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D.I.Y. Friday: Gluten Free Instant Noodle Cups

D.I.Y. Friday: Gluten Free Instant Noodle Cups

If you love ramen noodles, this recipe for gluten free instant noodle cups will prove that gluten free ramen noodles are real—and should be quick, easy and delicious!

Gluten Free "Instant" Noodle Cups

These D.I.Y. gluten free 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.

They have the perfect balance of robust flavors, and they’re endlessly customizable. Just like the store-bought kind, but without any of the gluten—and without any of the M.S.G.

D.I.Y. Gluten Free Vegetable Bouillon

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.

Gluten Free "Instant" Noodle Cups

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.

How to prepare Gluten Free "Instant" Noodle Cups

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 the school age set!).

All that’s left to do at lunchtime is to fill the cup with hot water, cover and let steep for 2 minutes. Then serve hot. That’s it!

Gluten Free "Instant" Noodle Cups

Every time I look at these photos, I find myself craving a pot of these lovely noodles. 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?

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Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 4 noodle cups

Ingredients

Bouillon Powder
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)

Instant Soup
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*

*Ingredient details and sources:
  • 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—Some types of miso paste are made from barley, which is of course off limits on a gluten free diet. Others are made from soybeans. There are a few reliably gluten free brands of miso paste. 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 smell at all, so no worries about a smelly freezer.

Directions

  • 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.

  • Adapted from Serious Eats Instant Noodles.

Love,
Nicole

  • Swoon! I thought my ramen days were over. We lived in Japan when I was small and ramen to me is the most comforting soup. Plus I seriously have a thing for nutritional yeast which sounds odd but I love the taste. Thanks Nicole!

    • So glad, Laura! If you love nutritional yeast, you’ll be over the moon for the bouillon. :)

  • Michelle

    I can’t wait to make these! Thanks so much!

    • You have the best suggestions, Michelle!! *mwah*

  • Linda

    Thanks for this – my daughter has also been lamenting her lack of Ramen noodles (although she only ever had them once, pre-diagnosis at a friend’s house – I OD’d on them in college and can’t imagine buying them now!). Quick question – how long will they stay good in the refrigerator?

    • Mare Masterson

      Linda, real Ramen is awesome! So different than what we get in those packages in the supermarkets.

    • I would say they’d be good in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, Linda. But you can have them ready fast if you keep the ingredients on hand, including the bouillon powder, and then just cook the noodles quickly and assemble the cups. I keep cooked, cubed chicken in the freezer pretty much all the time, and then defrost in the refrigerator. That makes very quick work of these!

  • Susan

    I’m so making these for my college kiddo! Where did you find the glass jars??

    • They’re Weck jars, the 19.6 fluid ounce size. They’re the straight-sided mold jars. You can find them online all over, and in Crate and Barrel (online and in store), Susan.

      • Susan

        Thank you!

  • Claudia

    I’m so very excited! I love ramen noodles…..and have been (like your husband, eating leftovers as my lunch). Going to prep these this weekend for lunch next week.

  • Mare Masterson

    I love you more and more each day!! Michelle, thank you for being responsible for this one!! Hugs and kisses ladies!

    By the way, next book is preordered! I cannot wait!

    • So glad you’re into this, Mare! Thanks for preordering, too. :)

    • Michelle

      I was excited that Nicole wanted to tackle these!

  • DianeR

    Sooo….do you think that these can be frozen? Maybe once everything is thawed, the hot water could be added? I realize some of the veggies may get a bit limp but….?

    • I keep cooked, cubed chicken in the freezer pretty much all the time, Diane. And the bouillon keeps in the pantry for a long time, plus I keep the scallions in the freezer as I explain in the recipe. From there, the whole thing is assembled in a flash. I think that’s a lot better than assembling ahead of time.

      • Jennifer

        That is genius! It sounded like so much work, but your tips will help, thanks!

  • DianaDP

    I would love to know where you got those containers!

    • Please see my answer below, Diana! They’re Weck Jars. Love ’em.

  • MelissaBee

    How far ahead can you make and store these to use later?

    • Please see my answer below, Melissa! :)

      • MelissaBee

        Thanks, that makes sense!

  • Jennifer S.

    Yum! I have researched GF ramen noodles in the past without much luck so excited to hunt your favorites down. looks super yummy!

  • Katie

    Actually, not all miso paste is made with barley. Quite a few brands (cheap ones, found at the Asian Grocery,) are made with rice. You just have to read the ingredient lists. I think Shirakiku makes rice-based white and red miso.

    • Anneke

      Did you read through the whole post? Nicole says “traditionally made with barley” and gives several non-barley options for the miso paste. She clearly says to cook the noodles. Finally, the last line says “adapted from Serious Eats.” I have never seen Nicole post an adapted recipe without giving credit to the source.

      • Katie

        I didn’t accuse her of plagarizing. I just noted that I had read it there before.

        And with the miso paste — the way the sentence was phrased implied that miso paste was traditionally made with barley, when in reality a variety of grains were and are used. Rice-based miso is just as traditional as barley-based miso. So gluten-free miso does not require a trip to Whole Foods, or buying expensive brands online.

        And I didn’t see that. Thanks! Some rice noodles don’t require pre-cooking, so I was a little confused.

        • Michelle

          Serious Eats is where I originally found the recipe, but the noodle soup recipes there are so complicated, I knew Nicole could come up with a simpler version for all of us, and she did. These are completely different from the ones on Serious Eats.

        • Katie, I’m glad you find it very easy to source reliably gluten free miso. That has never been my experience, as I do not trust the gluten free status of most foods at the Asian grocer, so I figured it probably wouldn’t be the experience of others. As has already been explained, I adapted this recipe from Serious Eats, which I sourced in the recipe. My recipe is heavily adapted.

  • KristiC

    I need a “LOVE” button. J misses Ramen. Woohoo

  • go_nelly

    where’d you get those nice tall glass cups with lids?

  • Shelley

    Yes, I would like to know where to purchase those tall glass cups!

  • MelissaBee

    One more question: how much bouillon does this recipe make? I’d love to make enough to have it on hand for other recipes…

    • Hi, Melissa, As written, the bouillon powder recipe makes just under 3/4 cup. You could certainly double it, and keep the bouillon in a sealed container in the pantry or refrigerator. I definitely plan to keep it on hand forevermore!

  • gumby

    There are some awesome buckwheat ramen noodles out there (I get mine from the gluten free mall), they would be heavenly in this recipe! Thanks for the idea! :)

  • Beverly Sedler Triplett

    Is there anyone who sells ramen noodle bowls already made it. It would be so much more easier for me with my work schedule and hours. I am trying to find GF items that are ready to go except for heating, adding water etc. But not making myself.

  • MotherHenna

    My all time fav miso now is South River. They do a lot of rice based, but they do an incredible chick pea miso (if you can tolerate chick peas, of course!). I do find them easily at a local alternative grocery, but you can order them online when they become available each year — they do sell out! It keeps forever though, so we sometimes order a bunch to get through to the next season. There’s info here: http://www.southrivermiso.com/store/p/4-Chickpea-Miso.html They also have a chick pea based tamari. Haven’t tried it yet, but that would be an interesting alternative to soy sauce, I think. Thanks for the *awesome* post on these noodle cups! Can’t wait to try King Soba noodles!

  • Mary Garrard

    I would use pint canning jars for this kind of thing. I can often find them at thrift stores or garage sales for very little, often a quarter per jar. I also use the white plastic lids sold alongside the canning jars in most stores that sell such items. That’s a less expensive alternative to the Weck jars.

  • Susan P

    This looks amazing! I haven’t been able to find a bouillon that doesn’t have MSG which I’m allergic to, any suggestions for a resource? For now, I make my own chicken stock and freeze in ice cube trays. It would be convenient to have the mix all together. Thanks!

    • Anneke

      A big part of the recipe is the homemade bouillon powder, scroll through the whole post and Nicole tells you exactly how to make it.

  • Jill Allmandinger Moyer

    Where did you find the soup cups for this recipe?

  • Lucy

    Looking good Nicole! Love this DIY :)

  • Lynn A. Decker

    I use Nutritional Yeast on roasted cauliflower — spread the florets on a baking sheet with the oil of your choice (I use grapeseed) and some kosher salt. Lay it flat, and sprinkle with Nutritional Yeast. Roast at 400F for about 20 minutes, then flip and sprinkle this side with more Yeast. If any of the florets are looking dry, drizzle with a bit more oil before adding Yeast. SO YUMMY.

  • Jennifer

    I skip the wasabi, but in soup bowl I add a blob of kimchi. Om nom nom :)

  • Jennifer

    I’ve been craving cup o noodle but was advised not to eat instant noodles anymore because of my stomach issues. Am I glad I found this recipe that incorporates all fresh ingredients. Who knew there were so many spices and seasonings in those cup o noodles?? I didn’t have yeast flakes but I had chicken bullion cubes I used in place of it and I used Asian veggies and fresh noodles from the Asian market for even fresher taste. Hits the spot!! Thank you for sharing this recipe, I no longer have to eat the unhealthy instant noodle anymore!

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