Spice of the Month: Sesame Seeds

Spice of the Month: Sesame Seeds

By Laura Coffee, Marketing & Owner Services Manager, Co-op Owner

While not strictly speaking a spice, sesame seeds have many delicious culinary applications. They can be used as a garnish, kept whole in ferments and spice blends, toasted to boost the flavor, baked into crackers, or pressed to extract the oil. The plain oil, like the plain seeds, is mild in flavor. The toasted oil and seeds have a more intense flavor and are used more sparingly, like a condiment. It was hard to choose just a few ways to highlight these seeds, hopefully you’ll enjoy them both!

To participate in future installments of this series and receive a sample of the featured spice you can sign up at the CRDL.

Sesame Noodles

Sauce ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp hulled sesame seeds (toasted)
  • 1/2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 Tbsp neutral oil*
  • 1/2 Tbsp lime juice
  • Hot sauce or chili flakes (optional)

Other ingredients:

  • Udon noodles (two bunches)
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 1 avocado

Toast the sesame seeds in a dry pan over medium heat, stirring or shaking frequently, until golden. It can be tempting to walk away during the process, as the seeds will take a few minutes to brown. However, they go from pale to toasted really quickly and are easy to burn, so stick with it. Remove from heat and allow to cool for five minutes. There are two ways to assemble the sauce from here. You can either crush the toasted seeds in a mortar and pestle then stir well to combine with the other ingredients, or blend everything together in a small bullet type blender. Once combined, set the sauce aside to rest.

Prepare the Udon noodles according to package directions. Slice the green onions and cut the avocado into small cubes while the pasta is boiling. After the pasta has been drained, add the sauce and toss thoroughly while the noodles are still warm. Once they are well coated gently mix in the green onions and avocado and serve.

If you’re not into pasta, the sauce can also be used on its own for dipping, as a finishing touch on rice dishes, or as a marinade for chicken or tofu.

*Any neutral tasting oil can be used in this sauce. Sunflower, safflower, or canola oils are all good options. A stronger tasting oil, like olive or peanut, can overpower the sesame flavor.

Quick Sesame Cookies


  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp hulled sesame seeds**
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 325F and cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla extract until fluffy. Slowly add the flour and sesame seeds, mixing until well combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Scoop the dough out by rounded tablespoons and quickly form into a ball with your hands. If you handle it too much the butter will warm up and your cookies will have crispier edges. Flatten slightly into a disk shape and place on the parchment paper. This should make about 15 cookies. Bake for 16-18 minutes, until the edges just start to brown. They will be very delicate when they first come out of the oven, so allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet before transferring to a plate or container.

**If desired you can toast the sesame seeds for a more intense flavor.

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