughly.

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Cook the celery and onion 3-4 minutes until vegetables begin to soften. Add tomatoes and kale and bring to a low boil. Stir in broth and garlic powder and reduce heat to medium. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until kale is tender. Add noodles and heat for another 5 minutes until warmed through. Season to taste with basil, oregano, salt and pepper

8 Servings
Nutrition Information per serving:

Calories: 77
Protein: 4g (18% calories from protein)
Carbohydrates (net): 11g (63% calories from carbohydrates