Sesame-Peanut Noodles

A bowl of noodles coated in peanut sauce, topped with sesame seeds, chopsticks on the side

These sesame-peanut noodles are a real winner at my house. I’ve adapted it from a recipe in one of my favorite collections, The New Basics Cookbook, by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins, my copy of which has a broken spine and is so stained it’s hard to read. In my little variation, you can add cooked chicken or shrimp or asparagus, or you can just do it as is. I like it with soba, a Japanese-style noodle made from buckwheat, but you can make it with penne, fettuccine, or farfalle, too.–Ted Allen

LC Not Your Helen Mirren Note

Mirin is a sweet Japanese rice wine; you’ll find it in the Asian section of your supermarket. You’ll find Dame Mirren on the silver screen.

Sesame-Peanut Noodles Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 20 M
  • 20 M
  • Serves 4


  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
  • 1/3 cup roasted peanuts, cashews, or whatever nuts you have
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon mirin or sherry
  • 2 medium garlic cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or more if you like it spicy)
  • 1 English cucumber (also called hothouse cukes — the long, skinny ones), peeled
  • 1 pound soba noodles
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 scallions, green parts only, sliced 1/4 inch thick on an angle


  • 1. To make the sesame peanut noodles, bring a large pot of salted water (1 teaspoon salt per quart of water) to a boil.
  • 2. Meanwhile, toast the sesame seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until they turn golden brown, about 5 minutes.
  • 3. In a food processor, combine the peanut butter, sesame oil, peanuts, soy sauce, vinegar, mirin or sherry, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Process to a purée. Stir in half the toasted sesame seeds.
  • 4. Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon; discard the seeds. Slice the cucumber halves crosswise about 1/4 inch thick; set aside.
  • 5. When the water comes to a boil, add the noodles and cook until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain very well, shaking the colander until it stops dripping, and dump into a bowl. Add the peanut mixture, cilantro, and black pepper, and toss to coat. Turn out onto a large platter. Arrange the cucumber slices around the edge of the platter, sprinkle the scallions on top, and sprinkle the remaining sesame seeds on last. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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Recipe Testers Reviews

This dish is a keeper. It is quick and has a wonderful balance of textures and flavours. The first taste without cucumber was quite good — good enough, in our opinion, to warrant being made again. The next bite with the cucumber really made the dish, though. We loved the crisp moistness the cucumber brought to the noodles, while without the cucumber we found the sauce a bit dry. We loved the heat of the raw garlic and found the combination of toasted sesame seeds and ground nuts added a nice textural component to the sauce.

These noodles have a wonderful Pan-Asian flavor: the magic Thai combination of peanuts and cilantro mixed with Japanese soba and sesame seeds. This is a very tasty and satisfying dish that I will make again and again.

Loved it. This recipe is so simple to prepare, and it was delicious. The soba noodles are wonderful and the peanut sauce was unique and a perfect complement to them. Just an all-around great recipe.

The recipe was simple to follow and could be created within a few minutes using such ingredients as sesame seeds, peanut butter, soba noodles, and fresh cilantro, to name only a few. The ingredients used had a nice balance, creating a harmony of flavors and aromas. I thought the arranged cucumber slices around the edge of the platter added a welcoming dimension of texture to the plate, as well as to the taste of the dish.

I really liked this recipe because all of the ingredients were ones I usually have in my pantry. It was easy to make and most importantly, it was delicious. There are also so many ways to vary the recipe. You can add more vegetables (shredded carrots, mushrooms, broccoli, etc.) or chicken or shrimp. I liked it as a side dish and I liked this recipe when I served it at a luncheon. I put the ingredients together ahead of time and mixed it at the last minute. I garnished it with the cucumber, sesame seeds, some additional cilantro, scallions, and the chopped nuts — a very attractive presentation.


  1. This meal came together surprisingly quickly and was incredibly flavorful. I julienned the cucumber, tossed the cucumber and the noodles with the sauce, and served it with grilled chicken on top. Rave reviews all around!

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