Creamy Sesame Noodle Salad (30 Minutes!)

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 (recipes coming soon!). 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 (recipes coming soon!), 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

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 (recipes coming soon!).
  • 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.

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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