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Spicy sauces mixed in with mild noodles give us abundant energy and clarity of thought. The noodles relax us, while the spices stimulate our thinking and inspire us to action. Simple and vitalizing—who could ask for more? Be sure to remember that Japanese noodles are coated with salt and require a good rinsing for the best flavor.

Sesame Noodle Salad 

Makes 3-4 Servings


  • 1 pound somen noodles
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
  • 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, juice extracted, pulp discarded
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, grated and juiced
  • 1/4 cup sesame tahini
  • 2 teaspoons organic soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar, plus more to taste
  • 6-8 fresh scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal, for serving
  • 3-4 tablespoons black sesame seeds, lightly pan-toasted, for serving


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook some the noodles until al dente, 6-8 minutes. Drain and rinse well with cold water. (Japanese noodles are coated with salt and require rinsing.)
  1. While the noodles cook, heat the sesame oil in a skillet over very low heat. 
  1. Stir in the ginger juice and cook for 1-2 minutes to “open” the flavor. 
  1. Remove from heat and whisk in the tahini, soy sauce and chili powder. Whisk in the rice vinegar to taste. Adjust the seasoning to your liking.
  1. To serve, simply toss the cooked noodles with the sesame sauce and scallions and transfer to a serving platter. Garnish with the black sesameseeds. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Sesame Noodle Salad Christina PirelloCook’s Tip: If you are serving this dish chilled, do not mix the sauce into the pasta until just before you are ready to serve as it can thicken and become pasty. Chill the sauce and the noodles separately. Rinse the cold noodles and mix together with the sauce 

If you make the dressing ahead of time, you may need to add a bit of water to thicken it when ready to mix into noodles. 

*This recipe has been excerpted from Christina Pirello’s upcoming plant-based cookbook, Back to the Cutting Board. Now available for pre-order.

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