Delicious 15-Minute Sesame Noodles Are Faster Than Takeout

If you only have 15 minutes, you have plenty of time to make these sesame noodles.

Vertical image of a white plate with broccoli and spaghetti-like strands topped with onions and seeds, with text on the top and bottom of the image.

This is one of those recipes that is incredibly simple to make, while also being very versatile.

Lately, my husband and I have really been trying to stop ordering so much takeout. We love ordering in, but every time we do, it’s not a cheap meal and we tend to eat way too much.

I don’t know about you, but I am always a sucker for egg rolls, dumplings, and wontons. We never fail to order them if Chinese takeout’s on the menu, so it tends to be an insane feast of all of our favorites every time.

Obviously, this is not the best thing for either of our waistlines. Let’s just leave it at that.

Vertical top-down image of a white bowl full of spaghetti-like strands topped with assorted garnishes on towels in front of spring onions and broccoli.

Therefore, we’ve been trying to make some of our favorites right at home instead, with a more streamlined menu and simple, fresh ingredients.

That’s where this recipe come in. We both love all kinds of noodle dishes, whether Asian or some other type of cuisine. Lo mein, chow mein… they never get old for us, and that’s exactly how I feel about this dish.

I could eat these every single day. They are sweet and spicy, nutty and hearty.

Did I mention that this dish is also ridiculously quick and easy to make?

Essentially, you just cook up a batch of noodles, then toss them with a simple sesame sauce made entirely with ingredients you probably have in your pantry right now. Add your favorite fresh vegetables and choice of healthy protein if you like, and your meal is ready to go.

Vertical image of two white plates with seasoned pasta and broccoli florets on towels next to chopsticks, chopped spring onions, and a white garnish.

Any time that there isn’t a lot of chopping or extensive prep work involved, that’s a winning recipe for me. I chop through enough ingredients on a daily basis anyway, since I’m working with food all day. Sometimes you and your knives just need a break already.

If you don’t have the basic ingredients in your cabinets already, you’ll thank me later for making you buy them, because each pantry staple goes a long way. Not to mention, these items will serve to open up a whole new world of cooking possibilities for you and your family.

This easy recipe makes an excellent main dish alongside a serving of steamed vegetables. You can also amp it up with a protein, by adding cooked and chopped tofu, chicken, steak (like our Mongolian beef!), or even pork. This is a wonderful way of using up leftovers as well!

Otherwise, it’s fantastic as a hot side dish to pair with whatever main entree you have going on, like homemade General Tso’s chicken, or sweet and sour coconut shrimp.

Vertical image of a bowl of spaghetti-like strands with assorted garnishes in front of broccoli and cups.

You can even eat the leftovers cold like a pasta salad (can you say “the perfect hangover breakfast”?). Most importantly, you get that nutty sesame flavor throughout, with a hint of spice, tang, and a few fresh ingredients to really elevate the dish.

I seriously couldn’t believe how simple these were to prepare the first time I made them. Not many recipes require such a small investment of time for such a big payoff. It’s a rare find to have a recipe in your repertoire that is fast, low maintenance, and with a lot of depth of flavor.

All I can say is that we actually want to make this meal at home instead of ordering takeout. Homemade always does tend to be better, doesn’t it? And you can have them on the table and be sitting down to eat way more quickly than if you were to place an order and then go pick it up!

Vertical image of chopsticks picking up strands of pasta on a plate with broccoli.

Will this dish be featured on your table tonight? The answer is obviously a resounding “yes!” here.

Now you have no excuse not to try making your own takeout at home. You’ll find that a simple dish like this will open doors to meals you may never have tried otherwise in your own kitchen.

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Horizontal image of a white dish with pasta with a brown sauce next to broccoli florets.

15-Minute Sesame Noodles


  • Author: Meghan Yager
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x

Description

This 15-minute sesame noodles recipe offers a quick, easy way to bring the flavors of takeout home, and the tasty sauce has so much depth.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 lb long, thin pasta
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons chili garlic paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 3 green onions, sliced (green parts only)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
  • Sesame seeds for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a large pinch of salt. Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the pasta water before draining in a colander. Return pasta to the pot you cooked it in.
  2. Meanwhile, add soy sauce, chili garlic paste, rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil, sugar, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, and minced ginger to a small bowl. Whisk to combine.
  3. Place the pan of pasta back over medium heat. Add sauce and reserved pasta water to the pan. Stir well to coat, and continue tossing until warmed through. Remove from heat.
  4. Sprinkle with green onions, and cilantro and/or sesame seeds, if using. Serve immediately.

  • Category: Noodles
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Chinese

Keywords: sesame noodles, scallions, sesame seeds

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Prep and Measure Ingredients

Horizontal image of assorted wet and dry ingredients in square and circle glass bowls, with pasta in a metal bowl.

Peel and mince a small knob of fresh ginger until you have 1 teaspoon total.

Slice three green onions, using the green parts only and discarding the rest, or saving the white bulb portions for use in another recipe like homemade vegetable stock.

Chop enough cilantro leaves until you have two tablespoons total.

Measure out all of the remaining ingredients as listed on the ingredients list.

When it comes to choosing your noodles, you can use a wide variety for this recipe. I personally like to use the fresh stir-fry type, but you can also use linguine, udon, or soba, made with rice flour, wheat, or buckwheat. Whatever you prefer, it’s really up to you!

Step 2 – Cook Noodles

Horizontal image of cooked plain thin pasta in a wok.

Cook according to the directions on the package. Be sure to add a big pinch of salt to the water.

Reserve 2 tablespoons of the pasta water before draining, then return them to the pot you cooked them in.

Note: I like to cook mine in a wok as it heats up quickly and makes for an easy pot to cook in for the remainder of the recipe.

Step 3 – Make Sauce

Horizontal image of a blue whisk in a metal bowl with soy sauce and other seasonings.

Add soy sauce and all remaining ingredients except the onions, cilantro, and sesame seeds to a small bowl.

Whisk until well combined.

Step 4 – Finish and Serve

Horizontal image of a wok with spaghetti and sauce.

Add the sauce and reserved pasta water to the pot. Stir or toss well to coat over medium heat, tossing continuously until the noodles are warmed through and coated well with the sauce.

Horizontal image of a bowl of noodles topped with spring onions and other garnishes next to bowls of sesame seeds, spring onions, and broccoli.

Sprinkle with green onions, cilantro, and sesame seeds, if using. Serve immediately.

So Many Noodle Options

This is why I love this recipe: nearly any kind of noodle will work.

Personally, I like using fresh ones because they cook quickly and I think they have a better flavor than the boxed, dry type. However, you can feel free to use a wide variety of dried or fresh noodles, and whatever you have on hand will do nicely for this dish.

Horizontal image of a white dish with pasta with a brown sauce next to broccoli florets.

You can use ramen, rice noodles (thinner works better), udon, soba, yakisoba (my personal favorite), lo mein, spiralized sweet potato, or even zucchini zoodles. They all work well with this recipe, and the flavors in the sauce.

For more tasty noodle recipes, try these yummy ones from Foodal next:

How will you serve this noodle recipe – as a side dish, or a main? Tell us in the comments below, and be sure to rate the recipe as well!

Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on February 2, 2011. Last updated: March 22, 2020 at 16:25 pm. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

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About Meghan Yager

Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.

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