Spicy Sesame Zoodles with Crispy Tofu Recipe - Pinch of Yum
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Spicy Sesame Zoodles with Crispy Tofu

103 reviews / 4.8 average

Spicy Sesame Zoodles with Crispy Tofu! SUPER easy recipe with familiar ingredients like soy sauce, peanut butter, sesame oil, zucchini, and tofu. YUM!

Spicy Sesame Zoodles? I say yes. And throw in some crispy tofu for good measure. This is SO totally how we roll.

Are you down with this?

It starts with zoodles (zucchini noodles) tossed with a thick and intensely deep spicy sesame peanut sauce that will then eventually get loaded up with crispy tofu that has been made crispy by just pan-frying it with the same spicy sesame peanut sauce, but waiting until those crispy browned bits appear in the pan / wondering if this is going to be weird / actually loving the texture of the browned bits in contrast with the tofu and sesame zoodles.

We are letting this browned bits situation happen intentionally so it feels like we did more work (making an additional crispy topping) than we actually did (re-using the same sauce for everything and calling it good). Do you like this strategy?

No need to go out of our way for multiple sauces with this recipe. You know I’m weak for a one-sauce wonder.

How To Make Our Sesame Zoodles (1 MIN):

Zoodles with tofu in a bowl.

Now that you’re excited about all these chili flavors and crispy-creamy textures, I’m going to present you with the hot vs cold dilemma.

I know. Let me blow your mind for a hot second -> I DID NOT COOK THE ZOODLES. Repeat: DID NOT COOK.

I let them be raw and crunchy because sometimes I find that cooked zoodles are 50% awesome and 50% sad and soggy. When I made this as lunch for myself the other day, I was very okay letting it be more crunchy and salad-like in nature, and also cold. Cold sesame noodles are a thing, you know. So why can’t cold sesame zoodles have their moment to shine? The idea of taking this to the hot level was kind of weirding me out once I had the vision of trying to replicate those yummy cold sesame noodles.

Green zoodles in a bowl.
Tofu in a frying pan.
Zoodles in a bowl with tofu.

It almost always happens like this – that I have an idea for what I want to make for dinner and then at the last minute I jump ship on whatever my idea was, delete all those grocery items from my grocery list and add a few new ones (or skip the grocery store altogether – amiright?), and just make something that’s way easier and more convenient than my initially overambitious plan.

But usually that’s a good thing, because usually what that means is that I end up making something that is faster, more practical, and tested + approved for everyday life while still being super delicious. Maybe even halfway healthy.

Just everyone cross your fingers that it’s not takeout sushi again. Ughhhh I’m weak.

In this case, sesame zoodles won out over takeout sushi and over my initial idea for a more complicated and time consuming recipe. Easy. Delicious. Halfway healthy. Check check check.

Zoodles in a bowl with tofu.

I’m telling you, those browned crispy bits. Let them get REAL nice and crunchy.

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Sesame Zoodles wiht Tofu in a bowl.

Spicy Sesame Zoodles with Crispy Tofu


Spicy Sesame Zoodles with Crispy Tofu! SUPER easy recipe with familiar ingredients – soy sauce, peanut butter, sesame oil, garlic, zucchini, and tofu. Vegan / Vegetarian



Chili Sesame Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup sesame oil
  • 1/3 cup light low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chili paste (like sambal oelek)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 knob of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

Zoodles and Tofu

  • 12 ounces extra firm tofu
  • 46 zucchini
  • sesame seeds and scallions for topping


  1. Chili Sesame Sauce: Shake all the sauce ingredients in a jar or toss them in the food processor and give them a whirl. If you’re going to have this cold, refrigerate your sauce for a while.
  2. Tofu: Press excess moisture out of the tofu. Cut into bite sized pieces. Heat a tiny bit of oil in a nonstick pan. Add the tofu and stir fry until golden brown. Add about 1/2 cup sauce and simmer until the sauce starts to evaporate / absorb into the tofu and becomes browned in the pan. Keep gently flipping and scraping browned bits off the bottom – after a while, you should end up with nicely golden brown tofu with some little yummy browned bits from the sauce.
  3. All Together: Spiralize your zucchini and toss with about 1/4 cup sauce per serving. Top with tofu, sesame seeds, and scallions. Serve immediately.


I did NOT cook the zoodles. I wanted this to be more like a salad, cold and creamy and crunchy. Whether or not you cook the zoodles, when the sauce hits those zoodles they’re going to get a little watery. I found that this was only a problem when I didn’t serve immediately, so to avoid excess moisture, serve it right after you toss it up!

You may want to use more tofu depending on how many servings you are wanting to get out of this. I was fine with 12 ounces as 6 servings (just doing a small scoop of tofu on each pile of zoodles) but if you were super hungry you might want more.

Storing this: I would store the sauce separate from the zoodles and tofu, and then toss it all together just before serving.

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: Asian-Inspired

Keywords: sesame zoodles, zoodle recipe, tofu recipe, vegan recipe, noodle recipe

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    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Peanut sauces definitely make my husband weak in the knees.

      Sooooo, those zoodles weren’t cooked at all? Very interesting. I have the same problem with them getting all soggy and gross (husband and kids complain and say they want real pasta and want it now.) Never considered serving it raw. Bet it’s better for ya too.

  1. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Oh my god YUM! When I bought my spiralizer my life literally changed, I love zoodles so much. In fact, I brought some to work with me for lunch today! My blog has a few REALLY delicious zoodle recipes including one with no-oil roasted pistachio pesto that’s to die for. Definitely check it out! http://www.sprinklesandsaturdays.com

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo

        I heard about this recipe a year ago and I FINALLY got around to making this. Totally yummy!!!!! Husband approved. It was very filling. The chili paste I bought wasn’t spicy at all.. I had to use half the bottle, so I think switching my paste up or using spicy sesame oil. I took note of a tip from another comment: salt the zoodles, rinsed, drained, suited. Perfect. It’s my new FAV. Yes! Best part is the little fried bits. Thank you!!

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo

    The secret to non-soggy zoodles.. Spiralize them and put in a colander in the sink. Salt generously and leave for 30 min or so. Rinse them and let them drain again for a few minutes. Then sauté in a dry skillet. Perfect texture- every time!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      ^^^This exactly! Just be careful to taste before adding salt while cooking (personal experience!). I also do this with eggplant when making eggplant parmesan, and with cucumbers to make super-crisp refrigerator pickles.

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Yum yum yum! I LOVE sesame tofu and Asian flavors in any dish! I have to try this recipe out as soon as possible! 🙂

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Kathleen Kerr

    Just put thw Zoodles in a colander with some salt over a bowl for 30 minutes. Takes out all that liquid! Love your recipes!

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This is the best!! I made it in about 20 minutes flat, and was loved the flavours. Added lime juice and next time I’ll add a bit of fresh coriander on top 🙂 Zoodles + tofu is beautiful thing

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo

    The link would not let me pin. I would like to save to Pinterest so I can make at a future date.

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo

        I don’t have zucchini on hand. I do have Chinese noodles in rice noodles, do you think one would work better over the other?

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I made one of our favorites for dinner–Vietnamese Chicken Salad. But, since I just read this recipe today, I made the sauce and had it on the side with the salad! Amazing! Best peanut-y sauce ever! Well done! (And, so thankful that all the ingredients are available in the Philippines! That’s what I love about your recipes! I have access to so many of the ingredients here! Thank you!)

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo
    MB @ Bourbon and Brown Sugar

    My local grocery store has recently started selling zoodles… As I don’t yet have a spiralizer, I’ve been tempted to pick up a container … now I have the perfect recipe to try. Thanks Lindsay!!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      I will soon started selling zoodles… As I don’t yet have a spiralizer, I’ve been tempted to pick up a container … now I have the perfect recipe to try. Thanks for sharing .

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I have all the ingredients for this except for sesame oil. Could I use some olive oil and tahini instead?

  10. Pinch of Yum Logo

    My daughter has a peanut allergy. if you were to sub for the PB would you use tahini or cashew butter?

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Did you ever try this? We have a friend who has a anaphylactic peanut allergy and we want to sub sunbutter for peanut butter.

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo
        Elizabeth M

        Was just searching the comments for anything about peanut allergies. My son is allergic to peanuts so I’m going to try sunbutter. Hopefully it turns out!

  11. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Just made this dish… Did not come out nearly as pretty as yours but damn it was it delicious! Made sure to get that tofu crispy. Mmm! Thank you