peanut sesame noodles

The fact that today is a startling 78 degrees with low humidity and the sun is streaming in wide ribbons through every windowed wall is leaving me as torn as I have ever been between my simultaneous urges to Take Walk! Frolic Outside! Drinks Beers on a Terrace, Somewhere! And come home late tonight with my skin smelling like summer and my forehead re-freckled and fall into a deep sleep, my legs twitching like a puppy who dreams about catching frisbees… and, you know, bake some things for tomorrow’s Seder. Hrm, is it actually any question what will win?

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Nevertheless, I haven’t even told you about my Single Girl’s Dinner from Monday night. No, calm down, Alex did not finally tire of me, the dishes I create and my incessant complaining about the wrinkles on my forehead (and the IfYouLovedMeYou’dBuyMeBotox!), etc. He just had some clients taking him out to dinner and I was in no mood for take-out. Well, that’s not true, I was in the mood for takeout-like food, but I wanted it to be the way I like it which pretty much left me with the option of making it myself. Such is the life of the Too Picky For Their Own Good.

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I had cold peanut sesame noodles for the first time when I was 13 and had recently decided to go vegetarian. A friend who was also eschewing meat wanted to go to a Chinese restaurant and I was certain there would be nothing for us eat, but she ordered them for us and I was instantly, head-over-heels in love. If this was vegetarian food, I was in it for the long haul (or about until the age of 28, you know, whichever came first). However, it was many more years before I found a formula — this one –for it that allowed me to make it at home, any time I pleased.

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Monday night was a perfect excuse to dust off my old favorite. Since my resident tofu-skeptic was out, I added that too. And now the sun is out, too — squee! — I hope you all have a great weekend.

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Peanut Sesame Noodles

Updated with some freshly photos in 2023, thank goodness. These are the cold peanut sesame noodles I’ve been making since college. I always made it with buckwheat soba noodles because I loved the flavor and haven’t stopped since. Over the years I’ve had dalliances with other cold noodle recipes but I recently came back to this one and it was like reuniting with an old friend. I forgot how perfect this sauce is. I can’t believe I ever tossed it aside for something new. We’ve been making up for lost time since.

  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced or finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, minced or grated
  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes or a hot sauce or chili paste of your choice, to taste
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • Noodles and Vegetables
  • 3/4 pound dried buckwheat soba noodles or another noodle of your choice
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 medium carrot, cut into matchsticks
  • Half a large or two small seedless cucumbers, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 cup firm or extra-firm tofu, cut into thicker matchsticks
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted (white, black, or a mix thereof)

Make the sauce: Either with a whisk or a blender, combine sauce ingredients except the warm water until completely smooth, then add the water a tablespoon or two at a time until you get the consistency you like. Set aside until needed.

Make the noodles: Boil in salted water as directed on the package then drain and rinse under cold water until fully cool.

Assemble: Place noodles and vegetables in a large bowl and toss with sauce to evenly coat. Transfer to serving bowl, if you’re fancy, and scatter with tofu, drizzling a little extra sauce over it. Garnish with sesame seeds and eat immediately.

Note: I usually keep the noodles in one container, the vegetables and tofu in another, and the sauce in a jar and assemble it one bowl at a time. The sauce keeps for two weeks in the fridge.

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179 comments on peanut sesame noodles

  1. joylynn

    This is one of my favorite dishes, but sadly I’ve never been able to get it quite right when I try to make it at home (I’m spoiled by NYC cold noodles). Your recipe seems like it could be the one!

  2. Lola

    How crazy is it that I JUST made a simliar recipe on Wednesday and loved it. I sent my fabulous husband out for the soba noodles and he came back with ramen type – so improvised I did. And it was swell…and summery…I tossed in some forzen edamame in the pot during the last couple of minutes with the noodles – so great.

  3. Juliet

    Have you tried the cold sesame noodle recipe from CI? It’s pretty good and has similar ingredients. Their recipe calls for shredded chicken, but tofu could easily be substituted. Anyway, I like this recipe too and has (seemingly) fewer ingredients…hope to try it soon! I’ll, too, have to wait until the husband is not around because he doesn’t like cold noodles…too bad for him!

  4. That looks amazing! I am suddenly very depressed about the mac n cheese I ate for din din. Definitely going to try the recipe sometime soon – Thanks =)

  5. I had cold sesame noodles for the first time when I moved to New York at the tender age of 21. Since then they have been a obsession, with particular sadness that no place I’ve lived since then has ever had them on the menu. It makes me want to cry because I yearn for those damn noodles.

    And like JoyLynn, I’ve never found a home recipe that quite measures up to the New York cold sesame noodle.

  6. Jelena

    I’ve recently become a vegetarian (about month now) and I’ve still to incorporate tofu into my diet. I find the idea of unappetizing. I can’t wait to try this!

  7. Joanna

    Oh gosh, all I have in the house are the fixin’s for a sausage and kale pasta – which I’m sure will be good – but now I am totally craving these noodles. Mmm. I make a similar sauce/dressing, and when I have it, I like to replace half (or all) the peanut butter with tahini. The sesame flavor it SO intense and delicious!

  8. Oooh, love it! I’ve been looking for a good peanut sauce, thank you!!! I shall be trying it soon. I love peanut sauce and veggies over noodles. Some thin sliced chicken breast is amazing with it as well (for the non-vegetarians).

    The Peanut Butter Boy

  9. Ann

    I make something similar ALL the time – but, I make them, usually, when I’ve had too many of my dang desserts. And, what I use for “noodles” is spaghetti squash, shredded. Have you ever tried it w/ sesame peanut sauce? Because it’ll knock your socks off! (and, enable more dessert eating)

  10. emily

    you change my life every day.
    singlemama working her way through
    ramona is two today and i have to write
    late tonight to say thank you.
    for lifting my food life. my mind off. soothing and clear.
    glad to have you documenting your journey
    and your simple recipes flow into how to slimplify life.
    thank you.
    thats all. i’ve made your cookies and muffins for a bit now.
    and every time amazed.

  11. Shelly

    I love this kind of thing, only the tofu has to be cooked with the garlic and a pinch of chili pepper. Then I add all sorts of Chinese vegies like bok choy and choy sum, Chinese cabbage, etc, carrots, red peppers, then with the soy sauce and CRUNCHY peanut butter, and I’ve had to start using fetuccine instead of the yummy green chinese noodles (can’t find them anymore). They work, just not as nicely.

  12. It looks so colorful and good for you! I had been looking at those noodles in Williams-Sonoma and wondering what they were for. Now I know. I like tofu, but have never cooked it myself. I might have to get over my fear.

  13. Jennifer

    I don’t think I’ve ever had these, but I’m pretty sure they are what I was craving on Tues night. Can’t wait to try this recipe!

  14. Kim

    Oh, I just might have to make this for my vegetarian daughter. Will have to cook the tofu first also. The (Ifyoulovemeyouwouldbuyme………) is not working for me either, but this gal needs a little more than botox! Happy Holidays to you.

  15. I just came home with noodles for tonight because I woke up this morning wanting nothing else. I’m missing an ingredient or two, but I think I’ll tweak my way around this recipe. Can’t wait. Uhmmmm.

  16. My husband and I have made a peanut sauce that is remarkably similar for years, but we have always served it hot over noodles with cilantro, lime, and green onion, and a few handy veggies thrown in. Now you have me very curious to try it cold.

  17. SO glad that the weather is shaping up where you are – do try to “frolick” outside, and enjoy! :0)

    I am absolutely LOVING that dish!!! Peanut-noodles are so comforting – especially when paired with loads of vegetables :0)

  18. johanna

    yum yum. i am allergic to peanut though – has anyone tried making this with cashew butter or something like that? please advise!

  19. Tres Amie

    Mmmmm… I would saute some shallots and the garlic and add them to the peanut sauce. That would be perfection!

    If you wanted to use cashew butter, I would cut down on the water, since peanut butter is much thicker. You could also use a blend of cashew butter and tahini.

  20. Johana:

    If you have access to a good Asian grocery, you can buy dark sesame paste (not Tahini), which makes a perfect substitute for peanut butter — and it’s what New York Chinese restaurants use for their delicious sesame noodles.

  21. GalleyGoodness

    Looks great! I also made something similar for dinner this week! Luckily my husband loves the tofu! I also have a love affair with buckwheat noodles, baby bok choy, lots of garlic, sweet onion, sweet peppers, chili sauce-soy sauce-sauce and of course-shrimp, scallops, or marinated tofu ( pick your protein)! Then sprinkle with sesame seeds and fresh chives-and call it a delicious meal!

  22. Lauren

    This was the best Asian recipe I’ve ever used! I substituted steamed broccoli for a bell pepper, and used buckwheat noodles (which aren’t as pretty, but very delicious. Also, I sauteed the tofu bc I don’t like it raw. Jelena, I would recommend cooking tofu for the first time!

  23. oh that sounds so yummy. reminds me of this Southeast Asian dish – Satay Noodles. Thin egg noodles served with a rather thick sweet, spicy peanut sauce. lovely picture – and I know exactly how you feel about wanting takeaway-like food but not takeaway itself! ;)

  24. B.

    I’m going to chime in with all the folks who said they just made a similar recipe, for I made a slaw that was quite a bit like this, but with the last of the savoy cabbage rather than noodles. Sunflower seeds were handy and sesame seeds were not, and I added quite a bit more ginger and vinegar and the first of the meaty tomatoes that are showing up here in Florida. Also red jalapenos and Thai chiles instead of the sweet peppers, because that’s how I roll. Maybe I should make it again and add some cold noodles!

  25. Laura Ch.

    This sounds soooooo good!! Thanks for sharing. I’m keeping this posted on our fridge for a warm summer weekend meal. Can’t wait!

  26. kati

    OOO! This looks like it avoids the horror that is Sweet Peanut Butter melted over noodles, which is what I got recently when I ordered Peanut Sesame Noodles. 1 T of honey is perfectly respectable, and not disgusting sounding at all!

    also, may I please recommend that instead of advocating for injections of toxins, you try 21 days of Frownies! They are essentially strategically placed adhesive strips that will make your face do the right thing while you sleep.


  27. This is pretty close to my favorite quick and easy dish to make in the spring/summer. I am actually making it for a girls’ night dinner this week! So deeelicious!

  28. Kay

    This is my husband’s favorite dish, tofu and all. Though I have to tone down the red bell pepper because that is not his favorite. This makes me want to go home and make peanut noodles right now!

  29. Renna

    I just made these myself – and I being allergic to peanut butter can attest to the fact that sunbutter makes a delicious substitute (as far as I know, I haven’t had real peanut butter since I was around seven).

    I also used whole wheat pasta, subbed broccoli for the cucumber, and grilled some chicken breast strips as I didn’t have any tofu on hand today.

    Also, this makes six “omg I’m really full” servings for me. As a side dish I’m guessing it’d be closer to 10-12.

  30. Joanna

    I’m always a little wary of savory recipes that use peanut butter, but this was delicious and really hit the spot now that the weather is getting nicer and nicer. I added some marinated shrimp to it as well.

  31. After seeing your post, I got hungry for this dish (I had made it several times before, out of my beloved Gourmet cookbook) and went to make it for lunch straightaway. Yum!

    For the record, it works perfectly well with crunchy peanut butter, too. And red cabbage (really anything crunchy and bright) for the veggies.

    The cookbook also indicates that you can make it with regular old linguini or spaghetti or what have you.

  32. Absinthe

    I make this for myself and three small children when my husband works late, since he is also anti-tofu. Such a delicious dish. Black sesame seeds look especially lovely in this.

    Deb, I’m forever indebted to you for posting the Suzanne Goin recipe for Hazelnut Brown Butter Cake. I’ve made it several times to bring to recent events, and although I may go broke buying hazelnuts, hey, it’s worth it as I’ve sealed my reputation as a good baker, lol.

  33. saw it and just had to make them. I loved the organic soba noodles, and I used zucchini, tofu and mushrooms. This recipe is huge. Seeing as it is just me, I would probably only make one fourth of the pasta next time. Since it’s cold, I took the leftovers in my lunch today without much hassle. delish!

  34. Made this last night for dinner and it was absolutely delicious!! DH doesn’t usually like non-meat dishes, but he loved and took half of the leftovers for lunch today. I, of course, took the other half! It helped me use the rest of the tofu that I had for making some edamame hummus. Thanks!

  35. this was insanely addictive and delicious! however, i felt like there was a little too much dressing, so i added a bunch more tofu to bulk it up.

  36. What a coincidence. I’m just as lazy but well-meaning! I MEAN to make tasty, healthy dinners for me and my man, but can never work up the motivation to do dishes afterwards. Meh. Oh, and I found you by your ratatouille recipe, almost a year ago, but lost you, and now, well… yay!

  37. LyB

    I just had to tell you I made this last week and, man, is it ever delicious! The dressing is perfect! I used cooked chicken though instead of tofu, since we’re not real big on tofu, it was great, thanks for sharing!

  38. Julia

    I made this last night for my husband and parents and they all loved it! I added some shrimp marinated in lime juice to make it a bit more of a meal. I also used a pound of pasta instead of 3/4, and the pasta to dressing ratio was perfect. A great recipe that could be customized in a hundred ways based on your veggie preferences or availability. Thanks for posting- I’ll definitely be cooking it again this summer!

  39. Lara

    You can use tahini (ground sesame paste) if you’re allergic to peanut butter as well. I’m making it today but using commercial sesame ginger dressing as the base cause I just don’t have the patience to measure etc. :)

  40. I made this for lunch today… it was delicious! I wish I had listened to my cooking intuition though. My noodles and sauce ratio wasn’t quite right, but it tasted good anyways. :)

  41. Rebecca

    Ever since this recipe was posted, I could not stop thinking about it! Finally made it last week and it was GREAT! I wasn’t sure if it would turn out because I don’t have a blender to puree the dressing, but I used a small whisk and it worked just fine. Spaghetti (I used whole wheat) can also be substituted for the soba noodles. My boyfriend has already asked me to cook it again this week. A new staple! Thanks Deb!

  42. ellis

    Hey Deb! I followed this recipe two weeks ago and died of love. I’ve been thinking about it ever since and decided to make sesame noodles again tonight- but- sigh- followed the Cook’s Illustrated 30-minute Recipes version (I know you can relate to not being able to leave well enough alone). I’m sure if I had tried that recipe first, I would have loved it, but compared to the depth of flavors this recipe provides, my version tonight tasted almost watery. Thanks for giving me my now definitive Sesame Noodles recipe- besides changing up the proteins and veggies, I will not stray again!

  43. Sara

    I’ve been thinking about this recipe for ages and I finally made it last night. Whoo! What a revelation. It was soooooo delicious. I used soba noodles and tofu, and altered the vegetables slightly to use what I had on hand, but I followed your sauce directions exactly and served it cold. I love this dish. I want to eat it often. Soba noodles feel so healthy. i have to ask – does anyone know how healthy this meal actually is? cause i wanna eat it ALL the TIME.

  44. I used this recipe to prepare my first-ever soba noodles. Unfortunately, being unfamiliar with soba, I slightly overcooked them, so they were a little slimy, but still useable. I substituted chicken for tofu, and it was delicious… I’m definitely making this again.

  45. Annette

    Hmmm… not one bit of coriander? After working in NYC for so many years and getting this dish with that, that…terrible tasting stuff… it seemed so refreshing to read yours is without it!! I am trying this on the weekend! Thanks!

  46. Bill P

    I made these noodles today after a 15 mile run. OMGoodness, they were so delicious. I wonder if I used udon noodles next time if that would be too overwhelming-too much noodle. Thanks for the recipe.

  47. Hello! I think this is my first comment on your blog. I just wanted to tell you that I made this recipe tonight and both myself and the usually-tofu-hatin’ husband loved it. i used blanched broccoli and snow peas in place of the cucumber/bell peppers, and i used marinated tofu. i’ve actually not heard of sesame noodles before (they’re not very common here in Australia i don’t think), but this is totally going on the To Make Regularly list :)

    so thank you!

  48. sarah

    Deb – this is a winner!! I’ve made it a bunch of times (using chicken instead of tofu for all the carnivores I know and using easy to find spagetti noodles) and it is always a hit. Thanks for introducing it to me!

  49. I made this earlier in the week and loved it – great leftovers, too. My boyfriend made a face when I said there was tofu in it, so I used chicken for protein instead; I would like to try it with tofu at some point, though.

  50. Alie

    Came here looking for a recipe for tofu that could be put together in minutes. You did not disappoint! Especially as I miraculously had everything in my (very empty) fridge and pantry. So good, will be making this again.

  51. J

    This is excellent. Any vegetables will do, and I like slicing them very thin so the noodles wind around them. If you make it with chicken, be sure to shred it.

    I was visiting my mother and made this for the vegetarian/vegan grandchildren. She has someone from China living in the extra bedroom and SHE loved it and asked for the recipe!
    Your site is THE BEST

  52. Edan

    I modified this into a warm dish and it was fantastic – all because I didn’t want to get my blender dirty so I decided to heat the sauce. A little oil in the bottom of a saucepan. Saute the tofu on med heat 5 minutes. Add all sauce ingredients and turn heat to medium low, whisk occasionally until warmed through and smooth. Add peppers to sauce. Boil 3/4 lb of rice noodles. Drain, toss with sauce, divide among bowls, top with bean sprouts, sesame seeds and cucumber pieces. Squeeze of lime overtop. WHEW! Thanks, Deb!! We ate too much. And I want it again tonight.

  53. Cristina

    Hi everyone! This too has become a perennial favorite – though has anyone figured out how to get the noodles not to stick together? It makes it hard to toss…

  54. Christyna

    I thought this recipe sounded divine, but when I tried it out last night (I was faithful to the recipe down to the last millilleter!) I found the noodles stuck together and the peanut flavour was far too overwhelming (and I LOVE peanut butter). The sauce was also quite sticky, which is probably why everything clumped together.
    I’ve never had problems with any of your other recipes (which have all been very popular with friends and family), so I don’t know what gives?

    1. deb

      Hi Christina — Not sure what happened, but you can always thin the sauce with a bit of water (or soy, if you feel it needs more of a salty punch) if this happens. I find that different peanut butters do thicken it a bit differently, but like I said, no harm in thinning it next time.

  55. You’re a genius – this is a fantastic dish. I had to modify the vegetable content (spring onion, finely sliced cabbage and carrots, and cucumbers), and I didn’t have any garlic, but apart from that I followed the recipe. For sticky noodle problems I recommend immediately rinsing noodles with cold water after cooking, and mixing through a teaspoon of oil (not olive) if necessary.

  56. Maggie

    Here’s a tip for this dish that I learned watching Martin Yan make it many years ago: instead of the water called for in the dressing, use very strong black tea instead. It gives a depth of flavor that’s remarkable. Umami?

  57. Maggie

    @Christyna: I’ll bet your thickening problem came from using ‘natural’ peanut butter. I’ve had the same experience, and find that it doesn’t happen if you use regular old supermarket peanut butters — the emulsified kind, like Jif or Skippy.

  58. Christyna

    Deb & Maggie,

    Thanks for your responses! You’re right, Maggie, I used all-natural smooth peanut butter from Whole Foods. I thought because it was the ‘no stir’ type (sweetened with cane sugar or some such thing), that it would do.
    I suppose the healthier option doesn’t always work. But we knew that already, no?
    Thanks, again!

  59. Nancy

    Mm, I saw this picture and couldn’t get it out of my mind, even though I NEVER cook. I tried a super-lazy, super-amateur version without the garlic or ginger since I don’t own a blender to mix them, and I mixed everything by hand. Came out okay, but I made two mistakes that I will avoid next time: 1) I forgot to salt the pasta water, so the noodles came out really bland 2) I tried adapting the sauce proportions by tasting before adding it to the pasta. Since the sauce seemed too thick and strong when tasted alone, I watered it down. Then, when I added it to the pasta, the flavor was weakened and I regretted having messed with it. So next time, I will try to be better about following the instructions. Thanks a lot fo.r posting the recipe

  60. Nancy

    Hey, after posting my last comment, I tried something to perk up my too-bland leftover noodles (too bland because I did not follow the recipe carefully — not the fault of the recipe), and I want to mention this because it was easy worked well! I mixed some more rice vinegar and honey with a little soy sauce in a bowl, and added it to the noodles for a more “sweet and sour” effect. Tastes really great.

  61. Erin

    Ohhhh I love this recipe. Just coming back to it to celebrate a 75 degree April day in Madison, WI, and thought I’d chime in yet again about how great this recipe is. Simple. Tasty. Healthy. Refreshing. We love it here. Thanks again, Deb!

  62. Katie E.

    I wanted to thank you for this recipe–I’ve been on the hunt for great cold sesame noodles for two years. We made this last night and it was exactly what we were looking for. I’m already looking forward to making another batch!

  63. Aime

    This is a family favorite! I usually just wing the recipe…but today needed some help. Thanks! I added 1/2 cup of warm water, and I tossed the pasta in sesame oil – dark, before adding the rest.

    All veggies and protein are to your preference. I have made this plenty of times with NOTHING added, and it’s always an empty bowl at the end of the meal.

    My staple, however is cukes and cilantro.

  64. I needed a good entree for a work potluck, that could be made without requiring heating up later. This is what I found and I upped it a bit for the potluck. I just sent it out to about 4 people who asked me for the recipe at work and it has already spread through even more via forwarding. Delicious. I had to add more honey to mine, because I found that it was a bit salty with my type of PB. But, I also upped the ginger and garlic and liked that kicky flavour in it.


  65. Katie

    I brought these to a party tonight and they were a total hit! Next time I think I will use chicken instead of tofu. Yum! Thanks! :)

  66. zaphia

    I just made the peanut sauce and it is soo delicious! I would reserve some and serve it as a dipping sauce with springrolls or grilled chicken.

  67. rose

    i forgot the sesame seeds too, but it was great. i went a tad heavy on the green onions, so next time I will lighten up…and maybe add some cilantro, lime and chopped peanuts to the finished dressing.
    Thanks again Deb!

  68. Rebecca

    My boyfriend and I are on a budget and have been eating a lot of pasta and beans and rice and we needed a change. We had some chicken in the fridge that we needed to use and I wanted to make something different than the norm, but within our budget. I’ve used a recipe for peanut noodles before, I think it was in the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, or what my mother refers to as The Bible for new cooks. The problem with that recipe is that more often than not, it’s either too salty or turns out more like peanut butter noodles than what I hoped it would be. So, of course, I went to this site to see what my options were and stumbled upon this recipe. I decided it looked easy enough and it wasn’t going to be too much more work to cook some chicken in lieu of the tofu and I went the easy route, assuming the peanut sauce would add enough flavor, and just boiled the chicken with some kosher salt. We didn’t have any soba so I substituted linguine, which worked fine, but next time I will definitely go out and get the soba for authenticity’s sake. Also, the place I get my produce didn’t have scallions and that was definitely missing with the final dish. But with those two minor things aside, it was delicious, even better than the Chinese places we order out from here in Philly. I also really like the idea of adding fresh cilantro and lime and I’m also thinking of going a bit lighter on the peanut butter and heavier on the toasted sesame oil

  69. Lisa

    let me preface this by saying I’ve never actually had cold chinese take out noodles before so I have nothing to compare it to. I was really excited about this recipe and finally got to making it today. I’ll be honest, I didn’t measure any of the ingredients and the sauce was too salty for me at first. I added some more honey, a little mirin, some more rice win vinegar, a touch of molasses and some more ginger. The sauce tasted AMAZING before I added it to the pasta. But after combining everything the sauce just fell totally flat =. It wasn’t really peanuty enough, and the tang from the vinegar disappeared. The sauce itself was so good, I just can’t understand why it lost so much oomph once it got onto the pasta. oh well, at least I have an amazing peanut dipping sauce!

  70. Layla

    We only used half of the noodles, but forgot to halve the sauce, but it was delicious anyway. Next time I’ll pay more attention. Quick and easy.

  71. kathy in st louis

    I’m making this tonight with your butternut squash, chickpea, and tahini dish in mind. First, I made a few changes in the sauce to reflect what I had on hand: used cane syrup instead of lavendar honey, dried garlic & ginger instead of fresh (and I cannot recall the last time I swapped granulated garlic for fresh, but then, that’s why we keep a small jar around), tamari instead of soy sauce, a mix of pumpkin seed oil and sesame oil for the full amount of the latter, apple cider vinegar instead of rice wine vinegar, and – finally – I added a few drops of liquid smoke. Hooboy, it’s good.

    The only pasta we have in the house is spaghettini, so spaghettini it is. I’ll toss it with roasted, leftover butternut squash and parsnips, chickpeas, and toasted sesame seeds. (Alas, no fresh herbs in the house with which I could spark the dish, but we’ll live.) I think it’ll work. Handily, I hope.

    Thanks, Deb.

  72. Dryflour

    i like the photos. i like the way the noodles have tightly wrapped around the chunky vegetables. beautiful. delicious! how about a peanut sesame coleslaw recipe?

  73. Julie

    Wow, I made this dish today for lunch and it is perfect. I made cucumber noodles (with a japanese slicer) and used half the amount of wheat noodles. I cut the tofu to little cubes and sauteed them just a little bit instead too. It was really really really good and what I will be serving when my parents come to visit.

  74. Mary

    This is my “go to” quick work-night dinner. I have made it so many different ways and all of them are delicious and use whatever vegetables are on hand. Tonight it was made with 3 different soba noodles (buckwheat, regular and green tea- pretty!), spinach and green onion. The meat eaters in the family topped theirs with leftover chicken that was cooked with garlic and the vegetarians had it as is (no tofu in the house today). My teenage son gave the highest compliment possible: “I actually like this.” Enough said!

  75. Meghan

    I used natural peanut butter (the only ingredients were peanuts and salt), and it worked wonderfully. I left out the cucumbers (my boyfriend doesn’t like them) and substituted grilled steak for the tofu. It got rave reviews.

  76. Cait

    I know this dish a Bun Bun noodles. Though when I had it it wasn’t so pretty and the sauce was actually a bit coarse. It’s great to see that it CAN be made smooth and lovely.

  77. Maggie

    Thank you so much for this. I’ve been wanting to make peanut sauce for a long time (it’s so easy, right?) but I finally did it and yours was my recipe of choice. I actually used the sauce as a dipping sauce for some fresh spring rolls I made. Holy Moly, yum!

  78. shoshana

    Hey Deb,

    Would tempeh work instead of tofu in this recipe? I haven’t cooked w/tempeh much, but nutritionally I prefer it to tofu….perhaps its better to just use chicken instead?

    can’t wait to make this YUM!

  79. Samantha

    Love this receipt, I got rave reviews and lots of kudos.

    I substituted steamed zucchini for the cucumber, to give it more of a autumn feel (instead of such a summer dish) but I love the taste of the tofu in it.

    Trader Joe’s chunky peanut butter was perfect – it gave it almost a Thai feel (chunky peanut sauce for dipping), that was delicious.

  80. KellyP

    Would it be so wrong to make this in December? I think not. This will be my dinner tomorrow night while the “hubs” is in class!

  81. Snowydrops

    Thanks for a delicious recipe, Deb! Although tofu plays a large part in my diet, I can’t stomach the idea of eating them cold (and to me, raw). So I pan-fried the little cubes for a minute or so on each side until it’s golden on the outside. Serving with buckwheat soba noodles, this was delicious. My husband was very pleased! =)

  82. OH WOW – these are amazing. Thank you!! Instead of warm water, I used the water I had saved from soaking some mushrooms, that added some savoury-ness. And I added julienned carrots for additional texture. YUM.

  83. Shilpa

    I made this for dinner last night and it was fantastic! Quick question, though – has anybody tried making the dressing in bulk and refrigerating it for later use? Any reasons to believe that it might not keep?

  84. Humanus Genus

    I made this a few months ago and have bought soba noodles to make it again this week. I added a lot more peanut butter than you suggested so it was a bit sticky but I really enjoyed it. Am adding diced chicken and carrot to this and subtracting tofu and yellow capsicum (out of season in Australia). I’m so in love with ginger at the moment that I’m also making Ginger Fried Rice tonight as well!

  85. you can add coconut milk ( I use the light version) for an added layer of taste as well. I put about half a can in this recipe. also stretches the recipe to cover more pasta/veggies. this sauce does indeed keep for a week or so in the fridge.

  86. Lisa M.

    Absolutely delicious. I made this last night for dinner. It definitely made enough for 6-8 main course servings. My husband and kids liked it so well they fought over who got the leftovers for lunch. (Yes, even with tofu in it.) I added some chopped cilantro (because I had it) and served with lime wedges.

  87. Just made the sauce with a few changes (tahini and almond butter instead of the peanut butter, and no chili anything added) and it is SO good! Also substituted white vinegar for rice vinegar as that was all I had on hand…… whisked it by hand and had a really fast pantry staple sauce. Can’t wait to eat it for dinner, thanks for this recipe, it was a great jumping off point!

  88. Debby

    Great recipe! I scoured the internet for a simple recipe and I could not have been happier I found this one. This recipe has been added to the recipe cards!

  89. Meagan

    Thanks so much for this recipe. It has become one of my husband’s favorites! Once I substituted some Asian spiced pork for the tofu and, surprisingly, he said this dish is so good he didn’t miss the meat in it and prefered it vegetarian! We make it all the time! The first time he ate he, he even got a little teared up at how good it tasted. :)

  90. Christy

    Googled “Peanut Noodles” today and found a recipe that looked good, the sauce came out pretty good but was just not quite perfect, so I googled again and saw your recipe…honestly what was I thinking, why didn’t I just go to you first? Soooo good, thank you!

  91. Delicious! I added a bit more dried hot red pepper flakes (I love spicy food), but other than than it was perfect :) The peanut sauce keeps well in the refrigerator, so I’m stashing some there for quick meals this week!

  92. Noodles is one of the important staple foods in many regions of China, It is also one of my favorite foods. It has various cooking methods, your noodles impressed me, adding several kinds of vegetables, it will be more nice, tasty and more healthy. thanks for your recipe.

  93. Laura

    I made this tonight for company (I have a terrible habit of trying new recipes when others are in attendance) and it did not disappoint. The guest compared it to the best Mongolian grill in town, and said this was better! I’d have to agree, it was absolutely delicious.

    I used rice noodles instead of soba in effort to cater to certain gluten free needs, and I used chicken instead of tofu. I ended up making a double batch of the sauce to cover all the noodles, so I will plan on that for next time.

    This is going in my regular rotation.

  94. anna

    Hi Deb,
    I have a can of tahini paste in my pantry that I would like to use. Can I substitute the tahini paste for the peanut butter? If not, do you have any suggestions/recipes for the tahini paste.

  95. Justine

    I was reading your blog and came across this post. Found it interesting to read other people’s interpretation of something I’ve been eating since childhood. Your recipe looks great, and makes me wonder if I should tweak with my own family’s recipe…
    On a slightly cultural note, I’m a little disappointed that you suggested soba noodles, since this is traditionally made with Chinese liang mien (literally translated to cold noodles), which are a bit thicker and rounder than soba noodles. I don’t believe they are buckwheat, but I can’t seem to name exactly what they are.
    In Taiwan we also traditionally add carrots and omit the hot sauce (which is generally pepper oil). At Chinese restaurants in Taiwan and in America, I have never seen tofu in it, as firm tofu is rarely served cold. Hope I didn’t sound snobby there, I just thought this might interest you guys! It’s great to see a childhood favorite on one of my favorite food blogs though!

    1. deb

      Justine — Thanks for the tips! This is by no means authentic — I hope that was made clear — it’s just this hacked version I make us for dinner once in a while. I would love to see a recipe for the authentic version, if you have a link to one. Thank you!

  96. Shannon

    This was yummy! I had an odd jar of almond butter with cayenne pepper hanging around and I wasn’t sure what to do it until I saw this recipe. So I made this recipe last night with the following alterations: almond butter with cayenne pepper (hence omitting the red pepper listed in the recipe), buckwheat soba noodles, julienned carrots, chopped fresh cilantro. I’m not a huge fan of raw onion so I sauteed the scallions and carrots on the stove very briefly. My husby has already finished what was leftover for lunch!

  97. Valerie

    Hi Deb! I found this recipe and love the sauce. Although, my soba noodles became super clumpy. Any ideas on how to fix that?

  98. Clara

    I’m a long time reader, but first time commenter. I just wanted to let you know how much my husband and I love this recipe. In fact, my husband loves it so much that he has requested it for his birthday dinner every year for the last three years and I will be making it once again for his 30th birthday on Sunday. Thanks for giving us a new favorite.

  99. alyssa

    Deb! I was searching for an easy Sunday afternoon meal, and this really hit the spot. We ate it hot for lunch (quickly sauteed the peppers and tofu with ginger and garlic before mixing everything together) and it was divine! Then, we ate it cold for dinner and I loved it cold as well. How do you do it?
    Thanks a bunch! – A

  100. Laura H in Austin

    Made this recently and it’s going in the repertoire. Three minor additions, if you’ve got ’em handy: a little chopped cilantro, chopped salted peanuts and squeeze of lime on top. I also prefer my tofu lightly fried with a bit of peanut oil but I realize the health level changes for the worse that way … I also have added red cabbage to this, turning it into a blend of this and one of your slaw recipes. Thank you for the constant inspiration!

  101. Jane

    Thanks for this quick and easy dinner! I used natural peanut butter and from reading through the comments afterwards, I’ll go back go the grocery store brands next time. No harm though–it was gladly inhaled and enjoyed by this household! Definitely on the regular rotation now…

  102. Bee

    How did it take six years for me to find this?! Thank you Smitten Kitchen and Google for the best peanut sesame sauce of my life!

  103. the gert

    delicious! I don’t have a blender, and probably wouldn’t have wanted to get it dirty if I did. I wisked the sauce, it worked perfectly.

  104. Court

    I’m 29 weeks pregnant, just got home from the farmers market and was craving this for lunch! Eating now, and just noticed you posted it 7 years ago on this exact date :)

  105. Mara

    Made this tonight for my daughter who has always wanted to try sesame noodles but is allergic to peanuts. Cashew butter works!

  106. Michele

    I got home from the store and realized I had no soy sauce or proper noodles. I improvised with a little salt lime juice and lime zest. Thin spaghetti too. Pretty Damn good and enthusiastic approval from my daughters. Sometimes you’re just too tired to go back to the store.

  107. Deb

    Solid sauce that can be added to any kind of noodles, with any toppings. I had udon noodles, and threw in what I had in the house: cucumber, green onions/scallions, shredded carrot and cilantro. The dressing was fantastic on this.

  108. andi

    I’ve never purchased soba noodles, and even though the package stated it was organic buckwheat soba noodles, they looked very thin to me (much thinner than your photo). The sauce was terrific; but it was much too heavy for these noodles, rendering the final result gloppy and not very visually appealing. Good news is it still tasted fantastic. Does soba come in different lengths, widths, and colors? Is there anything else I could have done wrong?

    1. deb

      andi — I’m sorry it wasn’t to your liking; the intention was for this to be the heavier kind I remember from growing up. However, I have a different version of this — lighter, with rice noodles too — that’s probably more to your liking. It’s here. I’m adding the update link to the post now; I was remiss!

  109. W.

    This is one of my very favorite recipes from your site, and that’s saying a lot, because I love so many. The first time I made it, we liked it so much that we wound up making it twice (and eating it three times) in one week. I’ve made it for friends, family, in-laws…it’s my very first go-to on a hot day. I’ve finally given up on my neighborhood grocery store’s limited selection of Asian noodles, and now I just make it with spaghetti noodles, which works great. I sometimes switch up the veggies based on what we have and our tastes (I always add sugar snap peas, and sometimes mushrooms). You just can’t go wrong with this one.

  110. Bethany

    This is my favorite long day at work quick meal for a toddler. I will add chicken and broccoli sometimes. It’s so good and easy and even the tiny human gobbles it up.

  111. Sophia Weston

    This is pure comfort food. Mine turned out a little too spicy but I love the fresh, crunchy vegetables, and the smooth sauce. How long will this keep in the fridge?

  112. Megan Lindsey

    This sauce was terrible. I didn’t add all the water called for and this was so thin it was like salty peanut water – good for salad perhaps but not good for sticking to soba noodles. Not balanced at all despite the ingredient list – unbelievably salty. What a waste.

    1. Kathy

      I realize that this is an old post and comments. This recipe seems to be such a favorite, but your comment caught my eye b/c your expdfience was so different from many others. It got me wondering what might have made yours turn out so watery…so I can avoid that pitfall. It may not have had anything to do with how you followed the recipe. My big question is what kind of peanut butter did you use? She was not specific at all. That alone could swing things.
      Natural (just peanuts)? Salted?
      Natural “No stir — usually with Palm Oil) Salted
      Conventiona (hydrogenated oil or palm oil added, sugar, salt etv (Original Jif, Peter Pan, Skippy etc)

      The reason I thought of that is b/c I use a “just peanuts” Peanut butter. When you add water to this kind of peanut butter it absorbs the water and ctually thickens as you stir it. (Unless you add more liquid than it can absorb.).

      My thinking is, since the other kinds (with palm oil or hydrogenated oil) would have a lower concentration of peanuts, perhaps that made the consistancy thinner? IDK! I’m going to pose this to Deb and see what I can find out.

    2. Kathy

      Was just looking at some of the earlier comments and see where s/o else complained it aad to thick and gloppy for the rice noodles she was using. Deb directed her to a recipe for a thinner dressing…so that sort of reinforces my suspicion that something went wrong…or at least there was something “different” that made your sauce turn out so poorly. I’ve posted the question to Deb…we’ll see what she says. Cheers!😊

  113. Megan

    This was excellent! Multi-dimensional sauce + crunchy veg + good soba noodles = *chef’s kiss*. My picky (“I don’t like cold noodles!”) spouse even thought it was a delicious summer meal.

  114. Rachel

    Even though there is another (also excellent) version of this on the site (takeout-style sesame noodles with cucumber), try this too! The dressing can be used for so many other things. I particularly like it on a kale salad.

  115. Beth L

    I’ve had this recipe since 2008. I made it for the second time yesterday. And it’s still delicious, even though I left out a few things on purpose; the peppers because of my delicate stomach situation, the cucumbers because I just couldn’t envision it and the sesame seeds just because I wasn’t going to buy another thing. But it was still so tasty.

  116. Oh how delicious do these sound. I’ll have to start working on sourcing some ingredients for this as both peanut and sesame are my favorite flavors!

    1. Anna

      I’m obviously not Deb, but I would personally just leave the sesame oil out and replace the seeds with finely chopped peanuts

  117. Kathy

    DEB: info please!
    What kind of peanut butter did you use.

    This recipe looks wonderful and looks like it is well loved…but I noticed one person said it turned out like salty “peanut eater.” 2019 comnent)

    I puzzled over that. If a mistake was made I didn’t want to make the same mistake, so I’m trying to figure out what might have gone wrong for her.

    When i read her comment I immediately checked what kind of peanut butter you specified…but the recipe just says “peanut butter.” 🤷‍♀️

    Could it be that you intended “natural” peanut butter (nothing added, just peanuts)? This is the kind I use — and it actually thickens when you add water (up to a certain point.) I can well imagine that conventional.PB (Jif, Skippy etc) might react very differently. Additionally, if you had intended unsalted PB, that would explain why hers came out overly salty.

    (I replied to her this evening, explaining all this, and asking what she had used, and letting her know I’d be checking with you as to what you’d used. Thanks in advance. For both of us!😊 I have all the ingredients handy, so just waiting on your reply.❤)

    1. deb

      I use Skippy but you can use a natural or more processed pb here. If you use a natural one, you might find it needs a tiny bit more salt or honey, but not always.

  118. Kristen Kemp

    THANK YOU for the suggestion of storing everything separately and assembling one bowl at a time! I’m going to give this a try but, since I’m allergic to peanuts, use organic sunbutter that is only roasted sunflower seeds.

  119. Lindsay Byres

    This salad SLAPS in all the right ways and is intensely satisfying. I’ve been making this for years but the renewed photos and demos renewed my love for the perfect simplicity of this summer meal. Soba noodles add such a fantastic depth of flavour compared to the rice vermicelli I’ve used in the past and I love the addition of tiny tofu sticks. Since we had a 1/4 of a purple cabbage lingering in the fridge I added that plus a handful of cilantro but otherwise made as written.

  120. Mia

    Super good! I am impressed with this cold noodle dressing, and its versatile, too. I had to use tahini instead of peanut butter and it was very tasty.