Which konjac noodle is best?
Shirataki, miracle noodles, devil’s tongue, yam noodles — regardless of what you call them, konjac noodles are a good alternative to traditional pasta. Made from three ingredients (glucomannan, water and a calcium additive to help them hold their shape), these noodles are full of insoluble fiber, but low in carbohydrates and calories.
If you’ve never tried them before, the best konjac noodles to start with are Yuho Shirataki Konjac Angel Hair Pasta. These thinner shirataki are mild-tasting and a good introduction to this alternative noodle.
What to know before you buy konjac noodles
Konjac is an herb that grows all over Asia. It can be found in many beauty products, including konjac sponges, but it’s also a great food to consider as a gluten-free, low-carb and low-calorie alternative to other types of pastas or starches. If it’s a new food for you, here are some things to consider before you buy.
Traditional konjac noodles have just three ingredients. Water and glucomannan make up the bulk of the noodle, with a calcium additive, like pickling lime or calcium hydroxide, added to keep the shape of the noodle. In an attempt to adapt the noodle for western tastes, some companies will add things like tofu or oats. While this is not necessarily a detriment, it does change the nutritional composition. If your goal in exploring the world of konjac noodles is to go grain-free, keto or gluten-free, make sure nothing else is added.
Because of the way they are processed (and due to the calcium additive), some brands of shirataki noodles have a distinctive, sometimes unpleasant odor right out of the package. Take heart: This generally dissipates when you properly prepare the noodles. Some brands do have a more pronounced odor, though, so start with a milder noodle.
Many Asian cuisines celebrate the gelatinous texture of konjac noodles, but most Westerners are not used to this texture. Additionally, if the noodles are not properly prepared, they can be rubbery and difficult to chew.
Start with thinner noodles like capellini, and follow the preparation instructions for best results.
What to look for in quality konjac noodles
Part of what makes the digestive process work is the presence of over 100 trillion bacteria in our belly. An unhealthy gut microbiome is also linked to a variety of health imbalances, like Alzheimer’s disease and other types of inflammation throughout the body. Researchers believe that healing the gut microbiome by nurturing the good gut bacteria is key for good health.
Glucomannan in shirataki is a prebiotic insoluble fiber that feeds the good bacteria in the gut to help it achieve and maintain a balance.
Even the biggest spaghetti fans sometimes prefer a different shape. Some shapes are also better than others for holding different types of sauces. For example, a heavy sauce needs a thicker noodle to catch all of that goodness. Konjac noodles come in many traditional pasta shapes and can even be found in a “rice” shape.
Just remember that thicker noodles will be chewier. If you have struggled with the texture in the past, stick with thinner noodles.
People who are looking to control their appetite to help them lose weight love konjac noodles for their high fiber content. Each serving can have up to 6 grams of insoluble fiber (double that of regular wheat pasta). Insoluble fiber is not able to be digested, but keeps you full and can help even out your digestive system.
The downside of all of this fiber is that some people will have trouble in the beginning with things like upset stomach, bloating and diarrhea. Until you know how konjac will affect your digestion, eat small servings.
How much you can expect to spend on konjac noodles
You can find konjac noodles at a wide variety of price points. Expect to spend between $20-$25 for multi-packs of four to six.
Konjac noodles FAQ
How do you prepare konjac noodles?
A. The first step to successful preparation is to put a pot of salted water to boil.
While that’s boiling, rinse your konjac noodles thoroughly to remove any odor. If the odor is persistent, add a drop or two of white vinegar to rinse water to help.
Add your noodles to boiling water and boil for 2-3 minutes. They will become clear and feel slippery to the touch. Drain konjac noodles completely. They are ready to add to your dish, to dry fry, or to top with sauce.
In what shapes are konjac noodles made?
A. You can stick with traditional spaghetti for konjac or you can branch out and try other shapes like:
- Angel hair
What are the potential health benefits of konjac noodles?
A. Glucomannan has numerous potential health benefits, including:
- Improve gut microbiome for healthy digestion
- Curb hunger and regulate blood sugar
- Improve cholesterol levels
- Aid in weight loss
These health benefits are somewhat negated if you add a thick cream sauce with too much fatty cheese. Supplement the benefits of glucomannan with healthy fresh veggies and lean proteins.
What are the best konjac noodles to buy?
Top konjac noodle
What you need to know: If you struggle with the chewiness of wider konjac noodles, this is the noodle for you.
What you’ll love: For dishes that want a lighter noodle, this angel hair option is perfect. They have 3 grams of carbohydrates and are traditionally made with just three ingredients. It’s great for dishes like pad Thai.
What you should consider: These noodles have a more pronounced odor out of the bag than other brands.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top konjac noodle for the money
What you need to know: These budget shirataki are a way to give konjac noodles a try without breaking the bank.
What you’ll love: They are 100% organic. There is no taste or odor to these noodles. Note that the manufacturer has added oat flour to improve the texture.
What you should consider: The oat flour is not a good addition for those following a strict low-carb or grain-free diet.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This noodle is great for heartier sauces or in soups and broths.
What you’ll love: This fettuccine-style noodle cradles tons of delicious sauce and is best for people who already know and love the taste and texture of shirataki. They have 1 gram of carbs per serving.
What you should consider: Cook these properly or it’s like chewing a rubber band.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Suzannah Kolbeck writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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