Grab a big bowl of japchae! This Korean dish is made by sautéeing clear noodles made from sweet potato starch in a sweet soy sauce with vegetables. Each bite is packed with healthy vegetables and plant protein for a delicious gluten-free meal.

Japchae: Korean Sweet Potato Noodles With Tofu [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

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Cooking Time



  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce or gluten-free tamari
  • 2 tablespoons liquid sweetener
  • 1 cup firm tofu diced, about 7 ounces
  • 8 ounces sweet potato starch noodles (japchae)
  • 4 ounces spinach fresh
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 Shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup carrots, shredded
  • 2 scallions, stalks cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds


  1. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together soy sauce and sweetener. Add in tofu, gently stir to coat, and allow to marinate while you prepare other ingredients.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to boil, enough to fit the noodles. Cook noodles in boiling water for 5 minutes. Do not discard water. You will use it for blanching the spinach. Use tongs to transfer to a colander and rinse noodles under cool running water. Cut the noodles into 6-inch long pieces with scissors. Set aside.
  3. Blanch spinach in the same pot of water that you cooked the noodles for 1 minute, until wilted. Drain the water and rinse under cold running water. For spinach into a ball and squeeze out excess water. Use a knife to cut the spinach ball in half. Set aside.
  4. Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil and allow to heat up. Add onion, garlic, mushrooms, and carrot, sauté for 2 minutes. Add scallion and sauté 1 minute. Add tofu and cook 1 minute to warm (do not discard sauce).
  5. Turn heat to low and add noodles, spinach, sesame oil and sauce. Gently stir to combine until noodles are coated with the sauce. Serve topped with sesame seeds.


If you are looking for a stronger sauce flavor, add 1 tablespoon soy sauce and 1 1/2 teaspoons liquid sweetener. Maple syrup, coconut sugar or granulated sugar can be used for the sweetener. You can use dried Shiitake mushrooms. Rehydrate for 10 minutes in hot water, then slice. The taste will be stronger but gives a nice umami flavor.


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