Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Paleo Noodles . . . sort of!

I don't miss pasta for the most part.  I can't say as I ever really liked the taste of it by itself, but it was nice to pair it with a tasty sauce for added texture/filling.  When you think of spaghetti, you automatically think sauce + noodles, right?  So what happens when you go paleo and noodles are no longer an option?  What exactly do you serve that sauce on? Just meat by itself?  Well, sure, you can do that but I still feel like the dish needs a 3rd texture to round it out.  (By the way, since we are nightshade free I have an awesome nightshade-free recipe for spaghetti sauce in Cavemom's Cooking!) 

I like serving the sauce over meat served on top a bed of shredded raw zucchini, but it's still not quite what I was looking for.  Serving it over a bed of leafy greens works too, but again . . . not quite what I wanted.  I even tried shirataki noodles . . . they had zero flavor of their own and are too processed for my liking.  Then, at the grocery store, I found dried woodear mushrooms. 

This edible fungus has an interesting history of uses (I'll let you look that up).  I've tried them a couple different ways - tossed into dishes dry and let the moisture of the dish reconstitute them, which may leave some of them still crunchy, or simmered them to reconstitute.  Personally I like woodears just a little bit crunchy, but I liked the texture of crunchy noodles too.  Reconstituted they have a kind of rubbery texture, but it's not too terribly different than pasta. By themselves, woodears don't have a strong flavor, but they do complement dishes nicely.  They can be purchased whole or shredded/sliced, which would make them much more noodle-like; I got mine whole.  You'll probably have better luck finding them online than in most grocery stores unless it's holiday time.   A word of warning for the grocery stores though:  Around here all you can get is a 1 oz package for $4 - $9.  Pretty expensive! They can be found online in bulk for much cheaper, which is how I'll be sourcing them from now on.

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