Onion Pasta Sauce (low-amine, gluten-free, soy-free, tomato-free, nut-free, dairy-free, low-carb, low-fat, paleo, vegetarian, vegan)

Onion Pasta Sauce (low-amine, gluten-free, soy-free, tomato-free, nut-free, dairy-free, low-carb, low-fat, paleo, vegetarian, vegan) photo

Low-Amine Onion Sauce with Gluten-Free Quinoa Noodles

An alternative to cream- or tomato-based pasta sauces is a simple onion sauce. An added benefit to tomato-free onion sauces is that they’re great if you’re sick. Onions create heat in your body, and help you burn out the bad stuff. Since I’m still under the weather (going on two weeks now), I made myself a giant batch of this onion sauce with my gluten-free quinoa noodles.

6 C sweet onion, diced

2 1/2 C red onion

15 cloves garlic, pureed with 1/4 C water

1 C loosely packed parsley leaves, minced

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 Tbsp cornstarch

3 C beef broth

1 tsp ascorbic acid

1/2 tsp Sichuan peppercorns, crushed

4 Tbsp butter (or butter substitute. I use soy-free Earth Balance butter substitute)

  • Heat large saucepan to medium high. Add butter. Add onions.
  • Cook until onions start to sweat. Add garlic, parsley, and salt. Cook until onions are cooked through.
Low-Amine Onion Sauce for Pasta (low-amine, gluten-free, soy-free, tomato-free, nut-free, dairy-free, low-carb, low-fat, paleo, vegetarian, vegan) photo

Low-Amine Onion Sauce for Pasta

  • Mix cornstarch in with beef broth. Add beef broth, cornstarch, and ascorbic acid. Reduce heat to medium. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring often.
  • Add Sichuan peppers 5 minutes from the end.
  • Serve hot over preferred noodles.
Low-Amine Onion Sauce served over Quinoa Spaghetti Noodles (low-amine, gluten-free, soy-free, tomato-free, nut-free, dairy-free, low-carb, low-fat, paleo, vegetarian, vegan) photo

Low-Amine Onion Sauce served over Quinoa Spaghetti Noodles (low-amine, gluten-free, soy-free, tomato-free, nut-free, dairy-free, low-carb, low-fat, paleo, vegetarian, vegan)

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Vietnamese Beef Vermicelli Noodle Bowl (Bun)

Vietnamese Vermicelli Bowls (bun) (low-amine, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, fish-free, shellfish-free) photo

Vietnamese Vermicelli Bowls (bun) (low-amine, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, fish-free, shellfish-free)

I love bun (Vietnamese vermicelli rice noodle bowls). So totally delicious, and a good meal for summer or winter! But I know there are things in it that are no good for me, like sesame oil, fish sauce, vinegar, and more. So I took them out and made it happen without it.

In order to make Vietnamese Beef Vermicelli Bowls (Bun), including the bun sauce – nuoc cham, I had to go through several steps.

I also made two different marinades for the beef (since I was cooking for several people this time around). Both were very good, so either would work well, depending on what ingredients you have. Personally, I preferred the garlic ginger beef marinade. Feel free to substitute beef with firm tofu for a vegan or vegetarian option, or omit completely. If nut-free, simply omit nuts. There are so many flavors going on that you won’t miss it. Promise. 🙂

The day before making the vermicelli noodle bowls, I made a few things ahead of time, since they were the most time-intensive:

  1. “Pickled” carrots and daikon radishes
  2. Sesame oil substitute
  3. Soy sauce substitute

I suggest making these (at least #2 & 3) in a larger batch ahead of time so that you can freeze your leftover soy sauce substitute (in an ice cube tray works best) for future use. Store your leftover sesame oil substitute in the fridge.

Serves four hungry folks

Pickled Carrots & Daikon Radish Recipe:

2 large carrots

4″ long piece of daikon radish, about 2-3″ in diameter

1/4 C salt

3 tsp ascorbic acid

1 tsp sugar

Nuoc Cham Ingredients:

1/2 C water

2 tsp apple or blueberry juice

1/4 tsp ascorbic acid

just shy of 1/2 C lime juice

2 tsp sugar

1 Tbsp minced Serrano pepper or Thai bird chilies

5 cloves garlic, pressed

1 tsp black pepper

2 Tbsp soy sauce substitute

2 “pickled” carrot slices

2 “pickled” daikon slices

Marinade #1 – Lemongrass Beef and Marinade Ingredients:

2 lb chuck beef (Use a well-marbled cut if possible. Top or bottom round beef, skirt steak, or flank steak all work well, but feel free to use whatever you’d like. Cut against the grain… I didn’t, and it was a very “tough” mistake to learn.)

4 stalk lemongrass, outer layers removed, chopped

1/2 ripe, sweet apple, cored and chopped

3 Tbsp soy sauce substitute

1 Tbsp lime juice

1 Tbsp black pepper

4 garlic cloves

2 large shallots

4 Tbsp sesame oil substitute

Marinade #2 – Garlic Ginger Beef Marinade Ingredients:

1/2 C ginger

8 garlic cloves

2 Tbsp soy sauce substitute

2 tsp sesame oil substitute

1 tsp ascorbic acid

1/2 tsp salt

3 Tbsp safflower oil

Vermicelli Noodle Bowl Ingredients:

1 1/2 packages of vermicelli rice noodles or bean threads (it’s less authentic, but I prefer the texture of the bean thread vermicelli noodles)

1 C mint leaves

1/2 C beefsteak (perilla / shiso) leaves

1 C Thai basil leaves

1 bundle cilantro (cut off bottom 2″ of stems and discard or save for something else, perhaps a batch of cilantro chutney), washed and chopped

1 C bean sprouts

1 English cucumber, julienned

1 C lettuce, thinly chopped

1/4 C crushed cashews, toasted

2 Tbsp shallots, chopped

2 Tbsp safflower oil

Pinch sugar

Pinch salt

Pickled Daikon Radishes & Carrots Recipe:

  • Wash carrots and daikon radish.
  • Cut daikon and carrots into pieces about 1.5″ – 2″ long, and use a mandoline to slice them into flat pieces.
  • Julienne daikon and radish, and in a large bowl, rub them down with the salt.
  • Leave on the counter for at least 2 hours (4-6 hours is ideal to give them a bendy pickle-like texture), then rinse well, three times (or more, if it still tastes too salty – taste to check saltiness). Squeeze water and out of the carrots and daikon “pickles.”
  • Once the salt content has been reduced, sprinkle with ascorbic acid and sugar, and rub well.
  • Allow to chill in the fridge before use for at least 30 minutes.

Nuoc Cham Recipe:

  • Take two “pickled” carrots and two daikon “pickles” and slice them very thinly, and then down again into lengths about one inch long.
  • Mix all ingredients together in a jar and seal. Shake well until sugar is dissolved.

Marinade #1 – Lemongrass Beef & Marinade Recipe:

  • In a food processor, combine chopped lemongrass, apple, garlic cloves, and shallots. Process until finely minced.
  • Add soy sauce substitute, lime juice, black pepper, sesame oil substitute. Mix well.
  • Cut beef into 1/4″ strips.
  • Add all marinade and beef strips to a Ziplock bag and press air out. Marinate for at least 2 hours.

Marinade #2 – Lemongrass Beef & Marinade Recipe:

  • In a food processor, mince ginger.
  • Add all other ingredients and process until smooth.
  • Cut beef into 1/6″ thick strips.
  • Add all marinade and beef strips to a Ziplock bag and press air out. Marinate for at least 2 hours.
Vietnamese Vermicelli Noodle Bowl Recipe:
  • Wash and de-stem Thai basil and mint.
  • Wash, dry, and roll beefsteak leaves up into a little “cigar.” Chop thinly to create narrow slivers of beefsteak leaves.
  • Boil water, and add noodles. Cook as per instructions on package, drain, and run under cold water to cool immediately and completely.
  • Heat oil in a small sauce pan. When hot, add shallots and a pinch of salt and sugar. Cook until shallots are crisp.
  • Reserve shallots for topping vermicelli noodle bowl. Toss noodles with oil.
  • Put the noodles in bowls with the fresh ingredients arranged on top like the face of a clock (basil at 1:00, mint at 3:00, bean sprouts at 5:00, etc).
Vietnamese vermicelli noodle bowls (bun) being arranged (low-amine, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, fish-free, shellfish-free) photo

Vietnamese vermicelli noodle bowls (bun) being arranged (low-amine, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, fish-free, shellfish-free)

  • Leave a fair amount of space for the grilled beef. I like to put the fried shallots, toasted cashews, and thinly sliced beefsteak leaves in the center of the dish, as they present beautifully.
Cooking Beef Recipe:
  • Cook on the grill over medium high heat (use a grill basket so that they don’t fall through).
Grill Basket

Grill basket

  • The beef will cook quickly. Cook for one minute, flip, and cook one minute on the other side.
  • Remove from heat promptly.
Garlic ginger beef, about to be sliced up for Vietnamese vermicelli noodle bowls (low-amine, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, fish-free, shellfish-free) photo

Garlic ginger beef, about to be sliced up for Vietnamese vermicelli noodle bowls (low-amine, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, fish-free, shellfish-free)

  • When all beef is done cooking, slice strips into bite-sized 1″ segments.
  • Serve on top of the bun (vermicelli noodle bowls) with other assorted ingredients.
  • If a grill is not available, you can also cook it in a pan or under the broiler.
AMINE BREAKDOWN:
Very Low Amine: carrot, daikon radish, salt, ascorbic acid, water, apple juice / blueberry juice (low in tyramines, high in histamines), garlic, black pepper, soy sauce substitute, lemongrass, shallot, sesame oil substitute, ginger, safflower oil, vermicelli noodles / bean threads / vermicelli rice noodles, mint, beefsteak (perilla / shiso), Thai basil leaves, cilantro, bean sprouts, 
Low Amine: sugar, beef, cashews, apple
Very High Amine: Serrano peppers / Thai bird chilies, lime juice

Chuka Soba

Japanese Chuka Soba (low-amine, soy-free, gluten-free) photo

Japanese Chuka Soba (low-amine, soy-free, (gluten-free with 100% buckwheat))

Chuka Soba is a Japanese summer noodle dish typically made with fresh ramen, but I use soba (buckwheat noodles) noodles because fresh ramen is not easily available here. Being Japanese, I ate a lot of it growing up. Since my revelations with amine allergies, I had assumed it was not something I would be able to eat anymore. I made short work of that idea tonight, by recreating a low-amine Chuka Soba that was delicious and satisfying. Most of this dish is simple prep work – anyone that can operate a chef knife and cutting board can make it, but the more hands prepping, the faster it will go. You are welcome to substitute any of the vegetables with other low-amine vegetables, such as corn, if desired.
Dinner tonight? Chuka soba. Many ingredients, but very little work. photo.

Dinner tonight? Chuka soba. Many ingredients, but very little work.

Cooking Tip: To make short work of julienning the ingredients, use a mandoline on a thicker setting, then cut the strips into matchsticks and down to size (about 1 1/2 inches long). 
Serves 2
3 bundles buckwheat soba noodles (100% buckwheat if you need gluten-free. Buy online if needed – they can be hard to find.)
1/3 English cucumber, seeds removed and julienned
1 baby bok choy
4 Tbsp daikon radish, grated
2 Tbsp grated ginger
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 small zucchini, julienned
10 green beans, blanched and sliced diagonally into 2″ segments
1/4 whole bamboo shoot, julienned
1/2 carrot, julienned
4 shiso (beefsteak) leaves
4 fresh water chestnuts
10 pieces very thinly sliced beef (beef sliced for hot pots is ideal)
2 eggs
1/2 tsp sugar
Marinade for Cucumber:
2 Tbsp water
2/3 tsp apple juice
1/8 tsp ascorbic acid
Sauce for Chuka Soba:
5 Tbsp water
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp apple juice
1 tsp ascorbic acid
1 Tbsp grated ginger
1/2 tsp chili oil
1/4 tsp salt
  • Marinate julienned cucumber in a bowl with the cucumber marinade (water, apple juice, ascorbic acid).
  • Peel water chestnuts and slice. You can use canned if fresh are unavailable, but fresh water chestnuts are better in flavor by leaps and bounds.
Fresh, unpeeled water chestnuts (photo)

Fresh, unpeeled water chestnuts

  • Blanche green beans. While blanching, carefully dip the white parts of the bok choy into the boiling water to give them a light cooking through.
  • Prep all vegetables and arrange on a large plate or cutting board.
Chuka Soba ingredients, prepared (photo)

Chuka Soba ingredients, prepared. Clockwise from top left: Bamboo shoots, green beans, bok choy, grated daikon radish, grated ginger, green onions, cucumber, egg, water chestnuts, carrot, shiso leaf, beef, and zucchini.

  • Beat together 2 eggs and 1/2 tsp sugar. In a large pan, on medium low, pour just enough to make a thin crepe out of the egg. Flip, if possible. Set egg “crepe” aside on a plate, and repeat until all the egg is gone.
Egg "crepes" for Chuka Soba (photo)

Egg “crepes” for Chuka Soba

  • Roll stack of egg “crepes” up and slice them thinly. Set aside.
  • In a non-stick pan on high heat, with a touch of butter or oil, cook beef (I cooked mine two slices at a time, only 5-7 seconds per slice) till just cooked through, or to desired doneness. When all beef is done, slice beef thinly and set aside.
Thinly sliced beef for chuka soba (photo)

Cooking thinly sliced beef for Chuka Soba

Thinly sliced beef, cooked, for chuka soba (photo)

Thinly sliced beef, cooked, for Chuka Soba

  • Boil water for noodles. When boiling, add buckwheat noodles. Cook as directed on the package.
  • When noodles are done, drain them and cool them under cold running water in a colander. Add ice cubes to keep them cold and leave in the sink.
  • Mix together all ingredients for the Chuka Soba Sauce. Set aside with a serving spoon.
  • Split the noodles between two plates, and arrange vegetables, meat, and egg in a radial pattern, with grated ginger and daikon at the center.
  • Stack shiso leaves and roll them up like you did with the egg “crepes.” Slice them thinly, and add rolled slices to the center with the daikon. Keep the thin shiso slices in rolls for better presentation.
  • Serve with the sauce at the table, and allow each person to dress their own accordingly.
Empty plate photo

If you did it right, this is what the Chuka Soba plates will end up looking like…

AMINE BREAKDOWN:
Very Low Amine: buckwheat noodles, cucumber, ginger, daikon radish, water, ascorbic acid, salt, soy sauce substitute, sesame oil substitute, bamboo shoots, green beans, bok choy, green onions, water chestnuts, carrot, shiso leaf, zucchini
Low Amine: apple juice, beef, egg, sugar
Very High Amine: chili oil