For the past few weeks I’ve been on a “brown bag lunch” kick.  It started with mixed green salads and veggie sandwiches, things that I could whip up easily in the morning without being late for work.  I slowly increased the difficulty, incorporating cooked and chilled ingredients like quinoa and beets.

When I started running out of ideas, I remembered my love for leftovers.  Leftovers make one great meal extend into two, and they help make lunch more flavorful (and enjoyable) overall.

Some things make for better leftovers than others, but my favorite dishes are the one’s that actually taste better the next day.  These noodles fall into that category.

noodles 2

What stood out for me about this recipe was the use of tahini instead of peanut butter.  Tahini is made out of ground sesame seeds instead of nuts, adding a subtle flavor that really improves the taste of the sauce. While I still love traditional peanut sauce, this is definitely a keeper.

To make this dish healthy, I added tons of vegetables.  I chopped up some typical cold salad vegetables, including red peppers, carrots, and cucumbers, but anything would really work here. I also had some pre-steamed broccoli in the fridge, so I threw that into the mix.  Topped with some tofu, this turned out to be a great vegetarian main dish.

Sesame Noodles with Tofu and Vegetables Recipe (adapted from Mark Bittman)


  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • dash of sriracha
  • 3-4 tbsp hot water
  • 4-5 oz soba noodles
  • 1 cup steamed broccoli
  • 1/4 cup sliced carrots
  • 1/4 cup cucumber, chopped
  • 1/4 cup red pepper, chopped
  • 7 oz tofu, cubed
  • 1/4 cup scallions, sliced
  • sesame seeds, for garnish


  1. Mix together the tahini, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, sugar, garlic, ginger, and sriracha. Slowly add in the 3-4 tbsp of hot water and stir until smooth (if you like your sauce thicker, add less water).
  2. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add soba noodles and cook until done, about 4 minutes.
  3. Heat canola oil in a large skillet.  Stir fry tofu for 2 minutes on each side, until evenly browned.
  4. Move soba noodles to a large bowl.  Pour in sauce until the noodles are evenly covered (you may have some extra sauce at this step).  Toss in all the cooked and raw vegetables.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired.
  5. Spoon noodles into bowls and serve.

*This serves 2-3 as a main dish.


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