Updated: Apr 5, 2020
I have a confession to make. I am an ex- pasta addict.
I used to be pasta obsessed, and certainly not fussy. I couldn't cook at the time, so I'd just opt to eat it plain with tomato sauce and cheese. Usually I'd help myself to seconds. There you have it - my staple meal was a mammoth hit of 100 + grams of refined carbohydrates, a sugary processed sauce on top and a tiny bit of fats and protein. There's very little value here in terms of micronutrients. It didn't do my body any favours.
I've pretty much made a full recovery from my pasta addiction. It was a bitterly hard habit to break at first (there may have been tears).
Today, while I wouldn't say no to an authentic, hand made pasta dish (who would?), I have no desire for plain, processed pasta.
Like any food, pasta itself isn't 'bad' or 'good'. It's just that my tendency was to consume it in ridiculous quantities, far more than I needed. And even though I adored pasta, it didn't particularly like me. While I didn't realise it at the time, it later dawned on me that white, gluten-laden and carb-heavy pasta didn't really agree with me. A hearty pasta meal would usually sit in my belly for hours, and make me feel incredibly full and sluggish. I put up with this because I used to think it was normal, but after I cleaned up my diet I came to the realisation that food shouldn't make you feel unpleasantly full or bloated.
Still, the pasta fiend lives on in me.
Cabbage noodles is one of my favourite vegetable dishes. It's a perfect base for a low carb meal because it will fill your plate and your stomach. If you miss your high carb favourites (think pasta, bread, rice), this will help to make the transition to low carb meals a bit easier. If you're like me, I notice that I feel so much better eating lots of vegetables and less processed carbohydrates. Most of the time, I would happily choose cabbage noodles instead of pasta because it satisfies my appetite and tastes delicious.
Like any food, pasta itself isn't 'bad' or 'good'. It's just that my tendency was to consume it in ridiculous quantities, far more than I needed.
How to make cabbage noodles
(Directions for half a cabbage.)
First, remove the tough outer leaves of the cabbage and place the cabbage half flat side down on a chopping board.
Start at one side and slice length ways until you reach the core of the cabbage to make long, thin strips.
Repeat this for the other quarter of the cabbage. After this, chop the cabbage that is left and discard the tough centre.
Chicken satay cabbage noodles
My favourite way to use cabbage noodles in a complete and hearty meal. I add chicken for protein, and peanut butter and spring onions for flavour and crunch. A perfect choice if you're after a lower carb, higher fat meal that's not just meat and greens!
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 to 30 minutes
Half a cabbage (any kind), thinly sliced
1 kg chicken thighs
4 spring onions, sliced
Crunchy peanut butter, 1 tsp per 100 g chicken for flavour
Melt a tbsp of butter in a pot and add the cabbage noodles. Season with a pinch of salt.
Toss the noodles in the butter and cook until the noodles start to wilt, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Add about a cup of boiled water to the pan, and cover for 5 minutes or until the noodles are tender. Add more water if needed (or chicken stock if you have it! See notes below).
Drain noodles and set aside.
Pan fry the chicken over medium heat until golden brown and crisp. For best results, this takes about 20 to 25 minutes on each side for the fat to render and the skin to crisp.
If desired, pull apart the chicken thighs into chunks.
Add the spring onions and stir until combined. Cook for 1 minute.
Stir in the cabbage noodles.
Stir in peanut butter.
Add fresh parsley as a garnish.
For extra flavour, use chicken stock instead of water in step 3. This will make the noodles taste silky and salty like chicken noodle soup!