Kelp Noodles and Aduki Beans with Carrot, Avocado, and Ginger Sauce

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It’s the week of speedy raw lunches!

Today’s recipe came to me at random, as I was attempting to prep for a bio lab. I had half an avocado, tons of carrots (I always have tons of carrots on hand for juicing), half a cup of aduki beans that were left over from a batch I cooked up in the rice cooker this past weekend, and…and what? I knew I could throw these all into a salad, but suddenly, it dawned on me: I had a bag of kelp noodles that had been sitting around for quite a while. I love kelp noodles because they offer the crunch of salad with the general aesthetic and feel of pasta. And it’s very easy to control how soft or crispy they are.

How? Well, when I’m not in the mood for kelp noodles that have a bit of crunch in them (which all of them naturally do), I simply heat a pot of water till it’s quite hot, but cool enough for me to stick a finger in quickly. I turn off the heat, add my kelp noodles, cover them, and let them steam for about ten minutes. I then drain and serve. This is a very easy way to make the noodles softer and more palatable, especially if you’re not familiar with their texture.

As usual, I’m sure a few of you are wondering where to get kelp noodles. My answer: I order them online, either directly from the Sea Tangle Company or through Amazon. You can find kelp noodles at many health food stores and Whole Foods, but many still don’t carry them, and I find that it’s very easy to simply order a pack of six. They have a seemingly endless shelf life, and I use them often enough that it’s absolutely worth it for me!

So: I had the ingredients I needed for an excellent raw lunch. Here’s what I did with them.

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Kelp Noodles and Azuki Beans with Creamy Carrot Avocado Sauce (high raw, vegan, gluten free)

Serves 1

For the sauce:

1/2 large avocado
1 large carrot (or 2 small), chopped
1 tsp fresh minced ginger (or powdered)
2 pitted dates
1 tbsp nama shoyu or tamari (I try to use reduced sodium)
1 cup water
Juice of half a lemon

Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender till smooth.

For the pasta:

1 package kelp noodles (Yes, I eat about a package for a meal. You can definitely split this between two people! Or just cut down on the noodles.)
1/2 cup aduki beans (fresh is loveliest, but BPA-free canned beans are fine, too)

Mix the beans and noodles, and top with about half a cup of sauce. Mix and serve with some fresh greens, vegetable crudites, steamed broccoli, or raw crackers (or a mish mosh of all of the above!). A sprinkle of nutritional yeast is nice here, too.

The sauce is delectably creamy, and the ginger gives it a nice bite:

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There’s a lesson here: when you’re wondering “what should I eat for lunch,” do a quick inventory of what’s in your fridge. Think about what you can use for a sauce or dressing, what you can use as a protein, what you can use as a source of complex carbs (energy!!), and what might work as a “base.” By base, I simply mean whatever is going to take up the most volume in your meal: for me, it’s usually greens (a salad base, for instance), but it’s often also zucchini noodles, kelp noodles, or a grain. Then, think about flavor pairings (carrot, avocado, and ginger are heavenly together), and mix it all up. It’s that simple!

Complex recipes are great when you have time for them, but when it comes to making a high raw lunch on the fly, this little “system” tends to work for me.

Speaking of time, my blogging time is running short. Till tomorrow, friends!


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  1. Gena- I love the speedy lunches with easy on hand ingredients. Your rolls inspired my lunch yesterday- mixed greens, sunflower seeds, apple, carrots, cabbage, sugar snap peas and ginger miso dressing! I didn’t have any nori, but your combo sound so delightful I had to improvise! Happy Friday!

  2. i see you have the same issue as i do knowing what to call those beans…aduki? azuki? adzuki? either way, they are quite tasty. this recipe is starred!

  3. Great timing, I just bought kelp noodles to try and had no idea what to do with them! Was thinking some kind of almond butter /lime/tamari kind of thing but I’m going to try this one tonight!

    Hey, what other sources of protein do you (or other readers!) recommend when we’re putting together these quick meals besides beans? Beans and tofu make me a bit too gassy even after years of eating them. Lately I’ve been doing 1/4 to 1/2 cup nuts but would love some other alternatives if there are any 🙂

  4. I adore your blog & love your recipes. You mentioned that it’s easy to control how soft or crispy the kelp noodles are. I would love to know how you do this. Mine always turn out a bit too crunchy & I’m not certain how to soften them up. Thanks so much for sharing all your wonderful insights & wisdom. You are a treasure!

  5. This is an awesome recipe!!! I just saw kelp noodles at my local grocery store and really wanted to buy them, but had absolutely no idea how to use them-Thanks for the recipe! 🙂

  6. Thanks for the tip on creating a balanced meal. I bring my lunch to work every day and I need to get better at making healthier meals.

  7. This looks wonderful and I already know I’ll made it as soon as I can find kelp noodles. Have you had any luck locating them in DC? I haven’t, so far, but have had them at Cafe Green and love them.

  8. That sounds delightful. Carrots are possibly my favorite food (I always have a ton of them even though I don’t make juice) and I think they go particularly well with avo for dressings.

    Might be worth mentioning that there’s about 20 calories in an entire package of kelp noodles, so it’s hardly outlandish that you eat the whole thing!

    I love how you ‘unpacked’ the process of making a delicious meal on the fly based on what’s in the fridge–it’s such a fun way to create.

  9. Great post, Gena! Thinking outside the (lunch)box like this is what makes healthy eating fun and do-able for the long term. I bought the ingredients to make your parsnip rice with caramelized butternut squash yesterday- I can’t wait to make it! I’m going to seek out those kelp noodles. Happy eating!

  10. You always amaze me with your ability to whip up deliciousness on the fly 🙂 Looks great! Kelp noodle are one of those raw ingredients I just haven’t gotten around to trying yet.

  11. That looks sooooo good, and it is a very beautiful color. Ginger, lemon, a bit of sweet and tamari/shoyu/soy sauce is a blend of flavors I’ve been enjoying very regularly. Thanks for sharing! XO

  12. You can sprinkle lemon juice on your kelp noodles,than let them set for half hour .This softens them without having to cook them.

  13. Or, if you live in not-America, just dream of making this sauce and eating it with a spoon while you sit in a hotel room after two 14 hour and one 10 hour work days with no access to kelp but a bag of coleslaw mix from the convenience store and a block of Lindt 85% in front of you.

  14. I know you love your kelp noodles. I am more of a zucchini noodle fan. Something about the crunchy factor of the kelp I think. But the sauce…nice! Anything that you can blend up and make creamy and rich and it be a FAST endeavor is fab.

    Don’t study too hard 🙂

  15. This sauce sounds so wonderful! I’ve been craving lots of ginger lately and this sounds like it would hit the spot. Plus that avocado.. you just can’t go wrong!

  16. I have found kelp noodles to have a distinctly fishy taste to them (not surprising!)…do you have any suggestions for removing or masking this? The carrot sauce looks lovely.

  17. This looks delicious and I will be eating this tomorrow!
    Two questions:
    1) How many grams is one package of kelp noodles?
    2) If I was to substitute gluten-free soy sauce for the nama shoyu…would it be equal measures?

    Thanks for coming up with and posting recipes when you have all that school work! It is greatly appreciated. I, too, am in school and know that it is hard to balance school with everything else!

    All the best!

  18. I like your tip for how to build a balanced meal from whatever is in the fridge. So simplified which is what it should be! And kelp noodles are awesome-I tried them this summer, so fearful they would taste fishy or sea-like, but they are awesome! And I love that they have iron and calcium 🙂

  19. I’ve never had kelp noodles, but I’m excited to give them a try! I also wouldn’t have thought to combine carrot, ginger, and avocado…sounds fabulous. 🙂