Creamy Sesame Noodle Salad (30 Minutes!)

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Fork picking up a bite of an Asian-inspired sesame noodle salad from a bowl

When the weather is hot, we find ourselves craving cooling, satisfying meals that come together fast. Enter this 30-minute Creamy Sesame Noodle Salad! It’s fresh, saucy, filling, SO flavorful, and delicious served warm or cold.

We love it for picnics in the park, as a side dish for BBQs, or as part of a summer meal. Make it a meal by pairing with tempeh or grilled tofu or chicken skewers. Let us show you how it’s done!

Cilantro, tahini, soy sauce, ginger, rice vinegar, maple syrup, noodles, cucumber, sesame oil, lime, peanuts, green onion, and garlic

Recipe Inspiration

This sesame noodle salad is inspired by a Taiwanese dish called Ma Jiang Mian (Chinese Sesame Noodles). Our search for the dish’s origin story came up empty, but common ingredients seem to include wheat-based noodles, soy sauce, sesame paste, vinegar, sesame oil, and sugar.

The following is our gluten-free optional, naturally sweetened, inspired version using easy-to-access ingredients and a zippy flavor twist. You can find a more traditional version of the dish from The Woks of Life.

How to Make This Sesame Noodle Salad

It starts with cooking your favorite noodles, then whisking together a creamy, super savory dressing featuring tamari (or soy sauce) and tahini. The flavor is balanced with rice vinegar and lime juice for brightness, maple syrup for sweetness, toasted sesame oil for richness and sesame vibes, and garlic and ginger for more dimension.

It’s one of those dressings that’s so good you want to lick it from the spoon!

Whisking homemade sesame dressing in a bowl

Next, we prep the veggies, which make this salad feel super fresh.

Limes next to a cutting board with cucumbers, green onion, and cilantro

Mix them up with the sesame dressing, your favorite noodles, and chopped peanuts or cashews for crunch. And that’s it — it’s dinnertime, friends!

Bowl of sesame dressing, noodles, and julienned cucumbers

We hope you LOVE this sesame noodle salad! It’s:

Quick & easy
& SUPER flavorful!

We love bringing this salad to BBQs or picnics, or preparing it as part of a summer meal. It’s delicious served with tempeh, grilled tofu or chicken skewers, or alongside other Asian-inspired recipes.

More Satisfying Salads for Summer

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo @minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Cucumbers, lime, peanuts, and cilantro over a bowl of saucy noodles

Creamy Sesame Noodle Salad (30 Minutes!)

Creamy and satisfying sesame noodle salad that’s perfect for picnics or BBQs! A great side dish to serve with tempeh, tofu, or chicken skewers. Just 30 minutes required!
Author Minimalist Baker
Limes, cilantro, and peanuts on a bowl of our sesame noodle salad recipe
4.95 from 38 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 (~1-cup servings)
Course Side
Cuisine Asian-Inspired, Chinese-Inspired
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 2 Days



  • 8 oz. brown rice udon noodles (we like Lotus Foods // or sub other noodles such as buckwheat soba or spaghetti // ensure gluten-free as needed)
  • 1 large cucumber, peeling optional (we like peeling in stripes)
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion (2 stalks yield ~1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped roasted peanuts or cashews (lightly salted or unsalted)


  • 1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari* (ensure gluten-free as needed)
  • 3 Tbsp well-stirred tahini (we prefer the hulled, drippy kind! See our tahini review)
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 ½ Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp minced garlic (2 cloves garlic yield ~2 tsp)


  • Cook noodles according to package instructions then rinse in cold water to cool them quickly and stop them from sticking together. Set aside to drain.
  • Meanwhile, whisk together all the sesame dressing ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
  • Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise, then remove the seedy middle with a spoon. Cut into 2-3-inch (5-8 cm) matchsticks approximately the same width as cooked noodles.
  • Add the drained noodles and 3/4 of the sliced cucumbers to the dressing bowl and stir well to combine. Optionally, transfer to a serving platter.
  • Top with the remaining cucumber, green onions, cilantro, and chopped peanuts. Garnish with extra lime wedges (optional). Enjoy right away or chill for 30 minutes before serving. It’s delicious served with tempeh or grilled tofu or chicken skewers.
  • Best when fresh. Leftover salad will keep stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Not freezer friendly.



*If soy-free, use coconut aminos in place of soy sauce/tamari and start with less maple syrup as coconut aminos are naturally sweet.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with Lotus Foods Brown Rice Udon Noodles.

Nutrition (1 of 6 servings)

Serving: 1 cup Calories: 332 Carbohydrates: 40.6 g Protein: 10.5 g Fat: 15.5 g Saturated Fat: 2.4 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 3.8 g Monounsaturated Fat: 6.2 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 679 mg Potassium: 374 mg Fiber: 4.5 g Sugar: 5.3 g Vitamin A: 310 IU Vitamin C: 3 mg Calcium: 41 mg Iron: 2.4 mg

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My Rating:

  1. Kay says

    This is AWESOME. I make 1x per month at least. My favorite meal to look forward to after a busy day and I think my fav MB recipe ever!!! I’ve memorized it by now :) made it at least a dozen times over the summer since I found it. :)

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Aw, YAY! We’re so glad this is a recipe you look forward to making, Kay. Thank you for the lovely review! xo

  2. Rachel says

    This is a wonderful summer recipe. It’s easy to make parts ahead, double the recipe for a party or picnic, and modify. I’ve made it twice now, once as a double recipe for a crowd, and it’s a hit. Pretty low effort and high reward. It’s great with blanched chopped asparagus.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you’re enjoying it, Laura! Thanks so much for the lovely review! xo

  3. Lindy says

    yummy and actually made in 30 mins! I used pad thai noodles and they didn’t drain very well, so they diluted the sauce unfortunately. not sure how to dry them more, may try to just toss with a little sesame oil next time (hopefully it won’t take forever to cool). any other ideas for getting them dry?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Lindy, did you strain them in a colander? That’s usually enough to do the trick, but perhaps drying in a clean dish towel if they are still wet after that?

      • Lindy says

        yes I let them strain in a colander while prepping the rest of the ingredients but they stayed pretty wet for some reason! the dish towel sounds like something to try next time, thank you!

  4. Heather NYC says

    Loved it! Easy and quick for a weekday dinner. I did not add cilantro (we don’t like it) and otherwise added brown sugar instead of maple syrup which we didn’t have. I used extra brown sugar (maybe 1 1/2 T) because it’s maybe less sweet than maple syrup, not sure. I didn’t serve this with tofu or seitan, just a green side.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Amazing! Thanks so much for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications, Heather!

  5. Hilary says

    This was delicious! A hit for the adults and kids. We added edamame, red pepper, and snow peas to boost the veggies. This will be on repeat!

  6. Lisa says

    WOW. I was planning on doubling the sauce because with most recipes I never seem to have enough to really be satisfying …but, I was surprised to see I had just enough tahini for one batch, and it had to go into the mini food processor because it was well separated and very, VERY, caked solid. This was actually great because I first used it to chop the (dry) peanuts, the (pretty dry) cilantro, and I just threw in the garlic cloves —adding one bc mine were not big— and about 1” a chunk of peeled ginger. It tasted a little sweet to me, so I added about a tablespoon of peanut butter (that’s what I had!) and 1/2 Tbs more dark sesame oil. It was phenomenal —yes, seriously lick the bowl good. AND, I had PLENTY to generously cover the noodles! Nice job, MB!

    I also cubed a block of extra firm tofu, used about 1/3-1/2C flour in a gallon ziploc to coat them, and quickly fried them in an iron skillet coated with avo oil over med-hi heat for 6mins, flipping (not at all precisely) at 3mins for a golden brown, crispy outside. I preheat the pan for 2mins, then add oil and heat another 1.5-2mins —you can just see the heat coming up, but not smoking. This makes them crispy, not soaked in oil and soggy. My hubby—who is not a huge tofu fan— said, “The tofu really adds to the flavor. I can really say that.” —lol

    A hit at the dinner table! My discriminating husband and 16yo son (we’re kinda foodies and although I cook a lot, we eat out at a lot of very nice restaurants) LOVED it …like they had 2nds and 3rds.

    Super easy and fast, and it seems pretty healthful —highly, highly recommend.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Aw, thank you SO much for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications, Lisa! We’re so glad you and your family enjoyed it! xo

  7. Lisa Edelman says

    I make this dressing all the time now. I love this sauce so much.
    I include the peanuts and coriander but vary the actual salad to include carrots and red peppers and lots more. I love it. Thank you.

  8. Shaina Alissa Clingempeel says

    Hi! Do you think I could make this without tahini! I’m not as big on creamy sauces but love sesame and have many of the other ingredients. Thanks! :)

  9. Kari Collins says

    This is delicious! A definite keeper. I made it with the cucumber the first time and I liked it but felt I would like it better with snow peas, so I tried it that way and that is my preference. I have used them both raw and just lightly sauteed in water. Delish! I have made it without the sesame oil as well and it was great that way, too. I am so thrilled to find this site!

  10. Marta says

    Hi! I only have non toasted pure sesame oil. Do I need the toasted version? Will the end flavor change a lot?

  11. Joy says

    Delicious. Would use a lower sodium tamari next time. Added some chili paste for a little zip. Great recipe, thank you!

  12. Kailee says

    Absolutely loved this! It was so simple to make and yummy. I even got to use the cucumbers from my garden. I’ve made it twice already

  13. Lisa says

    This was a delicious entrée! I doubled the recipe for our household and used whole wheat spaghetti for the noodles. I also topped it off with seasoned roasted tofu. Regarding the sauce, the well known drippy brand of Tahini I used was very bitter. Probably the most bitter Tahini I’ve ever used so I cut it with drippy peanut butter. And, the sauce still turned out great!

  14. SNL says

    Great fresh recipe that’s open to improvisation which is perfect – only me and I eyed balled most of it (apart from the sauce). My swaps: 100g frozen cooked wholegrain rice (defrosted in the microwave), a cooked chicken breast shredded (protein for dinner meal), added leftover salad leaves, 1/2 lime juiced (more than 1tbsp), added leftover 1/3 bag salad leaves, 1tsp garlic olive oil for raw garlic, sliced radish and copious amounts of coriander for more freshness against the rice/dressing. Tahini brands really do make a big difference to the final outcome and so does fresh ginger! Thank you :D

    • SNL says

      Completely forgot to mention I added 1tsp* sriracha to the dressing for a kiss of heat (surprised to not see it listed) and upped the sugar slightly upon tasting

      • SNL says

        Thought I’d add I used my leftover dressing as a stir fry sauce (inspiration taken from this website of course). Great savoury flavour and a perfect canvas for leftover Aldi chilli/garlic roasted nuts topper haha. Thank you for the dinner ideas!

  15. Mari says

    Everyone in our household went back for seconds including 2 and 4 year old. We added steamed broccoli and tofu. Will definitely make again!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Aw, thank you SO much for the lovely review, Mari! We’re so glad you and your family enjoyed it! xo

  16. Kiki MN says

    I agree with other reviewers that it is fun to add more veggies to this recipe. I charred cabbage, red bell pepper, radish and cucumbers and added to the noodles then also added fresh diced fresh Thai chili to the toppings. Another option for finishing is some chili crunch. Roughly chopped nuts add a great texture.

  17. Jean says

    I have made this twice and it just got better! I used rice noodles, tamari and cashews and everything else was exactly as written. I have been vegan for 8 years but newly gluten sensitive. This is very satisfying and very simple to make. Highly recommend!

  18. Jamie Heller says

    This was fabulous! The sesame dressing was perfectly balanced. The best I have ever made and I have tried several variations. My husband really enjoyed his lunch today. I made it for him while my 8 ingredient lasagna is baking in the oven for me! Smells divine, I will report back on that recipes comment section. Thank you!

  19. Irma says

    It was so good! We made this alongside the Grilled Teriyaki Tofu Skewers from this website (we treated this like a ‘side’ to the skewers) and it was a fantastic combination. I love ginger so I did like 2-3x the amount of ginger, and my tahini was much harder so the sauce wasn’t as smooth as in her video, but it still turned out and tasted delicious. I also topped with some black sesame seeds for a nice finish. Thanks for this great recipe! It was a hit with my family who prefer meat, and this combo it was filling for several hours.
    Also – on hot days in summer – it’s PERFECT because it requires very little cooking time

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you and your family enjoyed it, Irma! Thank you for sharing your experience! xo

  20. Jennifer says

    My husband and I made this for dinner last night because we were craving something light that would not take much prep time. We also had nearly all of the ingredients in our house or garden. I substituted chives from our garden for the green onions. I used only 1 or 2 Tbs of reduced sodium tamari, and I added slivered baked teriyaki tofu that we had on hand, which was wonderful. Overall, this was a fantastic dish and we will make it often. We may try it with some different veggies, in the event that we don’t have cucumber. I think lightly blanched green beans or broccoli would work well.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Love it! Those veggie ideas sound delish, too. Thanks so much for the great review, Jennifer!

  21. Dora says

    Made this salad last week as a side dish to baked spring rolls and it was delicious. I will totally make it again. However, as a main dish, I felt it would need a bit more veggies or greens. Do you have a recommendation about what could be added in?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yay! Thanks so much for the great review, Dora. We do consider this a side dish, and we typically enjoy it with tofu or tempeh. Hope this helps!

  22. Darcie says

    This was the perfect quick meal for a very humid summer day. I made the sauce as written (simple and delicious!) and embellished the noodles with shredded romaine leaves, sliced red peppers, blanched and chopped green beans from the garden along with the suggested cucumber and green onions. I omitted the nuts and swapped the cilantro for parsley. Oh, and I added air-fried tofu cubes. Thanks for the inspiration! This is a recipe I’ll return to this summer for sure!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Amazing! Thanks so much for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications, Darcie!

  23. Anne says

    Made this for a quick dinner tonight and really loved it. This came out nice and light, the sauce and noodles were not heavy at all. I had everything on hand, and the cucumber was from the garden. Unfortunately the grocery store had no cilantro, so I used Italian parsley. It was still delicious, but I think cilantro would complement the flavors well. The only other substitution I made was to use powdered garlic in the dressing because I do not like the taste of raw garlic. Came out great, and I will make this in the future, adding different vegetables, tofu, herbs, as variations.

  24. Leann says

    Delightful! The sauce is very similar to my favorite peanut sauce – creamy with a nice ginger zing -I got from my local co-op. I made this with cashew butter instead of tahini and topped with lentils and Sriracha cashews in addition to the cucumber, onions, and cilantro.

  25. CR says

    This is a winner as I’ve made this twice this week-once as shown and once substituting peanut butter. The vote is in and the tahini version won!

    Served over a handful of chopped red cabbage with dry toasted tofu cubes and peanuts-Yumm!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yum! Thanks so much for the lovely review. We are so glad you enjoyed it! Next time, would you mind leaving a star rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! xo

  26. Lisanne says

    Delicious noodle salad! Next time I will add some edamame for more protein and carrot or red cabbage for color. Highly recommend it to everyone. Thanks for sharing minimalistbaker team!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review, Lisanne. We are so glad you enjoyed it! Next time, would you mind leaving a star rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! xo

  27. Sarah says

    Very yummy and refreshing! I felt like it had a teeny bit too much sauce so it was slightly too runny and not all sticking to the noodles, but that could very easily be my tahini brand or some other mis-measurement. A great lunch recipe that I’ll be making often.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Interesting! Thanks so much for sharing your experience, Sarah. We’re so glad you enjoyed the results!

  28. John says

    This recipe sounds delicious and easy! I’m looking forward to making it. I want to replace the maple syrup with palm sugar. Any suggestion as to how much sugar for a perfect balance?


    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi John, we don’t have much experience with palm sugar, but we think using the same amount would probably work well. Let us know how it goes!

  29. Sarah says

    I made this today for lunch and it was delicious! I subbed out the udon noodles for gluten-free rice spaghetti noodles (the store I bought from didn’t have them). It tasted amazing — it’s the perfect amount of sweet, and I also found it very filling even by itself. I took a few bites and that was all I really needed for like the next four hours.

    I’m also not a chef by any means, but the instructions were so easy to follow that I didn’t have any trouble. I definitely plan on making this again! :D

  30. Karen says

    Loved it. It was a big hit different from my usual staple foods and I added marinated baked tofu bites. Perfect for the warm summer days.

  31. Shannon McMurtry says

    Quick dinner I threw together for my family and everyone went back for seconds even my 3 children 4 years old-10 years old.
    Super simple ingredients but so well balanced together. My oldest isn’t a fan of peanut sauces but loved this one with tahini instead. We added edamame for extra protein and some small bowls of toppings for the kids (shredded carrot, purple cabbage, diced snow peas) I will be making this one again. I doubled the recipe for my family of 5 and we had leftovers for the next night.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yum! Thank you for sharing Shannon! We are so glad you and your family enjoyed it! Next time, would you mind leaving a star rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! Xo

  32. Trina says

    I made this for tonight’s meal. It’s very tasty. I did use mint, basil and cilantro. Added spare red bell peppers also.
    Thank you

  33. Katie says

    The sauce for these came out a little bitter for me, but I honestly just think my tahini brand is terrible. Otherwise very satisfying !

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Katie! We’re so glad you enjoyed it overall! We have reviewed different brands of tahini here if you would like to try a new brand!

  34. Amalia says

    This was outstanding! And creamy, indeed. I didn’t have cilantro, so I used parsley. Also out of peanuts, so I used fried onion chips for the crunch factor. I’ve had it with grilled tofu, but I can’t wait to try tempeh too. And Loved how quickly it came together! I can see myself eating this all summer.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Amazing! Thanks so much for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications Amalia!

  35. Delisha says

    This was delicious! The sauce was so good, and the cucumbers added crunch (different from the roasted peanuts) and freshness, as well as the cilantro and green onion. Next time I’ll try with Chinese chives. Thank you for your great recipes!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Anna, we wouldn’t recommend regular vinegar. We haven’t tried this and can’t guarantee the results, but in substitution of the rice vinegar you can try using more lime juice to taste!

      • Anon says

        You want a low acidity vinegar (a vinegar with less bite). Looking in my cupboards, cyder vinegar/apple cider vinegar is the next best option

  36. Nicole says

    This was lovely! I usually make a peanut sesame soba noodle salad but wanted to try the tahini-based sauce for a change and it didn’t disappoint. I do find the peanut sesame combo a bit punchier, but I still really enjoyed this one. I added pan-toasted cashews and pan-fried cubed tofu as well as some carrot ribbons.

  37. Hamamelis says

    I have cooked a lot of Minimalist Baker recipes, and love them all. But this one beats them all…so very good! If I could give 10 stars I would. My husband loved it even more. We used a cucumber out of our garden, which made it extra nice.
    I used coconut aminos instead of soy sauce.

  38. Renee M says

    I didn’t have rice noodles so I used this with a veggie spaghetti noodle. It was a great! It was a perfect meal on a hot, muggy day and it used ingredients I had in my garden. Definitely a keeper!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Strange! Thanks for letting us know, Pam. We’ll look into the issue and see if we can figure out what could have caused that.

  39. Elizabeth says

    This was a phenomenal recipe! I subbed honey for maple syrup and used mint instead of the cilantro/green onion. It tastes so fresh, it was super easy (took about 15 mins start to finish), and almost all of it was made with pantry staples.