Sesame and Olive Soba Noodles (vegan)


  • 10 ounces soba noodles
  • 3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds (see note)
  • 1/2 cup reserved olive brine (from the can of olives)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2/3 cup ripe green olives, halved or chopped
  • 3 stalks of scallions, sliced


  1. Add about 2 quarts of water to a pot. Bring the water to boil. Add the noodles and cook them for 4 to 5 minutes, until they’re soft. Drain the noodles and rinse them under cold water.
  2. Using a coffee or spice grinder, grind the sesame seeds for about 5 seconds. Most of the sesame seeds should be ground into a powder. It’s fine if you find several whole sesame seeds in there.
  3. Add the olive brine, soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar and garlic to a small saucepan and heat it over medium heat. Once the liquids start boiling, about 2 minutes, turn off the heat and stir in the sesame oil.
  4. Toss the soba noodles with the chopped olives, scallions and about half of the sauce. Taste the noodles and drizzle more sauce to taste. Top noodles with sesame seeds and red pepper flakes if you like.


  • If you have raw sesame seeds, toast them on the pan for several minutes, until they turn golden brown. Once the pan starts heating up, stir the seeds frequently to keep them from burning.
  • For aesthetic reasons, I’m using a mixture of sliced and halved green and black ripe olives for the soba noodles. You can serve the dish with just green olives alone.
  • If you want to make a gluten-free version of this dish, use 100% buckwheat soba noodles and tamari. Cook the noodles for about 6 or 7 minutes.
  • In one of my test batches, I used honey instead of brown sugar for the sauce and it tasted great, too. Feel free to swap the brown sugar with your favorite sweetener.


Recipe by:

Lisa Lin