Gluten-free vegan zucchini noodle japchae

A few years ago I came across sweet potato noodles in an Asian grocer and I bought them because they were surprisingly gluten-free. The noodles sat on a shelf in my cupboard for a good six months before I finally settled on what I would do with them: make japchae, also known as Korean glass noodles.

My brief foray into Korean food started with japchae and ended with kimchi. And when I say japchae and kimchi, I mean that I really didn’t give much else a go (in my defense, Korean food isn’t well suited to both a gluten-free and vegan diet).

Finding sweet potato noodles can sometimes be like finding a needle in a haystack. Without them I could have gone for regular rice noodles, or even pasta but I decided to push myself towards something even healthier and landed on zucchini noodles.

Full disclosure, zucchini noodles really don’t do it for me. I’ll eat them from time to time, in the spirit of being healthy, and when I crave something light. Nothing is ever going to tear me away from my beloved carbs.

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Gluten-free vegan zucchini noodle japchae
Serves 2

1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 brown onion, sliced
2 spring onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, julienned
1/2 cup shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 tbsp gluten-free soy sauce
2 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp coconut sugar
1 cup spinach leaves
3 zucchinis, spiralised
1 tbsp white sesame seeds, to serve
Small handful of chives, to serve

Heat sesame oil over a medium heat and add onion, spring onion, garlic, carrot and mushrooms. Cook for five minutes.

Add soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and coconut sugar to the pan, followed by the spinach. Cook for one minute before adding the zucchini noodles, then cook a further two-three minutes until zucchini is heated through.

Divide into two bowls and sprinkle sesame seeds and chopped chives.

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Gluten-free vegan savoury breakfast muffins | Zucchini and tomato muffins

A couple of weeks ago I tried imitation Tim Tams that were gluten-free and vegan. Sadly, they were a disappointment. The real thing was always my weakness growing up. I wouldn’t be able to control myself around them; my sweet tooth took over.

Fast forward to now, my sweet tooth has been cured. Case in point when it comes to sweet muffins. I’m spending my days dreaming of savoury muffins, something the old me would have scoffed at.

These gluten-free, vegan, savoury breakfast muffins are the most moist I have ever come across. This is all thanks to almond meal, zucchini, tomatoes and – most importantly – caramelised French shallots.

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Gluten-free vegan savoury breakfast muffins | Zucchini and tomato muffins
Makes 6-8

3 large French shallots, finely sliced
1 1/2 cups almond meal
1 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup arrowroot flour
1 tsp bicarb soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 flax eggs (2 tbsp ground flax + 6 tbsp water)
1 cup water
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
Juice of half a lemon
Zest of a whole lemon
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 zucchini, grated
1 handful basil, roughly cut
1 bunch of chives, roughly cut (optional)
1 tsp sumac
1 tsp beetroot powder

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C.

Heat oil in a wide pan and add French shallots. Let cook over a medium heat until shallots are starting to catch on the bottom of the pan. Add 1/2 tsp water and continue to cook until onions turn golden brown and caramelise. Set aside.

Mix almond meal, brown rice flour, arrowroot flour, bicarb soda, baking powder, flax eggs, water, coconut oil, and lemon zest and juice until lumps-free. Then add tomatoes, zucchini, basil, chives, sumac and beet powder and mix until combined. Make sure the zucchini is evenly mixed throughout the flour and not sticking together in clumps.

Evenly scoop mix into an oiled muffin tin. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes. Knife should come out clean and top crust should be golden brown. Let cool slightly then carefully remove muffins from tins with a spoon and place on a cooling rack until ready to eat.