Rice noodles are a staple in many cuisines, including Thai, Vietnamese, and Chinese. They are versatile, gluten-free, and perfect for creating stir-fries, salads, soups, and noodle dishes. However, if you are looking for a healthier, lower-carb, or more varied option, you may want to try some of the rice noodle substitutes available in the market. In this article, we will introduce you to the 7 best substitutes for rice noodles and explain how to use them in your cooking.
What are Rice Noodles?
Rice noodles are primarily composed of two simple ingredients, rice flour and water, that have been used in Chinese cuisine for over 2000 years. Although they may not have the same playful shapes as traditional pasta, rice noodles are available in various forms, from delicate vermicelli to broad and silky rice sheets commonly used in dim sum. While rice noodles have a neutral flavor profile, they can effortlessly complement broths, bold sauces, stir-fries, or even curries, much like rice itself.
Best Rice Noodles Substitutes
1. Shirataki Noodles
Shirataki noodles are translucent, gelatinous noodles made from the konjac plant. They are low in calories, high in fiber, and have a unique texture that resembles rice noodles. To use shirataki noodles as a substitute for rice noodles, rinse them well in cold water, boil them for a few minutes, and drain them.
You can then add them to your favorite dishes, such as pad Thai, pho, or stir-fries. Shirataki noodles can absorb the flavors of the sauces and spices you use, making them a versatile and healthy option.
2. Zucchini Noodles
Zucchini noodles, also known as zoodles, are thin, spiralized strips of fresh zucchini. They are a low-carb, nutrient-rich alternative to rice noodles, and can be used in a variety of dishes.
To make zucchini noodles, you can use a spiralizer, a julienne peeler, or a sharp knife. Once you have your zucchini noodles, you can cook them in a pan with some oil, garlic, and salt for a few minutes, or eat them raw in salads or cold dishes.
3. Sweet Potato Noodles
Sweet potato noodles, also known as glass noodles or cellophane noodles, are thin, transparent noodles made from sweet potato starch. They are a popular ingredient in Korean and Japanese cuisine, and can be used in stir-fries, soups, and salads.
To prepare sweet potato noodles, soak them in cold water for about 10 minutes, boil them for 5-7 minutes, and drain them. You can then use them in your preferred recipes, such as japchae or hot and sour soup.
4. Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti squash is a winter squash that, when cooked, can be scraped into thin, spaghetti-like strands. It is a versatile and low-carb substitute for rice noodles, and can be used in a variety of dishes, such as spaghetti squash carbonara, spaghetti squash pad Thai, or spaghetti squash stir-fry.
To prepare spaghetti squash, cut it in half lengthwise, remove the seeds and fibers, and bake it in the oven for 30-40 minutes. Once it’s cooked, use a fork to scrape the flesh into strands, and season it with your favorite sauces and spices.
5. Bean Thread Noodles
Bean thread noodles, also known as glass noodles, are thin, transparent noodles made from mung bean starch. They are a popular ingredient in Southeast Asian cuisine, and can be used in soups, salads, stir-fries, and spring rolls.
To prepare bean thread noodles, soak them in hot water for about 5-10 minutes, rinse them in cold water, and drain them. You can then add them to your dishes and cook them for a few minutes, or use them as a filling in your spring rolls.
6. Soba Noodles
Soba noodles are thin, brownish noodles made from buckwheat flour and wheat flour. They are a staple in Japanese cuisine, and can be used in hot and cold dishes, such as soba noodle soup, soba noodle salad, or soba noodle stir-fry.
To prepare soba noodles, boil them in water for about 5-7 minutes, rinse them in cold water, and drain them. You can then add them to your preferred dishes, and top them with your favorite ingredients, such as tofu, vegetables, and nori.
7. Eggplant Noodles
Eggplant noodles are thin, flat strips of eggplant that can be used as a low-carb and nutrient-rich substitute for rice noodles. They are easy to make, and can be used in dishes such as eggplant noodle lasagna, eggplant noodle stir-fry, or eggplant noodle salad.
To make eggplant noodles, slice a medium-sized eggplant into thin strips, sprinkle them with salt, and let them sit for about 30 minutes. Rinse the eggplant strips in cold water, and pat them dry. You can then use them in your preferred recipes, either raw or cooked.
In conclusion, there are many substitutes for rice noodles that you can try in your cooking. From shirataki noodles to eggplant noodles, each substitute has its own unique texture, flavor, and nutritional benefits.
By experimenting with different substitutes, you can discover new flavors, textures, and ingredients that can enhance your dishes and your health. So next time you crave a noodle dish, try one of these rice noodle substitutes and see how it can transform your meal!