This Sesame Noodles recipe is a delightfully flavorful Asian dish sure to please even the pickiest eaters. It is so quick to toss noodles with a sauce made of garlic, ginger, sesame oil, and Tamari or soy sauce, then mix in healthy bell peppers. Skip the takeout and enjoy this healthy dinner or side dish in as little as 30 minutes!
Cold Sesame Noodles Recipe
A few weeks ago I decided to run a few errands (including buying a new couch!). In the midst of my trek across town, I became RAVENOUS.
So, I pulled up to Central Market and ran inside to grab a quick package of sesame noodles.
As I devoured the delicious dish, I took a look at the ingredient list. I knew these would be quite simple to make at home.
So, today I bring you… this sesame noodles recipe! And unlike the one from the grocery store, this recipe is a healthier version that is also gluten-free, soy-free, and refined sugar-free.
And it’s so simple, you can throw it together with a protein to make a complete meal for an easy weeknight dinner, or enjoy them the next day for an on-the-go lunch.
These cold sesame noodles are also nut-free—peanut or nut butter not required.
The simple ingredients you need to make sesame noodles at home include:
- Noodles. Either a linguini or spaghetti type of noodle will work great. Be sure they are gluten-free if needed. Some of the best gluten-free brands are Jovial brown rice spaghetti, Ancient Harvest linguine, and Barilla linguine. Different noodles will hold up in varying ways in the fridge, and thin spaghetti won’t cook as well.
- Bell peppers. Any color will work, or go for different colors to add a beautiful pop to the dish. Cut them into thin strips.
- Soy sauce. You can either use regular soy sauce (if not gluten-free), gluten-free soy sauce, Tamari sauce (my personal preference!) or coconut liquid aminos (good for those on soy-free diets.)
- Garlic. Fresh minced garlic cloves, not garlic powder, are a MUST.
- Ginger. Fresh ginger adds so much flavor. You can opt for the ginger paste that comes in a tube or jar.
- Sesame oil. Make sure you get TOASTED sesame oil for the best results.
- Rice wine vinegar. This is common in many Asian recipes. You can substitute white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar, but the flavor will be slightly different. Some grocery stores carry black vinegar which would add an authentic flare to the dish.
- Sugar. If you would like for this dish to be free of refined sugar, use coconut sugar instead of white sugar. Brown sugar will work, as well.
- Chili garlic paste. Sriracha sauce or any other hot sauce will substitute well here.
Pro Tip: Gluten-free pasta that is made with primarily corn tends to fall apart more easily. Look for pastas that are made from rice or quinoa for best results.
How to Make Sesame Noodles
These are the steps to follow to make this simple sesame noodle recipe:
Cook the Noodles
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. You want it to be al dente.
Drain the noodles into a colander over the sink. Set aside.
Cut and Cook the Peppers
Use a sharp knife and a cutting board.
Start at the top near the stems then work down. Cut four pieces from the middle. The core should stay intact, which you can then discard.
Use a spoon to scrape out any seeds and membrane that remain on the pepper pieces.
In a large skillet or wok over medium heat add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, bell pepper slices, and ½ teaspoon salt. Sauté for 7-9 minutes, or until peppers are tender.
While a wok is not an essential kitchen item, they do come in handy for dishes like this because they distribute heat over a large surface area.
If you do want to invest in a wok, you can check out this ceramic non-stick wok and this stainless steel wok. The ceramic wok has a ceramic non-stick coating and is great when adding eggs, rice, or other sticky ingredients. The stainless steel wok can handle higher heats and is perfect for cooking big batches of meat and vegetables.
Whisk the Sauce
While the peppers and pasta are cooking, whisk together sesame sauce ingredients in a medium-sized or small bowl until combined.
Set this aside until your bell peppers are done cooking!
Put It All Together
Add the sesame sauce to skillet once peppers are cooked. Simmer the sauce, while whisking occasionally, for 1 minute so that it’s warmed through.
Return the drained pasta to the skillet and incorporate it into the peppers and sauce for 1-2 minutes over low heat.
Serve sesame noodles immediately with green onions and sesame seeds. To serve cold, refrigerate for 2 hours. For an added kick, sprinkle some red pepper flakes on top, as well.
Hot or Cold Noodles?
Sesame noodles can be served hot or cold. It is absolutely a personal preference! To me, it is SO hard to not gobble up the entire skillet full of sesame noodles right when they are finished cooking. However, if you refrigerate them for 2 hours, the delicious flavors meld together nicely and the recipe tastes incredible.
A cold noodle dish is a great lunch when you need to be out of the house, as well.
Pro tip: Gluten-free pasta tends to break apart after being refrigerated for extended periods of time and can sometimes get hard. You will want to enjoy your leftovers within 24 hours for the best texture.
Load it Up with Veggies!
The easiest way to boost your daily nutrition is to add in extra veggies wherever you can. This Asian noodles recipe is a great canvas for all kinds of vegetables. It already calls for 3 bell peppers, which are loaded with Vitamin C, fiber, B6, and folate. Here are a few other vegetables you can try:
- Carrots. Slice these thinly on the bias or julienne them and cook with the bell peppers.
- Broccoli. Cut your broccoli into florets and add them to the skillet for 4-5 minutes.
- Snap peas. You can buy these frozen and add them in when you toss together the noodles and peppers.
- Mushrooms. These do not require a lot of cook time, so cook them when the bell peppers have 4-5 minutes left.
- Bean sprouts. Add them in when there is only a minute or two left of cooking.
Meal Prep and Storage
- To Prep Ahead: You can easily make the sauce and slice the peppers a day or two before.
- To Store: Keep leftover noodles in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 to 5 days.
- To Freeze: You can freeze this noodle dish in an airtight, freezer-safe container for up to 4 to 5 months. However, give it plenty of time to thaw or the noodles will break.
- To Reheat: Warm the noodles back up in a skillet or wok on the stove. You can use a microwave for single servings.
The recipe you’ll find below is already gluten-free and vegetarian as written. Here are some adjustments and substitutions you can make to help it fit your other dietary requirements:
- Soy-free: Stick with coconut aminos or Tamari instead of soy sauce.
- Whole30 and Paleo: Use coconut aminos in the sauce and skip the Sriracha.
What are sesame noodles?
Sesame noodles are a common Asian dish. Typically, it is made with linguini or spaghetti noodles, then tossed with a sesame sauce. Usually, vegetables are thrown in, as well.
Are sesame noodles healthy?
When you make sesame noodles at home, they can be incredibly healthy. If you stick with gluten-free pasta, steer clear of sugary sauces, and load it up with vegetables, you can feel good about putting this dish on regular rotation.
Do sesame noodles have peanut butter?
Sometimes, creamy peanut butter is added to the sesame sauce in this dish. However, it is easy to leave this ingredient out of the sauce if you don’t like the flavor or can’t have nuts.
Expert Tips and Tricks
- Check the label. There are many sneaky ingredients, so be sure your noodles are truly gluten-free or follow the meal plan you’re on.
- Slice it thin. Be sure to cut the bell peppers small so they get nice and tender.
- Wok it out. If you have one, bust it out for this recipe.
- Hot or cold. This dish is so versatile, you can enjoy it at any temperature.
- Use what you have. This recipe can be made with lots of different veggies and noodles, so make it your own!
Other Recipes like these Sesame Noodles:
If you like this healthy spin on traditional sesame noodles, you might want to check out these other recipes.
Be sure to try this Instant Pot Orange Chicken, as well!
Sesame Noodles Recipe (Cold or Warm)
This Sesame Noodles recipe is a delightfully flavorful Asian dish sure to please even the pickiest eaters. It is so quick to toss noodles with a sauce made of garlic, ginger, sesame oil, and Tamari, then mix in healthy bell peppers.
- 12 oz. linguini or spaghetti gluten-free
- 3 bell peppers small, cut into thin strips
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 bunch green onions cut into 1-inch pieces
- Sesame seeds toasted, optional
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. (You want it to be al dente.)
In a large skillet or wok over medium heat add 2 tablespoons olive oil, bell pepper slices, and ½ teaspoon salt. Sauté for 7-9 minutes, or until peppers are tender.
While pepper and pasta are cooking, whisk together sesame sauce ingredients in a medium-sized bowl until combined. Add sesame sauce to skillet once peppers are cooked. Simmer sauce, while whisking occasionally, for 1 minute.
Add drained pasta to skillet and toss in sauce for 1-2 minutes over low heat.
Serve sesame noodles immediately with green onions and sesame seeds or refrigerate for 2 hours to serve cold. Enjoy!
Meal Prep and Storage
- How to prep sesame noodles ahead of time: You can easily slice the peppers a day or two before as well as make the sauce.
- How to store sesame noodles: Keep leftover noodles in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 to 5 days.
- How to freeze sesame noodles: You can freeze this noodle dish in an airtight, freezer-safe container for up to 4 to 5 months. However, give it plenty of time to thaw or the noodles will break.
- How to reheat sesame noodles: Warm the noodles back up in a skillet or wok on the stove. You can use a microwave for single servings.