I wish I could take credit for thinking of this idea for perhaps the most exciting D.I.Y. Friday recipe post yet—but I can’t. That honor belongs to Michelle Beck, a super helpful fellow reader (if you’ve asked a question on Facebook, there’s almost as much of a chance that she’ll answer as I will!). These D.I.Y. instant noodle cups are going to be responsible for classing up my husband’s work lunches (which to date have consisted of planned leftovers from the previous night’s dinner and out of alllll sorts of kindness he never ever complains) in a real hurry. These gluten free instant noodle cups have the perfect balance of robust flavors, just like the store-bought kind, but without any of the gluten—and without any of the M.S.G.
Even though the gluten free ramen noodles (don’t worry I give every detail imaginable for where to find gluten free ramen noodles, plus what to use in their place if necessary) look like the star of the noodle cup show, the real belle of the ball is the homemade gluten free vegetable bouillon powder. If you’ve never heard of nutritional yeast flakes, or heard of them but thought they were for hard core vegans only, you’re in for a treat. These inactive yeast flakes, along with of course exactly the right blend of spices, make for a super flavorful bouillon without having to resort to a store-bought bouillon package. A D.I.Y. Friday miracle!
Right in the center of the photo above, you’ll see gluten free miso paste. The miso paste, along with a bit of soy sauce, makes for the most glorious “umami” flavor. Good thing I don’t have to say “umami” out loud, because I think I’d feel like a poseur. Oh, and if you’re ever stumped on how to keep fresh scallions at home without having to care for them like they were your children, I’ve got tips for that in the recipe ingredients list below.
Once you layer in the easy-to-prepare fresh ingredients in these noodle cups, just store them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve (at home or at the office—and if you think your kid might be able to get the cafeteria staff at school to fill the cup with hot water, these would be absolutely amazing for school!). Then, fill with hot water, cover and let steep for 2 minutes, and serve. That’s it!
Of all the D.I.Y. Friday posts we have done in the last number of weeks, this is the one that has me craving the recipe every time I look at the photos. Oh, and the D.I.Y. Gluten Free Vegetable Bouillon has tons and tons of other possibilities. I can hardly wait! Think I could get away with gluten free instant noodle cups for breakfast? 😉
1/2 cup (40 g) nutritional yeast flakes*
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons onion flakes (can substitute 1 tablespoon onion powder)
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon wasabi powder (if you can’t find it, leave it out)*
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon coconut palm sugar (can substitute regular granulated sugar)
4 “nests” gluten free ramen or rice noodles*
2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
3/4 cup shredded carrots (from about 2 medium carrots)
1 cup cubed extra-firm tofu or diced cooked chicken
2 tablespoons gluten free miso paste*
4 teaspoons gluten free soy sauce*
1/4 cup Bouillon Powder
1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped fresh scallion greens*
- Nutritional Yeast—I used Bragg brand “Nutritional Yeast Seasoning,” and I find it online, in my local health food store and in Whole Foods. Bob’s Red Mill also makes a gluten free “Nutritional Food Yeast,” but I haven’t tried it. Nutritional yeast is an inactive form of yeast, and has a mild nutty and cheesy flavor. I’m not planning to sprinkle it on all my food, but I do love it in this bouillon powder.
- Wasabi Powder—I use Eden brand wasabi powder, as it’s reliably gluten free. I find it online and in my local health food store.
- Ramen or Rice Noodles—King Soba brand “brown rice ramen” is a gluten free ramen noodle. I bought mine on amazon.com, and have really loved it. I have also used Happy Pho brand brown rice noodles, also purchased on amazon.com, which also come in separate “nests,” which is perfect for portioning in these instant noodle cups. Annie Chun also makes gluten free Maifun rice noodles.
- Miso Paste—Miso paste is traditionally made from barley, which is of course off limits on a gluten free diet. But there are a few reliably gluten free brands of miso paste now. I have used both Eden brand gen mai miso (which I really like, but it can be a bit hard to find) and Organicville gluten free miso pastes, which I found at Whole Foods. If you can’t find miso paste, try adding some Fish Sauce for the pronounced “umami” flavor that miso delivers so well.
- Soy Sauce—I usually use Kikkoman brand gluten free soy sauce or San-J brand Tamari gluten free soy sauce. Bragg brand Liquid Aminos is also a great choice.
- Scallions—It took me absolutely forever to figure this out, but I finally know how to handle keeping scallions on hand without treating them like a houseplant and having them become slimy right when I finally need them. Now, when I buy fresh scallions, I wash them and chop them, then spread them in a single layer on a lined rimmed baking sheet. Then, I place the baking sheet in the freezer until the scallions are frozen stiff. Then I transfer them to a zip-top bag and store them in the freezer. They defrost very quickly when removed from the freezer, and I can use as many or as few as I like. And once they’re frozen, they don’t smellat all, so no worries about a smelly freezer.
First, make the bouillon powder. Place all of the bouillon ingredients in a medium-size bowl and mix to combine well. Place in a resealable glass container (a small mason jar works great), and set aside.
Next, cook the noodles one nest at a time according to the package directions or by boiling them in about a quart of water until they separate and begin to soften. Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking, and set them aside briefly.
To assemble the instant soups, set out four heat-safe jars that can accommodate about 20 fluid ounces in volume (I used 19.6-ounce straight-sided Weck jars). In each jar, layer the ingredients in the following order: 1/2 cup spinach leaves, 1/4 cup shredded carrots, 1/2 cup tofu or chicken, 1/2 tablespoon miso paste, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, one nest of softened noodles, 1 tablespoon bouillon powder and, finally, scallion greens to taste (at least 2 tablespoons). Cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- When ready to serve, fill each container with boiling water (leaving a small space to permit covering the container) and cover tightly. Allow the container to steep for 2 minutes. Open, stir gently and enjoy.
- Buy Noodle Cups here:
- Adapted from Serious Eats Instant Noodles.