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Sesame Kelp Noodles

Sesame Kelp Noodles

Low carb gluten free kelp noodles with sesame sauce make the perfect Paleo treat.

Back in the 1990’s, before I was gluten free, I ordered my fair share of sesame noodles from greasy Chinese restaurants. That was when I lived in New York City.  Even though it’s been a long time since I’ve eaten in a Chinese restaurant, that hankering for a good gluten free sesame noodle recipe has never gone away, so I’m happy to have created this one after numerous attempts.

This recipe for sesame noodles is made with low calorie kelp noodles (not that calorie counting is my thing). Kelp noodles also happen to be very low carb. Better than that, I think you’ll find these noodles to be a delicious gluten free side dish on a hot summer’s night. They’re also perfect for a potluck.

If you’re looking for a super healthy summery raw kelp noodle recipe, check out one of my favorite websites, inphyusion.com.

Sesame Kelp Noodles


  1. Soak kelp noodles in a large bowl of warm water for 30 minutes
  2. Rinse noodles thoroughly, then drain and transfer to a dry bowl
  3. In a separate small bowl combine almond butter, sesame oil, ume vinegar and sweetener
  4. Toss noodles with sauce
  5. Serve

I like to serve this gluten free noodle dish with:
Thai Chicken Wraps
Salmon Kabayki
Sesame Salmon Burgers

I’m just thrilled about kelp noodles. When I gave up legumes last fall I thought I had given up gluten free noodles for good. I’m glad I was wrong! Please note though that kelp noodles do have a seaweed-ish type crunch to them and their texture is different from that of regular noodles and pasta.

How do you like your noodles? Have you tried kelp noodles before? What noodle dish can you not live without?

posted on June 13, 2012, 65 comments

  1. tejota @ misstejota.com

    Looks like a great recipe. I can’t wait to try it.

  2. Healthy Living Val @ tipsonhealthyliving.com

    I was so interested in the kelp noodles from your last post so I’m excited to see a recipe to try. This looks super simple. I don’t know where to get plum vinegar so may have to hit an Asian grocery or try it with rice vinegar.

  3. Amy

    Thank you so much for posting a recipe with kelp noodles! My local butcher has been thinking about stocking them, so hopefully I will have a source soon and will be able to try this out.

    I just wanted to mention, though, that there are other gluten-free legume-free noodles, and if you haven’t given them a try you should definitely check them out! You can get noodles made from sweet potato starch in most asian grocery stores (or my major chain sells it in the asian section), just read the ingredients and ensure that you’re buying the ones that are made purely of starch and not with flour. They’re translucent like vermicelli, long and stringy like spaghetti, and crunchy like the above. And they’re dry, not refrigerated.

    Also, you can make noodles out of zucchini with a julienne peeler (super tasty in asian dishes and cheese sauces), or my favourite summer noodle is spaghetti squash, baked and then turned into strings with a fork. It’s like magic, and is fantastic under spaghetti sauce!

  4. Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy @ glutenfreehappytummy.com

    that sounds so delicious! i love the idea of that fabulous sauce on kelp noodles! thanks for sharing!

  5. Kate@ eatrecyclerepeat @ eatrecyclerepeat.com

    I like to eat kelp noodles in laarb gai – a thai salad made with chicken (my favorite) or pork.

  6. What a fantastic sounding recipe! I’ve had problems in creating anything edible from kelp noodles. They would suit perfectly to my simple low-carb lifestyle, but the texture and taste are simply not palatable — at least I didn’t succeed in creating anything proper. But this sounds great, and since I’ve ordered a big bunch of almond butter to bake my Simple and Fluffy Gluten-Free Low-Carb Bread, there are still few jars left and I have even better reason to try out this recipe! Thank you so much, Elana! So simple and ingenious!

    So far I’ve used shirataki noodles and I like those with curry paste, coconut milk or heavy cream and maybe some vegetables, like onions, zucchini or bell pepper. The same recipe doesn’t somehow work for kelp noodles, don’t know why. I’ve tried kelp noodles also in soups and salads, but maybe they need something nutty and creamy like almond butter, and some oriental condiments to taste the best.

  7. Megan@BlueStarVermont.com @ bluestarvermont.com

    I love how easy this dish sounds. Kelp feels like just the right addition to my diet. Thank you so much for yet another great recipe.

  8. Thank you for this recipe – sounds great! One the strength of your kelp noodle posts, I purchased some — and they are wonderful! They are just like a bite of crunchy lettuce and perfect for summer dishes. I’m going to try this soon!
    (and the kelp noodles really are low calorie — best used with some food with a dense nutrional and caloric count!)
    Thanks again!

  9. Sarah

    Where can kelp.noodles be purchased?

  10. Meghan @ After the Ivy League @ aftertheivyleague.wordpress.com

    Yum! There’s nothing better than a heaping bowl of sesame noodles, so delicious, simple, and comforting!

  11. I haven't heard of kelp noodles, but these sound so delish! @ thelady8home.com

    I haven’t heard of kelp noodles, but these sound delicious.

  12. Amber

    This sounds delicious! I hated kelp noodles the first time I tried them but I made them again on Monday and they were so good. This time I soaked them in half lime juice and half boiling water for about 4 hours while I was in class, then came back home, brought them back to a boil and threw them in the sauce for a couple of minutes so they could absorb the flavor and there was no crunch at all! They tasted just like rice noodles, perfect for Asian style dishes.

  13. Tressa B

    YUM! I searched all over town for these last weekend and nobody had them, not even Whole Foods. I guess I’ll have to order them online.

  14. How would you compare them texture-wise to Voodles or Spaghetti Squash?

  15. Joelle

    I wonder if this would be good with a different nut/seed butter. I’m not a fan of almond butter.

  16. I love the simplicity of this Elana. Delish. I still need to seek out some of that ume plum vinegar – I’ve never tried it!

  17. Sonya

    What would be a good substitution for the plum vinegar? Any ideas?

  18. roxanne

    This looks delish! I love kelp noodles and I love ume vinegar so I’m excited to try this out. Thanks for this!

  19. Diane

    I placed an order online for kelp noodles after your last post on them, and made them for the first time last week, using a Nom Nom Paleo recipe I found on Pinterest. My family loved them! This recipe looks delish and I can’t wait to make it. Keep the ideas for kelp noodles coming :)

  20. Alexandra

    I have been waiting for a great kelp noodles recipe for sooo long! And I have too missed chinese food terribly. Thank you soo much! YAY!~

  21. I have not tried kelp noodles and I need to change that. A great recipe girl! Hope you are well :)

  22. janet @ the taste space @ tastespace.wordpress.com

    Looks great. I love how simple it is. Funnily enough I also posted a recipe with kelp noodles today as well: http://tastespace.wordpress.com/2012/06/15/thai-mango-lima-bean-and-noodle-salad/

  23. Yum! I hadn’t thought about kelp noodles before, but I do have some mung bean noodles and yam noodles in the cupboard that this sauce would be perfect with. Thanks so much!

  24. These are so good! I had all the ingredients and threw it together for lunch today. I think I have a new addiction!

  25. Linda Wagner - Nutrition to Invigorate Mind, Body and Spirit @ lindawagner.net/blog

    I have a package of kelp noodles that have been sitting in my pantry for months!! Think I’ll give this recipe a try!

  26. Wow, this looks so wonderful! Ever since I became gluten free I’ve avoided most noodles with a ten foot pole, and the ones that are gf tend to be too mushy. thank you for sharing this recipe!

  27. Melissa @ glutenfreeforgood @ glutenfreeforgood.com/blog

    I haven’t tried kelp noodles, but will be after reading this recipe of yours. The creation in your photo looks so creamy and comforting. AND healthy, which inspires me to give it a try. Good one, Elana!

    Gosh, I’m just having the best time snooping around your blog and catching up on your posts. Such good stuff over here at Elana’s Pantry!

  28. SunnyB @ andloveittoo @ andloveittoo.com

    I made Paleo Pho with kelp noodles today. Even on a hot summer day, the fresh herbs and spices were so delightful. These noodles are great (and guilt-free)! I cannot wait to try your recipe.


  29. Erika

    Thank you for this recipe! I made it tonight when I wanted something simple and comforting, but didn’t want the bulk of rice pasta. After soaking I boiled the noodles to heat them up. I also omitted the sweetener and added about a tablespoon of wheat-free tamari.

    It was completely delicious and just what I wanted. Wonderful!

  30. Karina

    I adore macaroni and cheese!

  31. I tried kelp noodles once and wasn’t a huge fan. Maybe the soaking will help. This sauce definitely makes me want to try them again :)

  32. Danielle

    I tried these even though I was really nervous about the “kelp noodles” I picked some up from whole foods because I thought it would make a great no cook paleo meal for the summer. The noodles still had a bit of “crunch” that reminded me of eating smelt eggs or roe that I was having a hard time with (all mental nothing to do with taste) but after a few hours of sitting in the sauce they actually lost the crunch completely so I would either make in advance or maybe boil the noodles like others recommended. After I threw the sauce together and tasted I made the following changes which I liked: 2 cloves crushed garlic, 1-2tbs fish sauce. If I had a lime I would have added a squeeze of that as well. It was nice and light and I will do it again and continue to change up the flavors!

  33. Emily Cherniack

    Thanks for the recipe Elana! I made them today and the noodles were delicious! I substituted peanut butter for almond butter and it’s a great summer dish I’ll keep making again!

  34. Rachel

    Thanks for the wonderful recipe, Elana! Since I’m allergic to yeast, I substituted Bragg’s Liquid Aminos for the Ume Plum Vinegar. I also found that the longer the noodles sat in the almond butter/sesame oil/liquid aminos mixture, the softer they got. So fun and super easy. Thanks for yet another wonderful recipe!

  35. Trista

    Great recipe! To make it a meal, I added beef and broccoli. I also substituted red wine vinegar for ume plum vinegar. Turned out delicious and my toddlers even ate it!

  36. Dawn

    Is there a way to cook kelp noodles, so that they are not crunchy, but are soft instead?

  37. Hannah @ Hannah's Healthy Heaven @ hannahshealthyheaven.com

    Awesome recipe! I miss noodles and I’ve really been wanting to try these. Thanks Elana :)

  38. Natalia

    Dear Elana,

    Thank you so much for your blog – I am new here, but have already started making, and enjoying!, your recipes and your story of slow rebuilding of your health has touched me deeply (I have been diagnosed with an autoimmune condition myself not long ago, and went through giving up gluten, then grains, and discovery of the SCD and GAPS diet, so your story resonated with me deeply.)

    I have a question about kelp noodles, but also some of the other ingredients that you use (e.g. agar flakes and arrowroot), and it is my understanding that those (being starchy) are not allowed on SCD. Could you–or anybody who knows–advise me on this?

    Thank you very much in advance.

  39. I use kelp noodles to make pad thai… their crunch is quite nice with the typical pad thai ingredients, and if you’ve got fish sauce and crushed peanuts and lime, plus an egg and your veggies of choice, it’s a really healthy meal… I also add kelp noodles to thai takeout curry, to make it healthier and so I don’t overeat accompanying rice.

  40. Julie Kenel

    Can I use sesame oil in place of toasted sesame oil?

  41. Leticia Villarreal Sosa


    I just wanted to post a warning about the iHerb company that sells the Kelp Noodles. I wanted to let you know that my package was not delivered and they refuse to refund my money or send me a new package with the order. The package was delivered to the wrong address and they told me that they will not refund my order unless they receive the original package back. I have already contacted the address where it was delivered and the package is not accounted for. I am very upset about this and frustrated at their very poor customer service.

    So I just want you to beware that if you are going to order from iHerb and something goes wrong, you will not be refunded or get your order.


  42. Wei

    Discovered kelp noodles while on a primal/paleo diet. Tried this recipe, it was absolutely amazing! But I did modify slightly – added 1 tsp minced garlic, 1 tsp minced ginger and about 1 tbsp of chopped scallions. I didn’t have any ume plum vinegar, so I tried with sherry wine vinegar, it was just as good if not better! Oh I also added about 2 tbsp of tamari (dark gluten free soy sauce) and 2 tsp of thai sweet chilli for extra kick. It turned out to be one of the greatest noodle dishes I have ever made.

  43. Sue

    My husband and I went grain free about 6 months ago and I am always on the lookout for new ideas. Thanks for posting. Now to find kelp noodles….

  44. Hi Elana! Just discovered your website and wow. Guess I’ll probably be checking in daily from now on. I’m a newborn paleo enthusiast myself, and your paleo recipe list is so extensive. Thank you!

    I haven’t read through all the previous comments, but I was wondering (I pose this to other commenters, since Elana is unable to answer comments): What is your take on shirataki noodles? They’re supposedly carb and calorie free, but I thought glucomannan was a carb?

  45. erica

    i’ve been doing some googling and apparently if you soak the noodles in an acid (just a lemon/water mix or even vinegar), the noodles will truely soften! look it up!

  46. J

    Hi, I just tried your recipe and it was very tasty. Prior to serving, I soaked my kelp noodles in lemon juice mixed with water for a couple of hours and then i boiled it for 10 minutes. The noodles were super tender and didn’t crunch at all. I absolutely adore your website. I’m constantly on it. Keep up the good work. I love it

  47. Nancy

    No thanks…it is not SCD legal food. Too high in polysaccharides.
    Next recipe!

  48. sa

    This recipe is SO good.

    I add red cabbage, red onion, tomato, and sometimes broccoli and it is STUPID amounts of amazing.

    Thank you!!

  49. Love this recipe keep them coming. Thanks

  50. Yael

    You can purchase this brand at theire website, it is 50% lees than amazon. I purchased this brand box of 12, they are the best.

  51. Thank you so much! I’ve been paleo only two weeks and I’m thrilled so find something creative to do with kelp noodles.

  52. Katelyn

    How many people does this recipe serve?

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Comments are greatly appreciated! Unfortunately Elana is not able to answer substitution questions, as the only way to know if something works is to test it, and she does not provide this service. If you have a substitution question, please don't hesitate to leave a comment here, and another reader may jump in to answer. ↑ back to top