Introducing Kelp Noodles
September 8, 2009

img_homeHi guys,

As promised, I’m back with a special product review for you all. But first, I want to share a few words about my weekend.

We all have a proverbial happy place. Maybe it’s a family vacation spot we remember fondly from childhood. Maybe it’s our parents’ place. Maybe it’s a beach you visited on spring break one year and hope to get back to one day; maybe it’s a neighborhood restaurant that you love to visit with your partner. It might even be a park bench somewhere.

I have a lot of happy places: certain restaurants (cough! Pure Food and Wine); the early American rooms at the Met (geek alert); tree-lined blocks on the Upper West Side; the steps on Columbia’s main quad; the northern curve of the reservoir in Central Park; my Mom’s apartment. But my happiest of happy places is Chatham, New York, where my best friend’s folks live.

Why? A few reasons. To start, it’s verdant and beautiful and quiet—therefore, a total antidote to my life in the city. It’s also welcoming: Chloe’s parents and sister are and always been like a second family to me. They’re generous with their love and hospitality and care. It’s rich with nostalgia: Chatham is where Chloe and I have been spending summer weekends and holidays since we were kids. Through adolescence and high school, college and the turbulent post-graduation years, through breakups and first loves and family strife and all of the other milestones of growing up, we’ve returned to that house for a sense of comfort. I always leave Chatham a little more certain of who I am than when I arrived. And even as time passe–which it does these days with frightening speed–our rituals in Chatham remain the same: cold drinks on the porch in summer, apple cider in the fall, the strawberry shortcake festival on the fourth of July.

For as long as I can remember, my memories of Chatham–like most worthy memories–are intertwined with memories of food. Great food. From fresh produce at the farmstand to herbs and vegetables from Chloe’s mother’s garden, holiday feasts simmering on the stove to fresh heirloom tomatoes and grilled corn in the summer, hot coffee on the porch in the fall (yes, I reserve the right to my coffee ritual up there) to lemonade in summer, being in Chatham means plenty of time in the kitchen.

In the last few years, of course, I’ve made a few additions to our kitchen traditions. They include green juice in the fridge, and mountains of marinated kale at the dinner table. Chloe’s parents have watched these developments with a bemused eye and the occasional chuckle. So I think it came as no surprise to them that I brought a new goody this weekend: kelp noodles. I don’t want to throw the “this will change your life” promise around too much, guys. But I have a feeling that kelp noodles are about to make a splash.

What are they? Quite simply, kelp noodles are made from all natural, raw kelp that has been stripped of its outer skin (leaving a clear, thin interior). They’re then preserved in sodium alginate, a natural salt that’s also seaweed derived, and shipped to customers in packs of five. They require no heating, prepping, or soaking (unless you want to soak them), and they keep for up to six months.

Best of all? They’re crunchy, fresh tasting, and not at all “fishy”—so neutral, in fact, that they’re a downright ideal substitute for regular pasta. Pasta, that is, that is 100% raw, 100% vegan, 100% gluten free, and boasts all of the benefits of sea veggies, including thyroid function, metabolic support, and iodine (for more on my adoration of sea vegetables, check out this post).

Sure, I love my zucchini pasta. But a girl needs a break every now and then, which is why I was delighted when the Sea Tangle noodle company—which is the best and most well known source of kelp noodles—graciously offered to send me some of their products. I received the classic variety, the green tea flavor (which I’ll try soon), and some sea veggies to boot. I’ve been eager to taste kelp noodles for ages now, and I decided to bring the classic variety upstate for Saturday night’s dinner.

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The verdict? Success! I couldn’t believe how neutral tasting and fresh these were. They’ll make a perfect base for any pasta sauce: hot or cold, raw or not. And as I so often find with raw dishes that I bring along to dinner parties or weekends away, they were a universal hit: Chloe’s family and guests snacked on them happily as we prepped dinner!

Since Chloe’s mother’s garden was bursting with basil, I opted for a simple pesto treatment, using a pesto of pine nuts, basil, lemon zest, salt, lemon juice, and olive oil.

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I gave myself a generous serving of the noodles:

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Tossed them with some fresh, local zucchini and heirloom tomatoes:

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Plopped on the pesto:

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And tossed. Alongside a big salad of fresh veggies, it made for a terrific dinner. And going back for seconds (which was a must) meant nothing more than pulling another serving of noodles out of the bag and dressing them with pesto–no boiling, no spiralizing!

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Non-vegan offerings at dinner included grilled chicken:

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Deconstructed Greek salad (Chloe’s half Greek, too!):

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Chloe’s mother’s famous roast veggies (including garden eggplant), which I loved:

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And a giant peach tart for dessert. (Chloe’s mother, sister, and aunt are all consummate bakers.)

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I can’t get over how simple to prepare and versatile kelp noodles are, and I suspect they’ll become a staple in my kitchen. I recommend you all check out the Sea Tangle website for information on how to order some of these for your own kitchens. They make a terrific substitute for zucchini pasta if you aren’t lucky enough to have a spiralizer (yet!), or simply if you’ve been looking for a low fat, gluten free, or vegetable substitute for your favorite pasta.

To end the post, a few more shots of my weekend in the country.

The home and gardens:

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A place to read:

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Some treats from the garden:

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And on that note, I’d like to congratulate Chloe on her big news: as of today, she’s officially engaged to be married! Official congrats, sweetie!<3

Back soon, all. Have a great night.

xo

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    69 Comments
  1. Pasta Sauce with broccoli, cauliflower, jalepeno, fresh basil (and ground turkey if not vegan) over the kelp noodles. Taste like pasta to me and even my husband, too. We warmed the noodles in water and the rest of the ingredients are cooked so it did soften the noodles a bit after mixing really good. Amazing!!! I hope nothing negative comes out about these beautiful kelp noodles. I really love them. Also put them in miso soup with mushrooms and scallion.
    Thanks for your beautiful post. I found it as I was looking for more info on kelp noodles.
    Off to my favorite place tomorrow. Serene report in cabo overlooking the sea of cortez and the migrating whales!

  2. I nearly forgot to mention that I am also sugar free, alcohol free and frankly very low carb. So I REALLY wanted this solution to work!!!!

  3. I purchased 2 of these packages and have tried to use the first one a number of ways – salad, sautéed in vegetables etc. I am attempting to come to grips with those who find these so exciting. I am totally gluten and dairy free and have come up with all sorts of creative solutions for myself and friends over the years. But BEWARE the first time you serve them to anyone! I find them not tasteless but bitter in a way that makes me feel something is wrong with them and I kept wondering whether I was poisoning myself. I actually like the flavor of kelp and if these were fishy and kelpy it would be an improvement! Glad I finally (just now) looked at the video seen earlier in this thread. Thanks goodness I only purchased 2.

  4. Has anyone succeeded in making these soft through ANY method (including cooking)?

  5. Hey- I just wanted to share some kelp-noodle-love with you, and throw my own kelp noodle recipe your way (seeing as you so clearly see how AWESOME kelp is!) Do your kelp/pesto thing- but throw in some a tablespoon of hulled hemp hearts, and a handful of shelled raw pumpkin seeds- perhaps some shaved carrot and cucumber, and softened wakame, or alaria seaweed. This makes that kelp salad a SUPER salad as the hemp adds some complete proteins, the seeds some omegas, and seaweed= lots of iron and iodine! Wholly crap is it ever filling, and totally living- which is amazing. 😉 peace in homefry

  6. I really enjoy reading your blog and already got a lot of inspiration throughout my (pretty new) raw food exploration.
    I linked your post about kelp noodles on my last post cause I just recently discovered them and simply love their versatility!
    I am looking forward reading more about your new (raw) food adventures! All the best for your move! Lisa

  7. Nutritional values of kelp noodles
    Kelp has approximately 45 cal per 100 grams, kelp noodles have 5 cal per 100 grams (almost like water). Kelp has 9g of carbs per 100 grams and the noodles have below one. This means that kelp noodle is watered down kelp in approximately 1:10 proportions. It would still have some minerals from kelp, but so has mineral water. In fact, there is no other food that comes in value as close to water than kelp noodles (perhaps with exception of iodine, which should still be decent in the noodles). Notice however, that we are comparing food to water. Food should be nourishing your body not just filling up your stomach. The kelp noodles are recommended to vegetarians and vegans, who already are missing some vital nutrients and have to make additional efforts to compensate for them. If someone likes the crunch of the noodle, it’s fine for a junk snack replacement but to suggest it as basic food component is ridiculous. And if you are looking for extra iodine, just get some real thing (meaning seaweed). You’ll please your body as well as your taste buds. For those with no experience with sea vegetables, might be worth to make a trip to a Japanese restaurant and get few samples on your plate.

  8. I love kelp and other seaweed, especially wakame. I thought kelp noodles will be more like kelp itself, so without trying first, I ordered 72 12oz packages. This product is a complete garbage. It tastes like nothing and has a texture of dried silicone caulking. I’m putting all boxes on Craigs list for someone to take it free. (Athens GA). All I can say, stick to what Japan eats if you want seaweed.
    Just to be fair to any other stuff that might be called kelp noodles; the product I bought was made by “Sea Tangle” (and this is not kelp cut into form of noodles, its kelp mixture with water, which then hardens to as I put it : hardened silicone caulking. Soaking or cooking does not change it, its not kelp).

  9. Hi,
    I’m a raw foodie in NYC. Where can I buy Sea Tangle or other brands of kelp noodles? Every asian and health food store I ask in has no clue what I’m even talking about. Thanks!
    Dave

  10. Thanks for the article. I am very anxious to try kelp noodles. I just discovered them on the internet a few minutes ago and started looking for articles. I can’t wait!

    Tony

  11. update- yum! I found them in my coop tonight! Very neutral and refreshing. I thought crispy might mean dry, but they were nice and juicy 🙂 I did mention them to my mom and she worried about iodine/thyroid as both she and my dad are hypothyroid. Potentially something to not overdo for some people, I guess?

  12. I have been a huge fan of sea kelp noodles for a long time now, I still can’t get over the texture and taste. When I served them to my mom she couldnt believe that they were completly raw!

  13. The kelp noodles look wonderful! You have been such an inspiration to me in my journey to veganism. Although I’m not raw, I do enjoy the beauty and taste of a mostly raw diet.

    Do you know if you can buy these without ordering them? I’m studying for a year in Scotland right now and I found a wonderful vegan/vegetarian health food store but I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to find them there–or perhaps an asian market?

    keep inspiring!
    Talia

    • Hey sweets! I haven’t yet seen them in a store — as far as I know, you’ve got to order online — but I’m sure they’re somewhere! Try calling WF to see. xo

  14. Thanks for the lowdown on kelp noodles. I”ve been wondering what all the fuss was about. I’m not a fan of sea veggies, but kelp nooodles sound like the perfect way to get the nutrition without the fishy-ness. And I won’t have to pull out the spiralizer!

    Your friend’s home and grounds are so lovely. What a nice place to be able to escape to.

  15. I can see why you love to visit your friend’s parent’s house; it is so gorgeous and tranquil! I especially love that hammock, I could see myself spending hours there with a good book.

    Those kelp noodles look gorgeous, I wish I could try them! I’d say they will finally start stocking those here in Saudi Arabia in oh, about 30 more years or so. About the time the stores start carrying such esoteric items as black beans, dairy free ice cream and spinach. That will be the day!

    I love your beautiful dinner idea, you can never go wrong with pesto! Congratulations to your friend!

  16. I was blown away twice in this post. Kelp noodles? My mind started wandering with possibilities.
    Then I saw the pictures of the house and the grounds…. oh my goodness. So beautiful. What a gorgeous home, and what a gorgeous-sounding family.

    My mind has now shoved kelp noodles out of the way and is fantasizing about a big beautiful house with lush welcoming grounds… *daydreaming*

  17. Gena-
    looks like you had a wonderful and relaxing weekend in Chatham with Chloe and family. So glad you were able to get away and enjoy life.

    I must try these kelp noodles! They sound fantastic.

  18. Wonderful post! I’ve seen those kelp noodles around and have wondered what they taste like…I think I’m going to check them out now. Beautiful pictures!

  19. Great post. I have heard of kelp noodles before though never had the courage to try them which is weird because I typically like trying new things. But now I will because I love my sea veggies (especially dulse flakes). My zucchini pasta is getting kinda old. LOL. Though I sometimes hand cut some other veggies like beets, parsnips, etc into little stripes which I mix with the zucchini pasta that way I get a variety of colors and shapes/sizes.

  20. Beautiful pics! Hydrangea brings me back to some of my favorite places.
    I am looking forward to getting some of these noodles! I’m guessing that if you soak them they become soft like wheat pasta??

  21. Neat. I’m not a huge fan of sea veggies because I find the fishy taste off-putting. I can handle nori on a sushi roll, but that’s typically where I draw the line. Actually, dulse flakes on tofu fish and vegan crab cakes is also okay. But since you say these don’t have a fishy taste, I really want to try them. They look delish with the pesto and veggies!

  22. Gena, thanks for introducing us to kelp noodles. I have NEVER heard of them until today, and will be sure to make use of them.

  23. Score! I just bought a package of those noodles! Now I know what to do with them 🙂

    And your pictures… beautiful! That house looks amazing. Like Martha Stewart should live there or something.

  24. Yeah, I’ve been in love with kelp noodles for quite some time…much more so than spiralized veggies. I’ve heard that the crunch factor tends to turn some people off (I guess they don’t like crunchy pasta) but I love it.

    And wow! That place looks beautiful and so relaxing. I can see why it is one of your happy places. I bet it’s very refreshing to visit after living in the city.

    I wish your friend the best of luck!

  25. How spectacular! Glad you had the opportunity to visit your happy place. 🙂

    The kelp noodles sound like a winner all around, especially if they taste good. I will trust you when you say they’re not fishy! Though as my love for dulse grows, I would probably be less bothered by the oceany-ness these days. Definitely making a mental note to try kelp noodles!

    And of course, an official congrats to Chloe. 🙂

  26. I have yet to try these noodles! They sound perfect for a pasta lover like myself! 🙂 Beautiful pics, thanks for sharing, congrats to Chloe!

  27. Thanks Gena. I just ordered these. I’ve been “eyeing” them for a while, but I can’t find them locally. After reading your post, I decided to spring for the 13 bucks in shipping! I’ve been incorporting more and more sea veggies into my diet – dusle, nori, wakame, and the like. Can’t wait to experiment with the kelp noodles now.
    Such a lovely place to visit. Looks like pure heaven. It’s awesome to have a place that can bring you back to center. For me and my husband, it’s Bermuda. Unfortunately, not as easy to make the trip all too often. ha ha.

    I see that you’re stiring up more “controversy” here. You sure do know how to strike that proverbial chord! ha ha…..Oh, to hell with them!
    You rock, girl!
    – Nancy

  28. Ah the healing powers of nature – there’s really nothing like a little escape from the city, especially when you have so many wonderful childhood memories to savor with your friend. Congratulations to Chloe on her engagement!!

  29. “cough! Pure Food and Wine” Loved that, hahahaha 😀

    INCREDIBLE weekend recap!! Kudos to Chloe as well.

    I’ve never tried kelp noodles before – they look intriguing… we shall discuss 😉

  30. I felt like I was there with you this weekend! What a serenely beautiful place to escape the city. After your review I’m very curious to try kelp noodles – I’ve heard of them but they never sounded appealing because I thought it would be like eating seaweed. After what you wrote I’m thinking otherwise. Thanks so much for sharing your little getaway with us – congratulations to Chloe! 🙂

  31. I have these same ones in my fridge right now! They are actually less crunchy after you top them with a sauce too. Yum. You are making me want to break them out right now 🙂

  32. I JUST saw these noodles yesterday online! I was going to ask you about them too, thanks for the post! I’ll have to pick some up.

    Aww, congrats to Chloe!

  33. I think you just discovered, or brought to the light, what could be the foodie equivalent of UGG boots…kelp noodles! I have a spiralizer on order thanks to you, and the million other people who seemed to have jumped on your spiralized bandwagon but the kelp noodles will be a great addition to my GF high raw vegan diet. Variety is key and I am excited to try these. The pesto looked really great too. Whenever I make pesto I somehow get the ratios wrong and it’s either too basil-ey or too pine nutty and not so hot.

    What a lovely friendship you have. Not only with Chloe but with her whole family. I wish I had a friend like that. And her family, too. Wow that’s so awesome that you are blessed with a connection like that.

    Thanks for the gorg pics too!

  34. Interesting products! I shall have to look into ordering it more when I am in the States.

    I have a question: I noticed when I would eat 100% or close to 100% my teeth felt so much cleaner than when I eat cooked food. Is it the lower sugar situation, so plaque isn’t as prevelant or something? It just got me really curious.

  35. What a gorgeous and peaceful looking retreat! I’m wishing I had skipped the shirataki and looked a little harder for the kelp noodles on my last Whole Foods trip. I’d read about them before but the whole kelp concept threw me off. Thanks for being the guinea pig for all of us!

    I second Chloe’s sentiment of what an amazing and supportive friend you are, and congratulations Chloe!!!

  36. The photos are beautiful. I love places that have so many memories – especially cherished childhood memories. It really is amazing that although time passes, some things never change.

    Kelp noodles.. I tried them once before and wasn’t impressed, but I think it’s only because I tried them plain. I think I’ll give them another shot though, but use a dressing or sauce with them this time.. or maybe try them in a soup.

  37. these photos are beautiful. kelp noodles are great – i discovered the world of seaweed noodles when i was looking for things to put into miso soup. bringing miso soupl somewhere is also a stealth way to stay raw. it’s still vibrant and living, just warm – and for some reason, that makes the Asian parents happy. 🙂

  38. wow, the photos are just so stunning. the gardens and plants divine. I am glad you have such a special friend and special place. it’s like the secret garden full of memories.

  39. Disclaimer: I am a cheese ball

    Gen, you are the best friend anyone could ask for. I want everyone reading this wonderful blog to realize the power and impact of unconditional friendship.
    My home is yours for as long as you need or want it.
    Keep up the amazing work!
    P.S. You told me you wouldn’t post that picture ; )

  40. I love this post… you really got me thinking about the places that are near and dear to my heart. So many memories evoked.

    And as for the kelp noodles- I happily discovered these stringy guys about 8 months ago and have been enjoying them ever since. Luckily my Whole Foods carries both noodle varieties and the sea veggies. They are so versatile and have served as a base for many a raw creations in my kitchen. Actually, I think it is fair to say that these noodles have helped me transition into a higher raw lifestyle. I love that no matter what kind of food mood you are in, the noodles can take on that request. Your post now has me a hankering for pesto, and I just so happen to have some cinnamon basil growing in my backyard!

    Congrats to your friend!

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