Peanut Sesame Kelp Noodles with Shrimp and Vegetables

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 Ask anyone in my family, and I might be the most stubborn person they know. Watching a TV show I didn’t get to pick? It wouldn’t happen in the house I grew up in. Making sure that play time involved arts and crafts all day, every day? You bet. Not getting to open the biggest Hanukkah present on the first night? Oh, there’d be a tantrum for sure. And needless to say, I always had the last word, and it was always the right one. Obvi.

Of course, this might all be part of my territory of being the oldest in the family and the only girl. Can you say princess?

You might think that given my stubborn tendencies, I’d be one to form an opinion and stick with it. And actually, that’s not always the case. I’m very open to hearing others’ thoughts and have been known to sway. Even when it comes to food. Take beets, or olives. I had to try them both about 10 times before I finally liked them. No, make that loved them. Now I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I tried kelp noodles a few months ago for the first time and I was less-than-impressed. Actually, it was one of the least blog-worthy dinner I’d ever made. Ick. Kelp noodles may be low-calorie (practically calorie-free, in fact), all natural, and gluten-free, but seriously, the taste of that dish had me wondering what all the fuss was about.

I knew I’d give them another shot, eventually, but for the time being they went on the back burner. I sort of forgot about them until Elana posted a recipe for kelp noodles in a creamy sesame-almond butter sauce. I swear, you could drown anything in nut butter and I’d be all over it. Elana also noted a step I missed the first time around: soaking the noodles prior to using them in a recipe.

You see, if you go about eating kelp noodles expecting them to be some miracle low-carb substitute for regular pasta, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. Not that I did that the first time around; rather, I tried to appreciate them for what they were. But since I found them crunchy, plastic-y, and tasting somewhat of the sea (remember, they are made from seaweed), I found that a little difficult. Soaking the noodles softens the texture a bit, and gets rid of the briny undertone. They still retain some crunch, though, so just remember that when you go to use them. I probably wouldn’t pile them with marinara sauce and turkey meatballs, but toss them with some light seafood and fresh, crisp vegetables, and you’ll have an easy, no-fuss dish you want to enjoy all summer long.

Need more convincing? A serving of kelp noodles naturally contains 15% of the daily recommended intake of calcium. Can your regular pasta give you that? Didn’t think so! Actually, make that 30%. Because a bag of kelp noodles contains 4 servings at a mere 6 calories each, I have no problem whatsoever splitting the whole thing with my husband, so we are actually getting twice the calcium.

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Peanut Sesame Kelp Noodles with Shrimp and Vegetables

Yield: 2 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 35 mintues

Calcium-rich, gluten-free kelp noodles tossed with a simple peanut-sesame sauce, steamed shrimp and fresh crisp vegetables. Delicious warm or chilled.


1 package kelp noodles
¼ cup natural creamy peanut butter (try substituting almond butter or sunflower seed butter if you need to avoid peanuts)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon ume plum vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons water, or more as desired
8-12 oz peeled, deveined shrimp
1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
1/2 of a medium red pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 bunch of asparagus, tough ends removed and


Drain and rinse the kelp noodles and place in a large bowl. Add enough hot water to cover (hot water from the tap is fine, it doesn't need to be boiling) and set aside for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine peanut butter, sesame oil, ume plum vinegar, honey and water in a small blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add more water to thin out, if desired.

Place a steamer basket over a pot of boiling water. Add vegetables, cover, and steam for 3-4 minutes, until crisp-tender. Transfer to a bowl.
Add shrimp, cover, and steam for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to the bowl with the vegetables.

Drain the kelp noodles and place in a clean, dry bowl. Pour the peanut butter sesame sauce over the noodles and toss to coat. Add the vegetables and steamed shrimp, and toss again. Serve immediately, or chill and enjoy later.

Cara Lyons,, adapted from Elana's Pantry.

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21 Responses to “Peanut Sesame Kelp Noodles with Shrimp and Vegetables”

  1. 1

    janet @ the taste space — July 16, 2012 @ 7:24 am Reply

    Kelp noodles definitely need to be prepared properly and used with the right recipe.. I find light, citrus, Asian recipes work really well with kelp noodles but I also use them as a component for a giant salad with a creamy dressing at times, too. This looks like a great dinner.
    The plastic feel diminishes if you let them sit for a day or two as leftovers, which is what I prefer.

  2. 2

    Joanne — July 16, 2012 @ 11:22 am Reply

    There have been quite a few things in my life that I’ve had to try more than once to get myself to like…sushi being the one that comes to mind first, but also honey mustard, bubble tea, honey. I’m weird that way.

    But we’re the same in that you could cover ANYTHING in a nut butter and I would eat it. Seriously. I have to get me some kelp noodles.

  3. 3

    Alta — July 16, 2012 @ 1:29 pm Reply

    Okay, fine, I need to get on it and order some kelp noodles! I can’t find them anywhere. This looks SO good.

  4. 4

    Alisa — July 16, 2012 @ 1:43 pm Reply

    with peanut sauce is my favorite way to eat kelp noodles! I hadn’t tried the 30 min soak though, I will give that a try as I do like them softened a little.

  5. 5

    Maggie — July 16, 2012 @ 5:15 pm Reply

    I am so with you on that first experience Cara! I will be trying the nut butter idea out soon 🙂 I love plant-based sources of calcium!

  6. 6

    Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) — July 16, 2012 @ 7:44 pm Reply

    This looks perfect! I think it’s completely normal to try things numerous times to get a feel for them. Love, like or hate. I need to get my hands on some kelp noodles immediately!

  7. 7

    Kate — July 16, 2012 @ 11:05 pm Reply

    I’m stubborn too – but I never got my way!

  8. 8

    Lexie — July 16, 2012 @ 11:41 pm Reply

    Well done review … honest. I concur with you on these. : ) Beautiful dish!! xoLexie

  9. 9

    Kim-Cook It Allergy Free — July 17, 2012 @ 12:24 am Reply

    Okay. I have not tried them yet either. They taunt me every time I am at the store and I always say that I will pick them up next time. I think I will totally follow the idea of soaking them for a while though as I had heard that the crunchy texture is what throws a lot of people off.
    By the way, the photos of these are amazing… 😀

  10. 10

    Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy — July 17, 2012 @ 11:56 pm Reply

    oh my gosh healthy pad thai!! YUM!!

  11. 11

    Carol — July 22, 2012 @ 6:18 pm Reply

    Yum, love this! I am drooling right now!

  12. 12

    Kasey — July 24, 2012 @ 2:31 pm Reply

    I’m interested in making this recipe, but it doesn’t say anything about cooking the zucchini or asparagus. I’m assuming these should also be steamed? This part of the recipe is unclear.

    • 12.1

      Cara — July 24, 2012 @ 2:40 pm

      Hi Kasey,
      You are right, thanks for pointing that out! I had to double check too, and check my notes to confirm that yes, the veggies were steamed. I updated the instructions. Sorry for the inconvenience!

    • 12.2

      Kasey — July 24, 2012 @ 2:44 pm

      Thanks so much, Cara!

  13. 13

    Jenn @LeftoverQueen — August 22, 2012 @ 4:57 pm Reply

    Thanks for the tip about soaking. I have some kelp noodles and I ate them with peanut sauce just quickly stirred in the pan and I was not super impressed. I will try soaking them a bit first next time!

  14. 14

    nancy — October 7, 2012 @ 5:18 pm Reply

    Just had some kelp noodles for the first time today. Wanted something low carb low fat. I made some soup low fat chicken stock, garlic and onion in little olive oil, added mushrooms and steamed vegies. A little red pepper flakes for taste then added the kelp noodles . I let them all simmer for a few and the noodles were great . I just can not wait to made something else with this great find..

    • 14.1

      Cara — October 7, 2012 @ 6:03 pm

      I bet they are really good in soup, I’ll have to try it!

  15. Pingback: Kelp Noodles <3!! | Miss Allergy Fit

  16. 15

    Julie uk — September 23, 2014 @ 4:05 pm Reply

    Thank you for the recipe- this is the first time I’ve made Kelp. I didn’t have the vegetables you had so I used broccoli, cabbage and carrots instead. I also added a happy dash of fish sauce and a bit of soy sauce for depth. It was amazing! Thanks 🙂

  17. 16

    Julie uk — September 23, 2014 @ 4:10 pm Reply

    Oh I also used apple cider vinegar as I didn’t have plum vinegars, I also roughly ripped up some fresh Thai basil and added an extremely finely chopped raw garlic clove.

    • 16.1

      Cara — September 25, 2014 @ 7:09 pm

      Thank you for the feedback – so glad you liked it! Kelp noodles can be a lot of fun 🙂

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