If you’re following a low-carb or keto diet, shirataki products are your best friends. Since they’re so low in calories and carbs, these wonder products are often used in main dishes that are served warm—as a replacement for traditional pasta, for example—as well as in warm side dishes. But shirataki products also suit cold salads perfectly, as you’ll see in this recipe for my Green and Crunchy Shirataki Rice Salad.
This recipe is also a very good example of how veggies can be extremely low in carbs. You can eat a lot of them, but you won’t consume a significant amount of calories or carbs in the process! Even better, green veggies are full of nutrients that do great things for your body and your mind.
Serve this crunchy, delicious salad as a side for chicken, meat or fish. And don’t forget to drizzle it with plenty of olive oil- and vinegar-based dressing, or healthy homemade mayo!
Tips for making the Green and Crunchy Shirataki Rice Salad
Because shirataki rice is the base of this salad, you’ll want to use a high-quality product, which will keep weird odors to a minimum. Lower-quality shirataki products often smell—well, if not rotten, then at least a bit unpleasant. Just buy good-quality shirataki products, remember to rinse them properly and any odd smells should disappear. I order mine from Germany. On Amazon, this product seems to have relatively good reviews.
As for the capers, you can certainly use larger capers if the 1-2 tablespoons that the recipe calls for isn’t enough for you. I would suggest 5-10 large capers, depending how much you love (or hate!) them. (Actually, if you hate capers, you might want to check out my tips for variations at the end of this post. If this applies to you, you’re not alone. When you take a close look at them, they are full of tiny spots, which remind me of frog skin. And that means that capers (please don’t lose your appetite!) remind me of tiny frogs. I know it’s weird, but I just had to get that off my chest!)
Anyway! Let’s take a look at how to make this crrrrunchy salad:
First, prepare the shirataki rice according to the package instructions. Usually you have to rinse it for about a minute under cold water. It doesn’t need to be boiled or heated, as we are making cold salad here.
Leave the shirataki rice to drain in a colander or sieve.
Chop enough leeks…
…to fill about 1/3 cup (80 ml).
Chop 2 stalks celery, too.
And a small deseeded green bell pepper.
Now, add the drained shirataki rice to a bowl.
Add the leek…
…and the bell pepper.
Add tiny frogs—I mean, capers—to taste, too.
Toss well so that all the ingredients are well combined.
Transfer to a serving bowl.
Eat as is…
…or serve with a vinaigrette (hint! The Quick Raspberry Vinaigrette recipe in my Low Sugar, So Simple book is a wonderful dressing for this salad), or with a homemade mayonnaise-based dressing. (Yup, there’s also a Foolproof One-Minute Mayo recipe in my book; if you don’t have the book already, get it now!)
My Green and Crunchy Shirataki Rice Salad experiments
Since I’ve posted so many filling, stick-to-your-ribs recipes lately, I thought now would be the perfect time for something fresh and light. Some kind of salad, maybe. With plenty of low-carb veggies, the salad I was imagining would be very low in calories and in carbs—yet big on nutrients.
I scrolled through my list of ideas. After pondering it for a long time, a salad with fennel, tomato, onion, capers, and avocado sounded attractive: I very seldom use fennel, even though it’s a great low-carb veggie, best eaten raw in salads. But somehow I wasn’t satisfied with that idea, so I went back to the drawing board. I definitely wanted a crunchy, nutritious salad, packed full of green stuff.
Another appealing recipe would have been a salad with steamed kale, Belgian endive, walnuts, blue cheese and some craisins (aka sugar-free dried cranberries). Belgian endive can sometimes be challenging because it’s often bitter. I love Jamie Oliver’s recipe with Belgian endive, anchovy, capers, lemon juice, olive oil and S&P. It tastes amazing, and best of all, there’s zero bitterness from the endive! I got the recipe from Oliver’s Kochen mit Jamie Oliver, which is the German translation of (I think!) The Naked Chef.
There was just one problem with that salad: with all those walnuts and cranberries, it sounded way too Christmassy. Maybe I’ll hold onto that idea until the holidays roll around again, I thought.
Well, I came up with another idea that enchanted me even more: how about if I used shirataki rice in my salad? I’ve almost always used it in warm dishes, but I bet it would work in a salad, too. And even though I often use shirataki (especially as a side dish for my hubby), I haven’t posted too many recipes with shirataki. Actually, this blog has no recipes involving shirataki at all (as far as I can remember…) but in my The Ultimate Weight Loss Kick-Start 7-Day Keto-Paleo Meal Plan there is a Skinny Tuna Pasta recipe that uses shirataki angel hair noodles.
In addition to shirataki rice, I wanted my salad to include lots of crunchy, green low-carb veggies. Which veggies would work best with shirataki rice?
Celery stalks and green bell pepper sounded good: they’re crunchy and delicious, and both are full of nutrients and extremely low in carbs. I was also thinking about using some kind of onion to add flavor, as shirataki rice is pretty bland on its own. Leek would be just perfect: it’s super-healthy (helps with methylation) and is full of nutrients.
I was still afraid that the salad might be too bland, though, so I decided to add capers for a piquant saltiness that would really make the flavors pop.
So, now I had all my ingredients: shirataki rice, celery stalks, green bell pepper, leek, and capers. Already the combination sounded ideal: it would be crunchy, nutritious and delicious — and, of course, low in carbs!
But I still had one question: how much of each ingredient I would need to use? I wanted to use one bag (7 oz = 200 g) of shirataki rice. That meant I had to adjust the other ingredients accordingly.
I started jotting down amounts on my laptop. I thought 1/3 cup (80 ml) chopped leek, 2 celery stalks, 1 small green bell pepper (or 1/2 large one) and 1-2 tablespoons capers (those tiny ones) might do the trick.
I combined the shirataki rice and the chopped veggies on a plate. Last, I added 1 tablespoon capers. Hmm. That might have been enough, but to maximize the taste, I added another tablespoon. I also was wondering if I should reduce the amount of leeks to 1/4 cup (60 ml) instead of 1/3 cup (80 ml), but first I wanted to see how the salad would work with more leeks instead of less.
After mixing the ingredients I did a taste test. What a crunch! The salad was so nice to bite into, and the taste was wonderful. Thanks to my careful planning, I’d used exactly the right amount of each ingredient, including the leeks.
The salad was really tasty on its own, but I thought it would benefit from a vinaigrette or homemade mayonnaise-based dressing — and either of those options would provide some fat, too, as this salad is very low in calories (a real slimmer’s dream!)
After eating this salad, my son demanded to know why my breath smelled so bad. I said I had eaten some leeks, which contain sulfur. Believe or not, those weird odors are a good sign: the sulfur in veggies promotes detoxification and a healthy immune system. It’s worth the (temporary) evil breath!
Anyway, here is the recipe. I hope you like this crunchy salad as much as I do!
- 1 package (7 oz = 200 g) shirataki rice
- 1/3 cup = 80 ml chopped leek
- 2 celery stalks, finely sliced
- 1 small green bell pepper or 1/2 large one, chopped into cubes
- 1-2 tablespoons capers
- Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.
- Toss well.
- Transfer to a serving plate.
- Serve with a vinaigrette or homemade mayo-based dressing.
|Nutrition information:||Protein||Fat||Net carbs||kcal|
|In total:||3.2 g||0.8 g||7.0 g||68 kcal|
|Per serving if 2 servings in total:||1.6 g||0.4 g||3.5 g||34 kcal|
Tips for variation
Personally, I love capers. They are like tiny, flavorful pearls (I’m trying to stop myself from thinking of frogs now!). However, if you don’t like them, you can replace them with dill pickles. Not a good choice? (I know many of you hate pickles, too.) You won’t do any harm by omitting the capers altogether. The leek and your choice of dressing will provide all the flavor you need.
You can make this salad into a full meal by adding shrimp (my favorite variation! — plus, lots of mayo for dressing). Cooked chicken is the second-best option. Ham also makes this salad wonderfully hearty. Actually, any meat or even fish will do.
You can even grate some Parmesan cheese on top of the salad: that will add extra flavor, too, especially if you have omitted the capers. Or, try adding feta cheese: it tastes great and also makes the salad also more satiating.
In the photo, I use dressing that I’ve made with my Foolproof One-Minute Mayo, chopped basil, and S&P. I had to add a little bit water to make the dressing runnier. It tasted superb with this salad!
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