Make Ahead

Patricia Yeo's Sesame Noodles

September 17, 2013
7 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 6 as a main dish, 8 to 10 as a side dish
Author Notes

Thanks to a sultry sesame dressing (and a secret ingredient: water), this salad is creamy despite being vegan and puts other nutty noodle salads to shame. Best of all, it travels well and tastes even better as tomorrow's lunch. Recipe adapted slightly from Fine Cooking magazine. —Genius Recipes

What You'll Need
  • For the sesame dressing
  • 3/4 cup sesame seeds plus 1 tablespoon
  • 7 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 3 medium or 2 large shallots (about 2 ounces total), sliced
  • 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar (or to taste -- if making vegan, use cane sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon hot chile paste
  • 3/4 to 1 cups water (or less)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • For the noodles:
  • 12 ounces fresh Chinese egg noodles (sometimes called wonton noodles) or other long thin noodles of your choice
  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1 cup blanched snow peas, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup daikon radish, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts
  • 1 cup scallions, thinly sliced
  1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Put the sesame seeds on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven until golden brown and fragrant, 10 to 15 minutes. Be careful not to overcook them. Put the toasted seeds in a blender.
  2. In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the peanut oil over medium-low heat. Sauté the shallots and garlic until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  3. Add the shallots, garlic, remaining 6 tablespoons peanut oil, sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, and chile paste to the sesame seeds in the blender. Blend on high speed just until a thick, rough paste forms, 2 to 3 minutes. Stop blending when most of the seeds have broken up and been puréed. After the paste forms, it will begin to get oily if you continue to purée it, as the seeds begin to give off their oil. If you have time, refrigerate the purée (for up to a day).
  4. Bring a large pot of unsalted water to a rolling boil. Cook the noodles per package directions. If using fresh Chinese egg noodles, gently fluff the noodles and add them to the water, stirring. Return the water to a boil and cook the noodles for just 10 to 30 seconds. (These tiny fresh noodles don’t need much cooking. If it takes a minute or more for the water to come back to a boil, the noodles will already be done.) Drain the noodles immediately and cool them under cold running water. Drain well. Put the cold noodles in a bowl and toss with 3 tablespoons peanut oil.
  5. When ready to dress the noodles, drain off any oil that has gathered on the top of the purée. Whisk about 3/4 cup water into the purée to thin it and to reach a creamy consistency; the sauce will lighten in color and become emulsified; add more water as needed. Add the chopped cilantro to the sauce.
  6. In a large bowl, toss the noodles with about half the dressing. Add the snow peas, red pepper, and daikon, and toss to combine (using your hands is easiest). Add more dressing if you like. Put the noodles in a large serving bowl or on individual plates. Garnish with the cilantro leaves, chopped peanuts, and sliced scallions, or pass little bowls of the garnishes at the table.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Ellis D Padilla
    Ellis D Padilla
  • Alexis Vadne Smith
    Alexis Vadne Smith
  • NotTooSweet
  • Kim
  • Burf
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

24 Reviews

Ellis D. August 8, 2018
Could I use tahini instead of roasting & the pureeing the sesame seeds?
DeDe D. October 4, 2018
I wish I had used Tahini. I don't have a blender, and so I used a food processor. Not great. The sauce never did come together. The flavors were fantastic, but the dish was not appealing aesthetically and the lumpy consistency did not play well with the other ingredients. If you try it with Tahini, let us know how it worked!
iolanthe August 11, 2020
I used 3/4 cup tahini and no peanut oil (besides what was used to cook the shallots/garlic). I think this was too much, proportionally, and it seemed to wash out the other flavors. If I were to make it again, I would use less tahini, maybe 1/4 cup, to try to approximate the volume of the crushed sesame seeds called for in the recipe.
Vivi B. November 16, 2017
I just came across this recipe as I have a newly minted vegan in my household and it looks terrific! I wonder, though, about the egg noodles. I thought if there is egg then it is not vegan? Can i sub just plain rice noodles with the same texture and result?
homecookin August 11, 2015
This is delicious. Had trouble getting seeds crushed in the dressing the first time, this time put them in alone and was much easier. Instead of adding all the peanut oil, then dumping it, just used sesame oil since would be added later anyway. Fantastic on a hot day.
Alexis V. August 3, 2015
Just out of curiosity; why when making the sesame dressing would vegans use cane-sugar over the regular sugar
Julia M. January 6, 2016
White sugar is processed with bone ash, and animal product.
Julia M. January 6, 2016
*an animal product.
NotTooSweet September 8, 2014
Had this last night with Thai Shrimp Cakes (a wonderful Cooking Light recipe) and the salad stole the show. Like others who commented, sesame noodles has always meant a thick, peanut butter goo that covers the noodles and becomes almost inedible after a day or two in the frig. This fabulous sesame paste that you thin with water (totally genius) is so good and dresses the noodles perfectly. I can tell this salad will still be great tomorrow and I'm glad because it made quite a bit!
Kim August 7, 2014
Wondering iff sesampaste, thahin, would be an easy and good replacement?
Burf November 17, 2013
I had a really hard time. Maybe my blender is a stinker? The paste was really thick while most of the seeds were still intact. i had to bust out the food processor, but the flavor was great.
Diane October 31, 2013
You know how there's some dishes you come across that you simply cannot put your fork down? You eat and eat and eat, beyond the point of comfort, into the realm of almost painful, because it's so good? This is one of them. Even my husband, who is not particularly moved by Asian and Asian inspired dishes, couldn't stop scooping this up. Make this. Tonight.
marina October 22, 2013
how long do you think this sauce would last in the fridge?
Jessie Z. October 5, 2013
I think this would taste better with some grated fresh ginger, and, for me, more salt.It is a great salad, but it is really a nice luncheon, fun to make and deserving of the compliments.
SpaCook October 3, 2013
Any thoughts if the sauce would freeze? This would be a great quick meal if the sauce was ready to go.

This was wonderful, and a great improvement over the gloppy peanut buttery noodles that I generally associate with this dish. And adding in some veggies and sauteed tofu, it was a filling meal that even my toddler enjoyed.
Kristen M. October 3, 2013
Great point -- I do think the sauce would freeze well. Glad you enjoyed it!
ashley's B. September 25, 2013
Oh yum! I toasted the seeds in dry skillet (in 2 batches). The seeds were from a container and labeled 'toasted,' but I toasted them anyway, knowing it'd really bring out the flavor. And it did.

I've never made sesame seeds into a paste -- dang but that's good & easy! I will most definitely use this from now on instead of the peanut sauces!
msmely September 21, 2013
Used fresh chow mein noodles instead of the ramen noodles pictured. Somehow didn't have chili paste on hand (I blame moving) so I used shichimi togarashi. Added some grilled chicken breast seasoned with shichimi togarashi and went with Kristen's broccoli/celery recommendation (it's what I had on hand.) I used EVOO because I ran out of grapeseed doing last night's stir fry! Turned out awesome, as expected. Got rave reviews from the husband, too.
mraum September 19, 2013
Are the shallots chopped, minced, sliced? -- You don't specify in the recipe.
Kristen M. September 19, 2013
Thanks for asking -- they're sliced. I Just updated the recipe.
mraum September 19, 2013
Thank you!
Amanda Z. September 18, 2013
Will this dressing keep in the fridge? If so for how long?
Kristen M. September 19, 2013
Yes, Yeo recommends up to 2 days in the fridge, but I bet it would last longer if needed.
Karin S. September 18, 2013
Wonderful on my table tonight!