Miracle Noodles: What's with the Hype?

If you haven't heard of miracle noodles, these gelatinous Japanese noodles resemble pasta and are quickly moving beyond low-carbohydrate diets and into the mainstream. Made from vegetable fiber, they have a lot to offer restricted diets because they're gluten-free, vegan, and have no carbohydrates or calories. Could these trendy noodles be a good fit for you and your diet? To help you answer that question, here's a look at what you should know about the noodles that everyone's talking about today.

What Exactly Are They?

Miracle noodles, which are also known as shirataki noodles, are translucent noodles that are made from vegetable fiber. The fiber comes from the konjac yam, which is a Japanese vegetable that goes by a number of other names including devil's tongue, voodoo lily, or elephant yam. These noodles are vegetarian, and almost free of carbohydrates and calories. Thanks to their fiber content, they encourage slow digestion and slow glucose absorption, making you feel fuller longer. That full, satiated feeling is also part of why miracle noodles can mimic the feel of pasta in various dishes, especially when they're roasted and combined with sauce.

How Do You Prepare Them?

To make these gelatinous noodles for dinner, simply take them out of their package, rinse them under cold water for a minute, boil them for three minutes, and finally, dry-roast them on the stove for one more minute. Then they're ready to be used however you like. Combine them with sauce, mix them with roasted vegetables, or use them in whatever recipes sound good to you. While these noodles are not the same as pasta, they can mimic the al dente texture of cooked pasta noodles. For best results, however, The Huffington Post says, "When cooking with shirataki, remember texture: It's more like the glass or cellophane noodles you find in Asian stir fries, soups, and dumplings."

What Benefits Do They Offer?

Nobody has to tell you that, whether you can't eat gluten or are trying to cut calories, foods that offer big flavor without compromising your health are lifesavers. Miracle noodles are a perfect example of this. Not only are they quick and easy to prepare, but they provide a way to enjoy noodles without consuming a lot of calories and carbohydrates. They also slow down digestion in order to leave you feeling full for longer.

The bottom line is that anyone who's looking for a healthy, whole-food alternative to traditional noodles should consider trying miracle noodles. Whether you're making a stir-fry or simple noodles with sauce, this low-calorie ingredient is easy to make and just might be your new go-to pasta substitute.

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