Sesame noodles are a classic Chinese restaurant dish, and are a regular in the rotation at my kitchen, too. The flavor of sesame is endlessly appealing, a combination of nuttiness and richness that can swerve to the sweet or the savory for delectable results. In this easy noodle dish, we’ll build umami and depth with a few easy additions-including brewed black tea. As the weather warms, cold meals like Sesame Noodles with Peapods will be perfect for a light meal on the patio.

Tahini is Hot

I’ve been a fan of tahini for so long that it’s always nice to see a new wave of appreciation building. In recent years, tahini has been making more appearances in sweets, with bakers making Tahini and Chocolate cookies, Tahini drizzled ice creams and more.

You can try a tahini sweet with my Chocolate Tahini Bread, or Crystallized Ginger and Tahini Banana Muffins.

I think we can trace the surge in tahini interest to the complete domination of hummus over the dips section. Hummus went from being an appetizer in Middle Eastern restaurants and vegetarian places to being a grocery store staple in the 2000’s, and took tahini along with it. Once everybody had a jar of tahini in the fridge, it was inevitable that we’d be looking for ways to enjoy it.

Edamamae Lime Hummus Tartines are a delicious variation on the usual chickpea hummus.

Tahini isn’t Chinese

If you were wondering, yes, we use a Middle Eastern sesame paste to make this Chinese- style sauce, but it’s ok. You can always grind your sesame seeds fresh, to make something more authentic. There is a sesame paste in a jar available at some Chinese markets, and it’s pretty similar to tahini. Tahini is so easy to find that it is a good stand-in.

I’m also taking license by using maple syrup in stead of sugar, which is very North American, but I like using natural sweeteners. A fun addition to the sauce is brewed black tea, which adds just a touch of depth and tannins to the mix. You can use water, if you want. I also used brown rice vinegar, because I had it around, but apple cider or regular rice vinegar would work just as well.

Noodles, Noodles, Noodles!

I’m unabashedly in love with carbs, but you’ll notice, I do pump up the vegetables and sauce so the carbs aren’t the only thing. I was serving this batch to a gluten-free friend, so I used some fresh GF noodles, but you can use your noodle of choice. I’m fond of whole grains, so a whole wheat linguine or buckwheat soba would appeal to me- use 6 ounces of dried pasta to make the switch from 8 ounces fresh.

Keep this recipe handy for those weeknights when you just don’t have time for a big production. You can add tofu or mock duck to your sesame noodles with no problem for a weightier main course.

You’ll be using up that jar of tahini in no time!

Sesame Noodles with Pea Pods

Course Pasta
Servings 4
Author Robin Asbell



  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 2 cloves garlic pressed
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger root
  • 3 tablespoons tamari
  • 2 tablespoons brewed black tea
  • 2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce


  • 8 ounces fresh linguine
  • 4 ounces snow pea pods trimmed
  • 1 small English cucumber peeled, halved and sliced


  • In a medium bowl, whisk the tahini, peanut butter, garlic and ginger, then whisk in the tamari until smooth. Whisk in the tea, vinegar, maple and Sriracha, reserve.
  • Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well. Prep vegetables
  • Pour the sauce over the noodles and toss well, then add the vegetables and toss. Serve with extra Sriracha, if desired.