Cold Sesame Noodles

Cooking for a Crowd, Recipes, Weekend Cooking
sesame noodles
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sesame noodles

Photo: Leigh Loftus

This weekend I was invited to a potluck in Central Park. The instructions: bring something to serve 10 people. My first thought? Yikes!

Getting together with a big group is one of my favorite excuses to cook a meal, but it can be labor intensive and expensive. So I challenged myself to cook a one-bowl dish that wouldn’t break the bank, wilt in the heat, or require hours in the kitchen.

For my dish, I was inspired by a friend who recently served this homemade cold sesame noodle dish for a group dinner. The meal was simple but impressive and a little went a long way to feed our hungry crowd. I’ve added red pepper and cucumber to the recipe, but you can get creative and toss in your favorite vegetables or beef this up by adding a protein like tofu or chicken.

One of the best parts: most of the ingredients are already in your pantry. These sesame noodles taste even better the next day, so go ahead and make this in advance for an easy plan-ahead meal.

sesame noodles

Photo: Leigh Loftus

2.0 from 1 reviews
Cold Sesame Noodles
Recipe type: Cooking for a Crowd, Weekend Cooking
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
  • 1 pound linguini or perciatelle, cooked according to package directions
  • ⅔ cups plus 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • ⅓ cup toasted sesame oil
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter (creamy or chunky)
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 2 red bell peppers, julienned
  • 1 cucumber, julienned
  • Crushed red pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 cup chopped scallions
  1. Prepare and combine all ingredients (except scallions and sesame seeds) in a big bowl while the water is boiling and the pasta is cooking.
  2. When pasta is done, drain completely and toss into the sauce, making sure all pieces of the pasta get covered in sauce. Toss in scallions and sesame seeds before serving. Serve at room temperature.
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  • Reply
    June 13, 2018 at 9:52 pm

    those time estimates are downright criminal. what are we line cooks? this needs to stop.

  • Reply
    August 17, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    This sounds like the PERFECT dish for our church potluck!! Can’t wait to try it! Thanks!

  • Reply
    July 7, 2011 at 10:49 am

    Ok, this is ridiculously genius. And not only that, it’s naturally vegan! Will definitely have to be trying this soon.

    One of the complications about pot-lucks is the concern about keeping certain things cool, and certain things warm. This looks like it would be delicious regardless of temperature!

  • Reply
    Maria @ Scandifoodie
    July 4, 2011 at 3:37 am

    yumm! this sounds so tasty! perfect for a winter picnic here in Sydney too πŸ˜‰

  • Reply
    The Harried Cook
    July 1, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    You won’t believe that I was actually thinking yesterday that I should find a good cold noodle salad recipe! Thanks for sharing this πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    July 1, 2011 at 8:21 am

    This sounds SO delicious! I bet everyone at the potluck loved it… I know I would have!

  • Reply
    June 30, 2011 at 10:01 am

    This looks awesome… I’ll be trying it for a gathering this weekend! Thanks, Maris!! πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    June 30, 2011 at 3:58 am

    This looks totally delicious, and anything that is one pot works for me – I love the fresh vegetables in there and that you’ve got some sesame seeds, it makes it a really tasty and nutritious meal. Thank you!

  • Reply
    Nami @ Just One Cookbook
    June 29, 2011 at 11:31 pm

    Definitely steeling your recipe for a future large group potluck! I can’t think of any dish I cook that could feed 10 people! Noodle salad is a fabulous idea. Everyone loves pasta!

  • Reply
    June 29, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    Peanut butter noodles are one of my favorite go-to’s for the summer! The cold noodles on a hot day – nothings better!

  • Reply
    June 29, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    These noodles look great- adding peanut butter is new to me but sure sounds a lot of fun!

  • Reply
    June 29, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    Hi there! I found you through this Skinny Chick Can Bake. just going from this recipe, I’m so glad I did! I LOVE sesame noodles and these look fantastic! Definitely going on my to try list.

  • Reply
    Lisa from Lisas Yarns
    June 29, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    Yum! This sounds delicious! I love dishes like this as they tend to be even better the next day, and I am all about delicious leftovers. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    June 29, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    I love sesame noodles but have not served them cold before – for some odd reason – what a great warm weather preparation. The lemon and ginger are a beautiful pairing with the peanut butter. Sounds delightful!

  • Reply
    Heavenly Housewife
    June 29, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    A picnic in central park sounds like so much fun, as does this pasta!
    *kisses* HH

  • Reply
    June 29, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    That’s a great idea for a picnic side dish. The flavors sound delicious.

  • Reply
    sheila @ Elements
    June 29, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    We are definitely on the same wave length ’cause I just posted a cold sesame pasta salad recipe today too! πŸ™‚ But yours is much different than mine, and it sounds quite interesting with the peanut butter, orange juice and lemon juice.

    I’ve never tried peanuts or peanut butter in stir fry or pasta salad. My husband doesn’t care for peanuts/peanut butter. But I might give this a try and use tahini instead of peanut butter. I’m sure that would make for a nice substitute.

    I’m bookmarking this and will try it as soon as I get some tahini. I tried to pick some up yesterday at the store but do you believe the shelf was bare? I guess there was a run on tahini. How weird! Anyway, thanks so much for posting the recipe. I can’t wait to try it! πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Aparna E.
    June 29, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    Yuuuum! That looks and sounds so delicious! I’ll have to give this recipe a try! Seems simple enough and with simple ingredients!

  • Reply
    Junia @ Mis Pensamientos
    June 29, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    ooo love the combo of peanutbutter in these noodles!! pb works so well with soy and sesame flavors!

  • Reply
    June 29, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    The sesame noodles sound great–a perfect meal for summer!

  • Reply
    Alexis @ There She Goes
    June 29, 2011 at 11:07 am

    love cold noodle dishes like this!

  • Reply
    June 29, 2011 at 9:48 am

    This is such a great choice for alfresco meals. I happen to love noodles in all forms but I get weak-kneed at even the thought of sesame noodles. Yours sound wonderful. I hope you enjoy the party in the park. Have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  • Reply
    June 29, 2011 at 8:34 am

    I could have cold sesame noodles at weekly basis! Looks yuuuuuuuummy!

  • Reply
    Beth @ DiningAndDishing
    June 29, 2011 at 8:15 am

    any dish involving peanut butter – noodles included – is an auto fave in my book :).

  • Reply
    T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types
    June 29, 2011 at 7:52 am

    This is a great picnic option – and I like the fact that it uses two tablespoons of peanut butter – I’ve often struggled with trying to add more and combine it into the salad.

  • Reply
    June 29, 2011 at 7:40 am

    Haha seems like Gillian and I have similar goals. Although I think that the whole learning to cook thing has been more successful than marrying (or even dating) well. Sigh. At least there are good noodle salads to be made and eaten. That makes up for everything.

  • Reply
    June 29, 2011 at 7:14 am

    Great cold noodle salad for picnics or potlucks. Love that it can be made a day ahead and only get better tasting!

  • Reply
    Kitchen Belleicious
    June 29, 2011 at 6:56 am

    You know now that I think about it I have never done cold noodles. I am not sure if I am a cold noodle gal but you sure have be second guessing this because that dish looks super delicious. I love sesame seeds on just about anything and I bet that sauce is wonderful!

  • Reply
    June 29, 2011 at 6:49 am

    love dishes like this- better prepped ahead, and absolutely delicious πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Blond Duck
    June 29, 2011 at 6:14 am

    My husband will be thrilled because it’s pasta, I’ll be thrilled because there’s peanut butter. Great recipe!

  • Reply
    June 29, 2011 at 3:59 am

    This will be the hit of any picnic!

  • Reply
    June 28, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    Yay Gillian!! Brilliant as always. Sesame noodles are a picnic or potluck staple for the Chinese. We don’t usually use PB, but the concept is the same. It’s the best crowd make-ahead dish!

  • Reply
    June 28, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    It’s been so humid here in NYC the idea of hot food has been minus 100; this looks perfectly delicious for a hot day in the park!

  • Reply
    Shari @ Chicago Cuisine Critique
    June 28, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    I love cold sesame noodles! Yum! πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    lynn @ the actor's diet
    June 28, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    i think this is my husband’s favorite food in the world

  • Reply
    June 28, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    This sounds amazing! It’s definitely going to make it into my summer repertoire.

  • Reply
    June 28, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    I love this because it’s perfect for a picnic, but also unexpected. Great thinking!

  • Reply
    June 28, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    Craving this!!!

  • Reply
    June 28, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    OMG, I hate peanuts & peanut butter but I know that you need to use this when making Asian cold sesame noodles. This recipe sounds even better than the one that I have! I can’t wait to try it.

  • Reply
    June 28, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    looks great adore noodle dishes

  • Reply
    Alison @ Ingredients, Inc.
    June 28, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    These look and sound wonderful. My kind of dish!

  • Reply
    June 28, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    Noodles with peanut butter??? I thought I read it wrongly, it does sound exotic to me (pardon me, for I am no fan of nuts, that’s just me:)

  • Reply
    June 28, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    Such simple ingredients and it looks fantastic. Another great recipe Maris!

  • Reply
    June 28, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    Oh, how fabulous! I wouldn’t even look at any other dish if I was at your pot luck! Something so tasty about Asian noodle dishes…and yours sounds extraordinary!!!

  • Reply
    June 28, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    I’ve never enjoyed cold noodles but then I’ve never tried them like this. Peanut butter is a sure winner for me. I like Polwig’s idea of the lettuce cup too.

  • Reply
    June 28, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    I have made cold noodles before but never with peanut butter, definately more flavor. I also served mine in lettuce cups for more fun. These look great, perfect snack to have in a fridge on a hot day.

  • Reply
    June 28, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    LOVE peanut noodles! I use a recipe based off of Rachael Ray’s version and its always a hit. Very good with almond butter too. This is so perfect for a large get together! Great work!

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