Put this Saucy Noodle Bowl into your Spring Meal Rotation

photo by  John Cullen

photo by John Cullen

Spring Sesame Noodles

Who doesn’t love a good noodle bowl? Especially when it features one or two of the yummiest early crops of the growing season — asparagus and/or fiddleheads! This recipe is featured in my second cookbook, Ripe from Around Here. If you haven’t had a flip through it, do! There are dozens of other springy recipes to try.

Nutritional notes: gluten-free option; nightshade-free if cayenne is omitted.

227g soba or udon noodles, or brown rice fettuccine

1 cup tahini

¼ cup packed cilantro (leaves and stems) or parsley leaves

¼ cup fresh lemon juice (juice of one lemon)

¼ cup mellow miso paste (avoid shelf-stable if possible)

4 medium cloves organic* garlic, chopped

1 tsp. cumin

¼ tsp cayenne powder, or to taste

1 cup filtered water

1 lb. fiddleheads (trimmed) or asparagus (trimmed and chopped to 1-inch pieces), or ½ lb. each

¼ cup sesame seeds (brown and/or black recommended), for garnish 


Place a large pot of lightly salted water on to boil.  Once boiling, cook the fiddleheads for 6 minutes or the asparagus for 2 (if you’re using both, add the asparagus 4 minutes after the fiddleheads go in).  In you used fiddleheads, drain in a colander.  If you used only asparagus, simply fish out the veg with a slotted spoon.  Either way, give them a quick rinse in cool water to stop the cooking.

If you used fiddleheads, begin with fresh salted water in the pot and bring to a boil again.  If you used asparagus only, reheat the same water to boiling.  Either way, drop in the noodles and cook according to directions on the package.  Drain and give them a quick rinse in cool water to stop the cooking.  Place the cooked veg and noodles in a large bowl.


Combine the tahini, cilantro, lemon juice, miso, garlic, cumin, cayenne and water in a blender or food processor, processing until smooth.   (You could do this in tandem with the steps above.)  Pour as much of the sauce as you’d like over the noodles and veg (I’d say 1 ½ cups) and toss.  You will have sauce leftover – use it as a veggie dip, pour it over steamed greens or cooked lentils.  Garnish liberally with the sesame seeds.

Makes 4 servings, including 2½ cups sauce (though only 1 ½ cups is needed for the recipe, so enjoy the rest with raw or cooked veggies).

* If you’re on the fence about making sure your garlic is organic, watch the garlic documentary on Netflix — it’s eye-opening!