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Paleo Pen Pals- Sept

In August I discovered Paleo Pen Pals, it is a site where people who lead a Paleo lifestyle can swap ingredients and come up with new recipes and then not only share them with each other, but also the whole Paleo Pen Pals community. I am always up for a challenge in the kitchen, so I thought it would be fun. I enjoyed my first experience with it (see previous post-Fruit and Nut Bark ), so I signed up again.

This month I got paired with Danielle from Massachusetts. Danielle sent me something I have not used in the kitchen before, Miracle Noodles, they are noodles made from Shirataki. She sent me three packages of them, which are 7 ounces each. They were ziti, fettuccine and rice.
She also sent me a can of wild caught tuna. Upon reading other Paleo Pen Pal submissions, I know that you don't always have to use all the ingredients sent to you in one dish, but I thought it would be fun to do so in this case.

So, as I began to think about noodles and tuna, I thought, tuna casserole? Hmm... that could be interesting. I have never really been a tuna casserole fan and I was pretty sure my companion would have been like, "what, ew!". Therefore, I knew my challenge would be re-inventing the tuna casserole. I had recently bought some kalamata olives which got me thinking about a Nicoise salad and then it hit me- Nicoise Tuna Casserole! Oh boy!

I chose to use the ziti Miracle Noodles for this dish. Danielle included a note for me with the package that stated you need to rinse the noodles well (which it also said on the package) and upon opening them, I knew why you cannot skip this step. The noodles come in a plastic, liquid filled bag and when I cut it open I was overwhelmed with the smell of a fish tank. Rinsing the noodles in a colander resolved this. Danielle's note also suggested sauteing the noodles in a pan alone before adding other ingredients, I think this worked well also- so thanks for the tip. Here's the recipe:


1 7 oz package of Miracle Ziti
1 x oz can of wild caught tuna
approx. 10 grape tomatoes halved
a handful of pitted kalamata olives, chopped
1/4 cup of walnuts finely chopped
a handful of capers
splash of olive oil

1 clove of garlic, sliced

2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon "bouquet garni" which is a Spice Blend that I buy at a little shop in Princeton, NJ.
juice of 1/2 lemon

Rinse your noodles well under running water. Shake off excess water. Add a splash of olive oil to a hot skilled and then add noodles. Once the noodles begin to soften, add your tomatoes, olives and capers, mix well and also to cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until your tomatoes start to soften. Add the green beans and stir well.
The gang's all together
While this continues to cook, make your vinaigrette but adding your mustard, vinegar, anchovy paste and salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisking well, while whisking, incorporate a little olive oil until you reach desired consistency.
The vinaigrette

Now that your skillet mix is heated through and the flavor have begun to incorporate, remove from heat and place in a bowl. Add your tuna to the bowl and pour vinaigrette over the mixture and stir well, adding your bouquet garni seasonings. Now dump it all into a greased 8x8 baking dish, squeeze a little lemon juice on it and top with chopped walnuts (I put mine through the food processor to make them like a breadcrumb crust you might use in a traditional casserole). I then baked this a 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, just long enough for the whole thing to heat up and the walnut crust to brown.

The verdict? It was tasty. If you like a Nicoise salad, you'll enjoy this. The salty flavors from the olives and capers pair nicely with the tang of the mustard. The walnuts provide a nice texture difference to the tuna and noodles. The noodles are a little slimy, but do a good job of standing in for real noodles.

I generally don't look for "substitutes" for things like noodles or bread, as I do just try to eat mostly fresh veggies, fruits, meats and seafood. If I'm in the mood for pasta, pizza or bread, I just have the real stuff because I am not sure the alternatives are any better for me. That being said, I did like the noodles and couldn't find any definitive info saying they were on the no-no list for paleo. I probably won't hunt them down and buy them for myself, but I am already thinking of fun stuff to do with my two remaining packs.

So, thanks Danielle for the fun adventure in Miracle Noodles!


  1. I order Nicoise salad whenever I see it available in restaurants, so I'm sure I'd love this!


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