pancit with kelp noodles in a bowl with a glass and knife for Filipino pancit recipe

a low-carb Filipino pancit recipe

This Filipino pancit recipe is a low-carb and keto-friendly version you’ll love! With savory vegetables and tender bits of chicken tossed in a bed of low-carb noodles, this pancit recipe is as close to the real, rice noodle version that I grew up eating. Best of all, this is a healthier option, made with kelp noodles, and it takes less than 30 minutes to prepare!

low-carb Filipino pancit dished out in bowls with lemon wedges and green onions as garnish

what is pancit?

Pancit (pronounced PAWN-sit) is a noodle dish that is a staple of Filipino cuisine. Usually a combination of chopped vegetables sautéed with garlic, meat, and finished off with a boatload of noodles and soy sauce, pancit is sort of like a Filipino version of chow mein.

There are a few different variations of pancit, but this low-carb pancit recipe is closer to Bihon pancit, which is traditionally made with rice noodles (or vermicelli noodles). Super thin and almost transparent, rice noodles are delicious, but definitely not keto-friendly. Enter kelp noodles! They even look the same, and when prepared the right way, kelp noodles are the perfect stand-in for rice noodles, which you won’t even miss.

overhead of Filipino pancit in a cast iron skillet

This Filipino pancit recipe is:

  • low-carb and keto-friendly
  • simple to make vegan or vegetarian by swapping in tofu or omitting the chicken
  • easy to make and ready in under 30 minutes!
  • a healthy, Filipino-inspired dish!

what are kelp noodles?

Have you ever tried them? I have to say, they’re my all-time favorite low-carb noodle! Kelp noodles are low in calories and carbs and are completely flavorless, which means they take on the flavor of the dish you’re preparing (no seaweed taste whatsoever!). I’ve tried shiritaki noodles and miracle noodles, and while those work okay for many dishes, these kelp noodles are the best low-carb noodle for this pancit recipe.

There’s one extra step when using kelp noodles that I strongly recommend, and that is softening the noodles.

how to soften kelp noodles

When removing kelp noodles from the bag, you’ll find they’re wiry and pretty rubbery in texture. You can technically use them at this point, but for this Filipino pancit recipe, I recommend softening the kelp noodles first. This is an easy step, and please don’t skip it! Without softening the noodles, they may not become tender.

Here’s how to soften kelp noodles:

  • Place the kelp noodles in a bowl (I use kitchen shears to cut them at this point to make them a tad shorter)
  • Submerge them in water (cold or room temperature)
  • Add a tablespoon of lemon juice and a teaspoon of salt
  • Let them soak for 30 minutes to up to three hours
  • Rinse and use as the pancit recipe calls for

While I haven’t tried another softening technique, I’m intrigued by this one which I just discovered: tossing kelp noodles in lemon juice and baking soda. I plan on giving it a try next, and if you do, let me know how it works! It would eliminate the soak time and seems like it would work out great in theory.

ingredients for low-carb pancit

ingredients for this pancit recipe

Along with the kelp noodles, this Filipino pancit recipe calls for just a few other basic ingredients! Here is what you will need:

  • coconut oil or avocado oil
  • chicken thighs or chicken breast, cut into small pieces
  • green cabbage, sliced thin
  • carrot, chopped small
  • onion, diced
  • minced garlic
  • tamari or coconut aminos
  • salt and pepper
  • kelp noodles (I like the Sea Tangle brand which you can find at Whole Foods, an asian market, or Amazon)
  • sliced green onions
  • fresh lemon juice

This Filipino pancit recipe comes together easily, and is even quicker if you’re using leftover chicken.

my mama’s Filipino pancit recipe

I call this my mom’s recipe because I’ve adapted her authentic Filipino pancit recipe into a low-carb and keto-friendly version. So while the changes mean this isn’t truly an authentic Filipino dish, it’s pretty darn close, and she still deserves all the credit. 🙂

  1. Prepare the kelp noodles. Soak them prior to starting on the pancit. This can be done hours in advance, or you can soak them for 30 minutes and chop/prep the rest of the ingredients while waiting.
  2. Sauté. In a large skillet, heat the oil and cook the chicken pieces with the diced onion and carrot for about 5-7 minutes, or until the chicken is mostly done and the carrots are tender. Stir in the garlic and cabbage and cook for another couple of minutes to allow the cabbage to soften.
  3. Add the low-carb noodles. Pour in the tamari (or coconut aminos). Add the salt and pepper, and then add in the prepared kelp noodles. Stir everything so it’s evenly combined, working the kelp noodles into the sautĂ©ed chicken, veggies and sauce mixture. Cook for about 5 additional minutes. The pancit is done when the noodles are hot and most of the moisture has cooked out. Squeeze the lemon juice over the pancit and stir.
  4. Garnish and serve. When serving the pancit, top it with the diced green onions. Serve with extra lemon wedges.
Filipino pancit in a bowl with lemon wedges and a brown glass

pancit recipe tips

  • This Filipino pancit recipe is an incredible way to use up leftover chicken (or even pork or beef)! Shred it or dice it up, and add it to the mixture when you toss in the cabbage (instead of earlier with the carrots).
  • Don’t skip on pre-soaking the kelp noodles! If you do, they may not turn out tender, and will keep more of their initial rubbery texture.
  • Coconut aminos doesn’t carry as much of a rich, salty flavor as tamari. Feel free to taste and adjust, adding more of the coconut aminos or salt, if needed.
  • Please do not substitute rice noodles in for this recipe! Unlike kelp noodles, rice noodles need a lot more moisture (usually chicken broth) to cook, which I’ve removed for this low-carb version.

low-carb substitutions for kelp noodles

If you want to try out this chicken pancit recipe but do not have kelp noodles on-hand, thin, shiritaki noodles or Miracle noodles will work out well too! Or, make it a vegetable-forward dish and shred up cabbage to use as “noodles” instead!

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pancit with kelp noodles in a bowl with a glass and knife for Filipino pancit recipe

a low-carb Filipino pancit recipe

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

This easy, low-carb pancit recipe is made with keto-friendly kelp noodles, tender chicken, and a savory mix of garlic and vegetables. Ready in under 30 minutes, you'll LOVE this quick and simple Filipino-inspired comfort food!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil or avocado oil
  • 1 pound chicken breast or chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 small head of green cabbage, sliced thin (about 1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup tamari (or coconut aminos)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1, 12-ounce package kelp noodles (pre-soaked with 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 teaspoon salt- see recipe notes)
  • 1 lemon (use half for juice and cut half into wedges for serving)
  • 1/2 cup diced green onions

Instructions

  1. First, start by preparing the kelp noodles by soaking to soften. Please don't skip this step! Kelp noodles are rubbery and softening them results in a much better pancit. See recipe notes for instructions.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat for about 1 minute. Place the raw chicken pieces, the diced onion, and carrot in the skillet and cook for about 5-7 minutes. The chicken should be mostly done and the carrots should be slightly tender.
  3. Add the minced garlic and shredded cabbage to the pan. Cook for another 2 minutes to allow the cabbage to soften.
  4. Pour in the tamari (or coconut aminos). Add the salt and pepper, and then add in the pre-soaked (and drained) kelp noodles. Work the kelp noodles into the mixture, stirring them in until they are evenly dispersed among the rest of the ingredients. Cook another 5 minutes. The pancit is done when the noodles are hot and most of the moisture has cooked out. Squeeze juice from half a lemon over the noodles and toss.
  5. Serve the pancit with fresh green onion slices and extra lemon wedges.

Notes

To soften kelp noodles:

  1. Empty the package of kelp noodles into a bowl. You can use kitchen shears at this point to cut them and make the noodles a little shorter.
  2. Pour cold or room temperature water into the bowl and make sure the noodles are submerged.
  3. Stir in a tablespoon of lemon juice and a teaspoon of salt.
  4. Let the kelp noodles soak for 30 minutes or up to 3 hours.
  5. Drain, rinse the noodles, and set them aside for use.


If you do not have kelp noodles, you can follow this pancit recipe and swap in low-carb shiritaki noodles, Miracle noodles, or shredded cabbage.

This pancit recipe is a great way to use leftover chicken, pork, or even beef. If you're using already-cooked meat, add it to the pan along with the garlic and cabbage.

Coconut aminos has less of a rich, salty flavor than tamari. Add more of the coconut aminos if needed based on your own taste.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 156Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2.5gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 50mgSodium: 157mgCarbohydrates: 5gNet Carbohydrates: 3gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 24g

This nutritional information is approximate and is provided for convenience as a courtesy.

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