If you've never tried kelp noodles, I highly recommend. They are a seaweed-based raw alternative to regular pasta (read: gluten-free, non-starchy, all delicious).
While many people get their daily intake of iodine from eating dairy or processed, refined foods containing iodized salt, sea vegetables like kelp provide a hefty dose of this essential mineral, which has been linked to improved thyroid function and lowered rates of depression and anxiety. Products like Wonder Bread contain iodine, but it's in the form of iodized 'dough conditioners' - yum? Kelp is a whole food, plant-based alternative that provides us with the iodine we need to keep hormonal systems functioning well.
Delicious and helpful? Score.
For the vitamin and mineral conscious, know too that sea vegetables are chock full of Vitamin K, magnesium, calcium, and folate. (This reads a little like a prenatal vitamin label, no?)
Kelp noodles are highly versatile, and great for even the world's laziest cook.
Allow me to explain the process for preparing noodles:
Really! That's it. No cooking, no pots and pans, no electricity if you so choose. (Isn't it nice to have food you can make in the dark?)
At this point, I like to cut each strand in half, just to make them a little easier to work with and eat. Individual strands can be over 12" long, so they can be tricky to maneuver. Use a sharp knife or a pair of (clean) kitchen scissors to break them up a bit before moving onto the next step:
Saucing and tossing!
Because kelp on its own is flavorless, it will take on the essence of whatever you add to it. I've made these with a miso tamari tahini sauce and with an almond miso glaze [1 tbsp almond butter, 1/2 tsp miso paste, 1 tsp tamari; stirred vigorously until blended]; they also work well with the basil pesto I've been putting on EVERYTHING this past year.
To celebrate the sudden arrival of autumn, this week has been pretty pumpkin-y, and that's what we have here: vegan pumpkin alfredo!
Milk and cheese-based dressings - like caesar, alfredo, and cream sauce - are high in calories, animal fat, and (if they're packed), processed sodium and sugar... finding a vegan alternative is a nice way to continue having 'treats' like this without the less-than-awesome-for-us elements. Cashews and avocado make excellent replacements for these, and provide healthy monounsaturated and saturated fats (which are great for brain and nerve health, joint lubrication, and allowing us to experience feeling fullness).
For this recipe, soak your cashews for at least an hour; if you can soak them overnight, even better! Soaking activates powerful enzymes inside the nut that are really beneficial to rebuilding our cells; also, when they're a little soggy, they blend better.
Grab the colander. Grab the blender. Let's make noodles!
- 1 12-oz package kelp noodles, drained, rinsed [cut strands in half if you wish]
- 1 cup cashews, soaked overnight [or for an hour if that's what you have time for]
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 2/3 cup pumpkin
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tsp sea salt
- Combine cashews, yeast, pumpkin, water, and salt in food processor and blend until smooth. Add more water if needed to reach an 'alfredo-like' consistency.
- Transfer noodles to a mixing bowl and add sauce. Toss to coat.
- Sprinkle with gomasio [sea salt + sesame seeds] if you like, and serve!
- We topped ours with steamed zucchini and a roasted beet. It was ridiculously good.