Sesame Asparagus Pasta

This mound of tender noodles smothered in a creamy, lightly sweet and spicy Sesame-peanut sauce is crazy delicious and so easy, it should absolutely and utterly convince you to branch out of the cheesy, must-be-red-sauce noodle camp and try a peanut noodle recipe if you haven’t already. The intense, flavorful sauce is quickly blended together and tossed with hot, cooked noodles, tender chicken, and asparagus blanched quickly in the same pot as the noodles. It may be obvious already but let me interject here that variations may very well be endless: leave out the chicken for a meatless version, substitute broccoli or peas for the asparagus, and if you want to get really wild and crazy, I think quinoa would actually be a delicious variation in place of noodles (kind of reminds me of this favorite Thai-style quinoa salad).

Sesame Asparagus Pasta

Add on the fresh simple toppings that cut through the richness of the sauce and you find me wondering how often I can risk making this without turning against peanut noodles forever or causing my family to revolt and picket in front of the house with banners reading “save the children!” and “tacos forever” (hint: I tested out the question and found out and it’s an awful awful lot of times).

I’ll never turn my back on an indulgent cheesy noodle dish or classic spaghetti (oh heavens no) but give me variety with the tastiest peanut noodle dish of the century (ok, October) and I’m a very happy girl.

Sesame Asparagus Pasta

What To ServeFresh fruit (cantaloupe drizzled with a bit of honey and lime juice would be divine here)
Roasted broccoli or Simple Skillet Green Beans

One Year Ago: Dinner in a Pumpkin
Two Years Ago: Overnight Steel Cut Oats
Three Years Ago: Cinnamon Apple Cider Muffins

Sesame Chicken Asparagus Pasta with Creamy Peanut Sauce

Yield: Serves 4-5

Sesame Chicken Asparagus Pasta with Creamy Peanut Sauce

You could easily sub in other vegetables for the asparagus: broccoli, peas, cauliflower come to mind. Also the chicken could easily be left out for a vegetarian meal or for a side dish option.


    Pasta, Chicken and Extras:
  • 8 ounces linquine, thin spaghetti or regular spaghetti (whole wheat works great)
  • 3 cups diced, cooked chicken (rotisserie chicken meat works great here as well as this simple skillet method for quick, shredded chicken)
  • 1 pound asparagus, tough ends trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted (optional but adds great flavor)
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 English cucumber, diced
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, to taste
  • Peanut Sauce:
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon red wine or rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar or honey
  • 6 tablespoons chunky or smooth peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • Hot sauce (like sriracha, to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Pinch of black pepper


  1. In a large pot of salted, boiling water, cook the linguine according to package directions. During the last two minutes of cooking time, add the asparagus pieces. Drain the pasta and asparagus together in a colander.
  2. While the pasta cooks, make the sauce by combining the garlic, vinegar, brown sugar, peanut butter, soy sauce, and hot sauce in a blender or food processor. Blend until well-combined. With the blender or food processor running, drizzle in the sesame and olive oil and process until blended and smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if needed. Set aside.
  3. Transfer the pasta and asparagus to a large serving bowl. Add the chicken. Pour the sauce over the top along with two tablespoons of the sesame seeds. Toss to combine so the ingredients are coated with the sauce.
  4. Top the pasta dish with the green onions, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, cilantro and sprinkle with the remaining sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

Recipe Source: inspired by a recipe in a 10-year old cookbook compiled by wives of medical students (given to me by my sister-in-law, Erin, many years ago)

22 Responses to Sesame Chicken Pasta with Thai-Style Peanut Sauce

  1. Jennifer says:

    I loved this recipe and it’s even better the next day! Yum!

  2. mangomama says:

    Made this tonight substituting broccoli and cauliflower (about 4 cups total) for the asparagus…delicious! Thanks for a great recipe.

  3. meg says:

    This was so darn delicious!!!! The fresh vegetables sprinkled on top were an amazing contrast to the delicious, creamy noodles. Some quotes heard during dinner included: “this is way better than I thought it would be!” (The 6 year old) and, “Mel’s kitchen cafe had some really good recipes!” (The 8 year old) and, “mommy help me get my noodles!”(the 2 year old). Thanks for making our lives delicious Mel!!

  4. Heather says:

    Do you think this would work over spaghetti squash?

  5. lauren says:

    really yummy, quick dish! I was able to sub in what was in the fridge very easily – green beans & cauliflower. I loved putting them in w the linguine towards the end, & it was so easy making the sauce in the blender. since I didn’t have peanut oil, I just used what I had on hand – & it tasted really, really great. I loved how everything just came together so deliciously. I used tongs to marry the sauce w the pasta, veges & chix.

  6. Candice says:

    Absolutely delicious! We had this for dinner last night and everyone gobbled it up. It was enough to serve 5 of us including two hungry teens. Love, love, love the peanut sauce and wanted to eat it with a spoon which I may or may not have done. 🙂 Even made it with whole wheat pasta and my kids didn’t notice since the sauce is brown anyway. I think I will try with a little lime juice as well as Jen said. It was so good without, but a little lime would go great with these flavors. Thank YOU!!!

  7. Crystal says:

    It was delicious. I traded broccoli for the asparagus and added some harissa paste for some much loved heat. I didn’t have any difficulty with the peanut sauce. The family loved it and I’ll definitely be making this again.

  8. SBakes says:

    Oops, one more note. My sauce was a bit too thick, so I just added some water to thin it down a bit, and it was perfect. The sauce has so much flavor that it didn’t hurt it at all. I measured my peanut butter by eye so that could have been the problem!

  9. SBakes says:

    I was in the middle of sauteeing chicken and veggies (green peppers, onion, shredded carrots) when I remembered this post from earlier in the week. I decided just to give this sauce a shot. What a great decision! I have been looking for the perfect peanut sauce for quite some time and just haven’t found the one. THIS IS THE ONE! I served it over top of the chicken, veggies and udon noodles and it was better than any Asian takeout I’ve had. Thanks for another great meal, Mel.

  10. Jen says:

    From the first bite, I knew that I would be making this many, many times in the near future. Outstanding! Even my toddler loved it! I did add 4 tbsp of lime juice, and I really enjoyed the bit of acid to cut through some of the peanut butter creaminess. Winner!

  11. Jana says:

    Doubled the sauce so I could drink it. Ummm… I mean… so I could add it to something else in a couple of days? 😉 Wonderful, easy, delicious meal! I plan on using the leftover sauce on veggies in a day or two (no judgment… I loved the sauce and had to make another batch, last minute, because it’s so so so good, plus my food processor was already dirty at that point from the first batch, you know?). 🙂 Thanks for another winner!!

  12. Heather says:

    My sauce looked questionable at first, but ended up being great. My kids gobbled this up. Like literally their faces were in their bowls!! Thanks for another good one.

  13. Nicole says:

    Unfortunately the sauce never came together for me.. it was more like a ball of dough..

  14. Colleen says:

    Yum! If I sub broccoli for the asparagus, would I increase the cooking time?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Colleen – I’d probably cook it the same amount of time but I like my broccoli on the crisp-tender side of things. If you like it a bit softer, add it in a minute or so earlier.

  15. Heather bell says:

    This looks awrsome! And those compiled recipe books are just the best. Full of gems and love:)

  16. Kim in MD says:

    Oh…I love Thai peanut sauce! This looks amazing and totally addicting!

  17. Becki says:

    This looks delicious – love peanut noodles. I like your addition of asparagus and cherry tomatoes, too. I just got some toasted flax seeds from Trader Joe’s and I feel like that would be a nice addition here, too.

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