These sesame noodles are colorful and completely irresistible! I’m always excited when I find sesame noodles amongst a plethora of dishes at a gathering. As a solo dish, I crave noodles with a little more color, perhaps, and more texture and flavor. Must be the “maximalist vegetarian” in me. Always more veggies!
This riff on sesame noodles is exactly what I’ve wished for. This recipe features tender noodles and green onions, of course. I replaced some of the noodles with tons of crisp raw veggies, plus I added tiny sesame seeds, toasted to bring out their best.
The bold but simple seasonings include soy sauce, sesame oil, fresh ginger and garlic, and a generous sprinkling of fresh cilantro (omit it if you don’t like it). I added some chili flakes for extra heat, which you can scale up or down to suit your preferences.
From what I’ve read, sesame noodles likely originated in the Sichuan province of China (please let me know if you know more). These noodles are not authentic, but they are tasty. I can’t stop going back for more.
Bring these noodles to a gathering or serve them as a side dish. They are nice at room temperature or chilled. Or, turn this recipe into a light meal by adding shelled edamame, crispy baked tofu or a fried egg or two. This recipe keeps well for several days in the fridge, and packs well for lunch.
Watch How to Make Colorful Veggie Sesame Noodles
This recipe is an updated and improved version of a very old recipe on my blog called “Soba Noodles with Vegetables.” Way back in 2011, I wasn’t quite satisfied with the seasonings, but I wasn’t sure how to fix them. I’ve revisited the recipe and tweaked it to yield exactly the flavor I’ve been craving all this time.
If you’re a fan of the old recipe, view the original recipe as a PDF here.
Craving more noodles?
Try these related recipes:
- Peanut Slaw with Soba Noodles
- Sugar Snap Pea and Carrot Soba Noodles
- Almond-Sesame Soba Zoodles with Quick-Pickled Veggies
- Colorful Veggie Lettuce Wraps
You might also enjoy my Fresh Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce, Crunchy Thai Peanut & Quinoa Salad, and the Fresh Sesame Soba Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce in Love Real Food (page 98).
Please let me know how your sesame noodles turn out in the comments! I love hearing from you.
Veggie Sesame Noodles
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 6 1x
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Chinese-Inspired
- Diet: Vegan
This riff on sesame noodles features tons of colorful vegetables. This recipe is healthy and easy to prepare—perfect for bringing to get-togethers! It’s vegetarian/vegan and easily gluten free. Recipe yields 6 side servings.
- 8 ounces soba noodles or spaghetti noodles of choice*
- ¼ cup raw sesame seeds
- ⅓ cup reduced sodium tamari (or soy sauce, just be sure it’s reduced sodium or it will taste too salty)
- ¼ cup toasted sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons lime juice (about 1 medium lime)
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, to taste (scale back or omit if sensitive to spice)
- 2 ½ cups thinly sliced red cabbage (about 10 ounces or ¼th medium cabbage)
- 3 whole carrots, peeled and then sliced into ribbons with vegetable peeler (about 1 ½ cups)
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced into very thin strips
- 1 bunch green onions, chopped
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
- Optional: 2 cups shelled edamame, steamed
- Cook the soba noodles according to the package directions. Once they’re done cooking, drain them in a colander and rinse them well under cool water. Transfer the drained noodles to a large serving bowl and set aside.
- Meanwhile, toast the sesame seeds in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring often (keep an eye on them, as they can burn quickly). Once they’re fragrant and turning golden, transfer them to a small bowl so they don’t burn. Set aside.
- In another bowl, combine the tamari, sesame oil, lime juice, ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes. Whisk until blended. Set aside.
- To assemble, add the cabbage, carrots, bell pepper, green onions, cilantro and optional edamame to your bowl with the noodles. Drizzle in the dressing. Add all of the sesame seeds, and use tongs to toss until the mixture is fully combined. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for later. This salad is best consumed within a couple of days, but it will keep for up to 5 days.
Recipe adapted from Last Minute Sesame Noodles on Aggie’s Kitchen, originally from Eatingwell.com
*Make it gluten free: If you are sensitive to gluten, seek out 100% buckwheat soba noodles (I like Eden Foods’ brand) or substitute your favorite sturdy gluten-free spaghetti.
Change it up: Try adding a tablespoon or two of peanut butter to the dressing. Or, play around with the vegetables used here—you’ll just need about 5 cups total. For additional protein, include the optional edamame or serve with crispy baked tofu on top, or add a fried egg or scrambled eggs.
I would love to add the peanut butter for extra flavor, but I am sensitive to peanuts. Would almond or sunflower seed butter work also?
Hi, you could try almond butter although I haven’t tried it for this.
If allergic to peanut butter, add some tahini paste. Loved this dish as it was lighter than my fav sesame noodles.
I used almond butter, and it was great. :)
I’ve made this recipe twice now per basic recipe using grated carrots and cooled steamed frozen soybeans from Trader Joe’s. Oh I forgot I didn’t have soba so I used tj whole wheat pasta instead Scrumptious, a treat to eat something that is as healthy and delicious- tasting as it is aesthetically beautiful. I would take this for a potluck party someday!!! Thank you Kate for this terrific recipe!!!!!
You’re welcome, K! Thanks you for sharing your adaptions.
Absolutely delicious. I have learned to not change a thing with your recipes – there is no need to.
I’m allergic to sesame and peanuts. A lot of the soba recipes have these. Any ideas of substitutions or recipes without?
Hi Priya, sorry to disappoint, but I’m not sure without testing out some alternatives since both those ingredients are a significant part of the overall flavor.
you could try substituting sunflower, almond, or cashew butter! there’s a vegan place in my city that does a version of these with an almond cream sauce and it’s delish.
Oh wow this is good! Filed it under my “delicious/easy-to-make lunch” tab. So much flavor and so colorful. And it’s quick and easy if you’re short on time but want to meal prep. I add edamame and the crispy baked tofu (using her recipe too…yum!) for extra protein. This is a favorite for sure!
Thank you for sharing, Megan! I’m happy you enjoyed them.
Made this for the first time tonight and it was delicious and so beautiful. Thank you for this creation, and so many others. My family are new to the vegan lifestyle and we are so grateful for your recipes!
Thank you, Erin! I’m delighted you enjoyed it.
I made it tonight- it was wonderful! I’m not sure that I’m toasting the sesame seeds enough, but I can practice that. Love the flavors!
This is a great recipe. I made it from what I had on hand, subbing rice vinegar for the lime juice and using 2tbsp of full sodium tamari since I didn’t have low sodium. Still great with those changes!
Also- I topped it with toasted sunflower seeds instead of sesames.
I’m glad you were still able to enjoy it, Sarah! I appreciate your review.
Your words inspired me to invite a couple of families to our local park for a potluck. I brought this dish and it was a hit, I just received a request for the recipe, and sent them the link. Good friends and good food, after a looong year of very little socializing, it’s medicine.
I love reading this! I’m glad you were able to share it with good company.
Hi Kate! I love this recipe so much and was hoping to make it this week. Lately I’ve been having such a hard time finding Soba noodles. Do you think a Lo-Mein type noodle would work as a substitute? Thanks so much!
Hi! Sorry for my delay. You could try it. Just be sure to follow the cooking directions. Spaghetti will work too.
I sent this to my wife and she made it for dinner last night. Normally this kind of recipe would be a little “veggie intensive” for my liking (and digestion) but maybe it was the ginger that helped me out with this recipe because I found it to be very pleasant and I actually went back for seconds. I recommended it to a couple of my clients too and I can’t wait to see what they think, so you will likely see them on your site shortly. Keep up the great work with great whole food ingredients! :)
I used a little less than a 1/4 c of sesame oil and it was still overpowering and very oily. Just not one of my favs.
I’m sorry you didn’t love this one, Christina. I appreciate your review.
Does the nutrition value include the edamame?
Hi, it includes all ingredients listed and in the photos.
Very good. I added twice as many noodles because it is SO many vegetables to even it out. We cook out buckwheat soba noodles for 3 minutes so it wasn’t hard adding more. Next time I think we’ll add less sesame oil since it took away some of the flavor in the sauce.
Loved this! I love how this salad captures the whole “rainbow” of veggiehood. Great recipe, thank you! :)
I’m happy you enjoyed it, Griff! I appreciate your review.
Hi there, I made your recipe for the colorful Sesame Noodles with a few variations and it turned delicious! I used whole wheat spaghetti pasta; shaved the cabbage and carrots rather than slice them; chopped the pepper and used garbanzos instead of edamame for a complete meal. All the rest the same. It satisfied my craving for an Asian noodle meal that I had never made, and my guest loved it, thank you!
Thank you for sharing, Maria! I’m happy you made modifications that you liked.
Love your recipe and am making it as entree for dinner party. Any suggestions for side dishes or bread/crackers? Thank you. Patricia
I’ve made this recipe twice, the second time doubling the ginger and adding a mounded TBSP of tahini to the dressing. I did not use reduced sodium soy sauce. This recipe is delicious and will be put into regular rotation at my house! Thank you!
I have made this at least a dozen times since I tried it! I love putting this together to have for a quick lunch all week. It is a nice change up from my typical “green” salad. Delicious!!
This looks delightful. I’m excited to try it, but your nutrition link isn’t working. Can you tell me the Calories, carbs, and protein per serving?
Hi Barbra, I hope you love it! It appears to be working for me. Check your settings to make sure you don’t have blockers set-up as it can impact being able to see it. Let me know if you are still having issues.
How do I print your recipes? Cannot see any print button.
Hi Kicki! I am working to get it fixed, I hope to have is back very soon!
I added less sesame oil, since it ash a very strong flavor (added olive isntead). Worked well!
I was so excited to make this and didn’t like it at all. We tossed some peanuts in but they only helped a bit. It was way too salty (I used low sodium coconut aminos).
I’m sorry you didn’t love this recipe. It could have been the substitute. I appreciate your feedback, Karen.
This recipe is so delicious and very forgiving! I didn’t mean to make any substitutions but ended up making quite a few; left out the carrots because of a sensitivity, forgot the sesame seeds (oops!), and discovered my cilantro had rotted in the fridge. Used the peanut butter in the sauce, a generous squirt of sriracha instead of red pepper flakes (I was out), and served on a bed of spinach. So good and a hit with the family!
A couple tips: we’re a more-garlic-is-more family, but I’d recommend testing the sauce at the lower end of the garlic range before adding more. Could definitely feel the garlic burn at the upper end.
For best soba noodle texture, don’t neglect the cold water rinse! Some people place the noodles in ice water, I’ve found that as long as you really toss the noodles under the cold tap and get them all cooled down ASAP then you’ll have that classic, bouncy texture.
This is one of the best salads I’ve ever tasted. I make it again and again for dinners, barbecues and myself.
I’m glad you enjoyed it, Wendy. Thank you for your review!
I’ve been making this recipe monthly for a while now, still one of my favorites. The only thing I’ve added is a bit of coconut aminos. So good, thank you for the veggie filled recipe, I’ve shared it with many jealous coworkers!
You’re welcome, M! Thank you for sharing.
Wow. Delicious. Excellent recipe. And for those of you who love salt, as I do, don’t be afraid to use soy sauce that isn’t reduced sodium. I really loved this recipe. Thank you so much!!!!
You’re welcome! Thank you for your review.
Vatan Indian Vegetarian Cuisine & Bakery
Thank you so much for sharing this fantastic dish with us.
Thanks for the recipe! I messed up a lot (mistakenly started cooking the veggies, I used lemon juice and regular cabbage as substitutes, and put slices of regular onion in it), yet initially it turned out really yummy! But then the strangest thing happened. I refrigerated it for about an hour and for some reason, after I took it out of the refrigerator, it was so bland and not as I had remembered it. Do you know what might’ve happened / if some ingredients might’ve neutralized each other? Has anyone else had the same experience of the flavor suddenly being kind of lost after refrigerating?
Hi Michelle, I’m not sure. That seems odd. Usually the flavors get better. If you try it again, let me know how it turns out!
Saskia of BC
I am on a roll with your recipes…lol
This one is very nice, crisp and yummy. I used organic soba noodles which I think are the best fit.
I added the peanut butter (locally roasted) in the dressing.
For the leftovers I think I will slightly warm some peanut butter w water or milk, and drizzle this sauce over the salad.
I’ll surprise a friend this week with a bowl, as I made the full recipe and that’s plenty!
And now I can’t wait for your cook book to arrive in a couple of days.
Thanks for your delicious and easy recipes Kate.
Delicious and easy. I substituted broccoli slaw mix for the red cabbage and that worked out well. Made with edamame and spaghetti options. Would make again, including for guests.
“Must be the “maximalist vegetarian” in me. Always more veggies!” I LOVE THIS!!! It describes me as well, only I never knew how to properly phrase it… I hope you don’t mind if I borrow “maximalist vegetarian” for personal use
Didn’t try the recipe yet, only because I currently don’t have most of the ingredients, but it made me super hungry watching the video! Looks AMAZING!
Absolutely love this recipe! We have had it twice this week with fish and crispy tofu. We really enjoyed it after it was in the fridge to get cold and with rice noodles instead. Thannks
Great to hear Clarissa! Thank you for your review. It is great leftover.
This was fabulous. I used rice noodles, regular sesame oil & did not add the sesame seeds.
This is my idea of the perfect lunch, next time I will add the edamame for more protein.
Thank you for this recipe Kate!
You’re welcome, Suzanne!
I was craving a cold noodle recipe during a recent heat wave. I had to make some adaptations to this recipe for it to be compatible for the Heal Your Headache diet, but I think it turned out really tasty! I used coconut aminos instead of tamari and distilled white vinegar instead of lime juice. I also added a tablespoon-ish of sunflower butter to the sauce (instead of peanut butter). I love the variety of veggies in this recipe! I can’t wait to make it again.
Kate, I love so many of your recipes – all that I have tried. And, recommend them regularly. Weirdly – and I wouldn’t usually say this – I wished it this recipe had a little sweetness. I used Bragg’s liquid aminos in place of the soy – so, might half that next time. Any recommendations? Thanks Much!
Made this for a light dinner tonight and it was incredibly delicious. Thanks for yet another easy vegetarian weeknight staple. You never steer us wrong— so good!
Thank you for your review, Rachel! I’m glad you loved it.
Thank you very much for sharing this delicious recipe. I took one bite and said to myself “where have you been my whole life?” It is just so easy and yummy and healthy too. I did add some peanut butter to give the sauce some added creaminess.
I went to France this summer and realized I wanted to have a better connection with my food. I’ve always tried to find great vegetarian recipes online but they were usually a lot of work for lacklustre results. I used to eat a lot of takeout.
But I have found your website and everything is so light and delicious and I have so much fun making them.
I’ve noticed my energy has increased significantly and even my memory appears to be improving. I’ve been doing better in school since I’ve started eating healthier.
I think your recipes have changed my life and I wanted to thank you!
I made this tonight as stated but added edamame and shredded roasted chicken. It looked beautiful but I think the dressing needed some tweaking. Next time, I will cut back on the sesame oil and add a tbs of honey.
This is so delicious and satisfying. I made a tofu satay and peanut sauce to go with it. *Chef’s kiss*
I prepped this today, having taken a quick look at the title and ingredients but not the instructions. When I went to make it, I was surprised to see that it was intended as a salad. I had wanted to make fried noodles to go with our roasted Thai tofu. So, I cooked it! After briefly sautéing the veggies, I stirred in half of the sauce and let them cook to tender crisp. I added the drained Asian instant noodles (Rooster brand) to the skillet along with the rest of the sauce and used tongs to combine for a few minutes. It was a hit! Thanks for another great recipe.
This was delicious, beautiful and no at all heavy with all the veggies. I did add 1 TBSP of peanut butter. Thanks for another winner!
I’m glad you enjoyed it, Paula!
I made this dish to pair with sesame crusted tuna steaks at my firehouse , it was unbelievable!!!! Everyone loved it !
Great to hear, Rodrigo!