Sesame Pasta with Heirloom Tomatoes

Heirloom tomatoes from Locust Grove Heritage Vegetable Garden
Left to right: Eva Purple Ball, Aunt Ruby’s German Green and Golden Queen USDA

Yes, the Aunt Ruby’s German green tomato is ready to eat, it will not turn red or yellow or any other color.

So how can you tell when a green tomato is ready?

Press lightly on the blossom end, if it is soft to the touch, the green tomato is ready. That simple.

We, the volunteers, each got to take home some of the harvested tomatoes.

Looking at the beautiful sun ripened tomatoes sitting on my kitchen counter, I wondered, what should I make?

Remembering I have, in the freezer, cooked pasta (yes, cooked al dente pasta freezes well) and ground sesame seeds (when I ground toasted sesame seeds I always make extra for the freezer), why not make a Sesame Pasta with Heirloom Tomatoes.

I do have all the needed ingredients in the house (just need to quick thaw the pasta in the microwave) and there is Chinese parsley (cilantro) and scallion in the garden. No need to go to the store and no need to use the stove. I also have baked chicken in the fridge that would go perfectly with this, life is easy.

This pasta dish is easy to prepare and can be done ahead of time. It will surely be a hit at the Labor Day cookout table.

Sesame Pasta with Heirloom Tomatoes

Adapted from Wokking Your Way to Low Fat Cooking by Norma Chang

4 tablespoons toasted white sesame seeds grounded (see NOTE 1)
2 – 3 tablespoons unflavored rice vinegar or to taste
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 – 2 teaspoons Asian chili sauce or to taste, optional
1 – 2 cloves garlic, puréed
¼ – ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
Combine all the above in a bowl. Mix to dissolve sugar and to blend in ground sesame seeds, adding water, if needed, to reach the consistency of heavy cream. This is the dressing. Can be done the day before and kept refrigerated.

½ – ¾ pound pasta of choice, parboil per package directions, drain, transfer to a sheet pan or rimmed cookie sheet, toss with 2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil. Spread to cool. (I chose campanelle because I like how each looks like a flower.)

1 red heirloom tomato, cut into wedges (see NOTE 2)
1 green heirloom tomato, cut into wedges (leave out if unavailable)
1 yellow heirloom tomato, cut into wedges (see NOTE 2)
2 – 4 tablespoons coarsely chopped Chinese parsley (cilantro), optional
1 – 2 scallions, clean and slant cut into thin slices
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds for garnish

Toss pasta with most of the dressing. Taste, add remaining dressing if needed. Gently mix in tomatoes and Chinese parsley, if using.  Arrange on serving platter, garnish with scallion and sesame seeds. Serve cold or at room temperature. Can be done ahead of time.


Add: Sliced grilled chicken or cooked meat of choice, now you have a complete meal.

Substitute: Avocado, fresh pineapple, carrots, red onion, celery ….. for the heirloom tomatoes.

NOTE 1: To ground sesame seeds use a suribachi, a coffee grinder or a spice grinder (suribachi at right in photo).

The coffee grinder or spice grinder should be dedicated to ground seeds and nuts only.

If you prefer not to ground your own sesame seeds, substitute 2 – 3 tablespoons store bought Asian sesame paste or smooth peanut butter. You could also use chunky peanut butter. I prefer to use the smooth kind and add chopped freshly roasted peanuts, it has a nicer crunch.

NOTE 2: Substitute red and yellow cherry tomatoes cut in halves

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Copyright © by Norma Chang. All Rights Reserved. Do not use/repost any photos and/or articles without permission.

Robin, The Gardener of Eden, is the host for Thursdays Kitchen Cupboard. Head on over to Thursday’s Kitchen Cupboard to see what others are cooking.

About Norma Chang

I am the author/publisher of 2 user-friendly Chinese cookbooks: "My Students' Favorite Chinese Recipes (updated edition)" and "Wokking Your Way to Low Fat Cooking" A gardener who enjoys cooking and eating and loves to think outside the box A garden volunteer at Locust Grove Heritage Vegetable Garden Conduct hands-on cooking workshops for teenagers Conduct cultural programs for children and family Conduct healthy cooking classes for adults
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67 Responses to Sesame Pasta with Heirloom Tomatoes

  1. Annie says:

    I just love the colour combinations of your tomatoes…so attractive! The pasta dish looks so scrummy too:) I always love your healthy and no fuss recipes 🙂

  2. I never knew you could freeze pasta! And if I am honest, I have always hesitated to grow green tomatoes, thinking that I wouldn’t be able to tell when they were ripe. No excuses now, I guess!

  3. cocomino says:

    Nice. Sesame is also popular in Japan and goes well with Japanese dish.

  4. Dave says:

    I never thought about tomatoes like that in a pasta dish. I’ve grown all 3 of those heirloom tomatoes, and they are great tasting for sure. I’m not growing the German Green or Golden Queen this year though, because I’ve had trouble with the vines dying off the last few years. Eva Purple Ball must have more resistance, because it does fine here.

  5. I like tomatoes in pasta! That green tomato looks particularly great.

  6. ChgoJohn says:

    This sounds like a great dish of pasta, Norma, and those multi-colored tomatoes really do give it a fresh look. This is just the type of dish I love this time of year, one that takes full advantage of all of the fresh tomatoes.

  7. I like this Asian variation on simple tomato pasta — thanks.

  8. What stunning colors of tomatoes made into an equally stunning looking pasta dish. I want.

  9. Daphne says:

    I love those tomato colors. So brilliant.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Daphne,
      Yes, the tomato colors are brilliant. Thought of you and your allergy problem when I was writing out the recipe reason for the substitute under variations.

  10. Jenny says:

    YUM! That looks so tasty.

  11. Norma, what a beautiful recipe! When I see dish with many bright colors it makes me smile. Tomatoes and pasta are perfect with each other, I think I can live on this! 🙂

  12. kellysiew says:

    I’ve never tried green tomatoes before. They look delicious!

  13. Your tomatoes look stunning my friend, and what a delicious pasta meal 🙂

    Choc Chip Uru

  14. Karen says:

    I haven’t ever grown a green variety of tomato in my garden. Does it taste like a regular ripe red one? Your pasta dish sounds good.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Karen,
      I think you will have fun growing green tomato. Yes, it taste like a tomato. I am picturing a row of ready to harvest, different color sun ripened tomatoes by your lake, that would be quite a sight.

  15. What a fabulous mix of flavours, Norma! The tomatoes look amazing! Over here cilantro/Chinese parsley is known as coriander…

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Celia,
      The flavor of sun ripened heirloom tomatoes is out of this world. I did not know that cilantro/Chinese parsley is known as coriander in Australia, learn something today, thanks.

  16. Norma, those tomatoes have me salivating! Then to use them in this wonderful dish makes me envious. The winter cold is just now leaving and it will be months before “good” tomatoes are available. At the moment they’re $10 a kilogram. ouch.

    As Celia said, Australians eat coriander leaves and coriander roots. 🙂

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Maureen,
      I bet your sister is buying them from the Rhinebeck farmers’ market or is she growing them? Tomatoes at $10 a kilo, that’s a lot of dough. Coriander roots are used in many cuisines.

  17. Love, love, love the colors of your heirlooms!

  18. What a great idea Norma! Does the pasta stay firm or does it get a bit mushy?

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Alyssa,,
      The pasta stays pretty firm provided it was al dente when it went into the freezer. It will get a tad softer but not mushy, for the convenience I can live with that.

  19. AccioVegans says:

    This must be the week for perfect tomatoes. those look awesome! it’s funny, I just posted about my tomato and mayonnaise sandwich a few minutes ago. I love the wonderful pictures!.

  20. Eha says:

    OMG – I have had pasta dishes and I have had pasta dishes and I do NOT have as good a pasta recipe as that!! Absolutely love that dressing and think I can reach for most of the rest even if it takes a wee bit of searching! Booked my date with the ‘local’ nursery for spring plants end of next week: we’ll see what my search for heirloom varieties will achieve!!

  21. hotlyspiced says:

    Those heirloom tomatoes are stunning Norma. They look so interesting compared with what we’re used to seeing at the supermarket. And that’s a wonderful looking pasta and how fabulous that you had everything you needed to make it xx

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Charlie,
      Sometimes I get lucky. The taste of heirloom tomatoes are so much tastier than the mass produced varieties, hope you can find some heirloom variety where you are.

  22. Liz says:

    I have never tried sesame with pasta and I really like the idea of that combination. I don’t have tomatoes yet but I reckon I could find some of your substitutes pretty easily.

  23. Wow those are some amazing heirloom tomatoes. I am going to give this recipe with some soba noodles.

  24. I remember watching the movie “Fried green tomatoes” few years ago and I was surprised that people eat green tomatoes. Now I know how delicious it is. Great recipe for pasta 🙂

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Marta,
      The green tomatoes used to make fried green tomatoes are unripe tomatoes. The green tomato you see in my post is ripe ready to eat green tomato. It is a variety of tomato that stays green even when ready for harvest.

  25. Sammie says:

    I love this!! Asian style pasta!!! It looks so delicious!!! mmm.. Heriloom tomatoes are yummy!

  26. Robin says:

    What a wonderful summer dish! I just love all the different heirloom tomatoes! They are so so pretty and have such wonderful flavors!

  27. Eva Taylor says:

    Woohoo! I have a tomato namesake! And it’s beautiful, such a rich red colour. I love heirloom tomatoes, they seem to taste better. I’ve not had a green one yet.
    Why would you freeze pasta when it’s so easy to prepare fresh? Just curious. Sesame pasta sounds delicious and I have some tomatoes from our neighbours…

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Eva,
      Yep, Eva is gorgeous and very tasty. Hope you are able to get hold of a green heirloom tomato.
      I started freezing pasta when I looked in my kitchen cabinet one day and saw a collection of dried pasta – few ounces of this and few ounces of that. From that day on, I decided when a recipe calls for pasta I will cook the whole box, use what is needed for that particular recipe and freeze the remainder. Comes in really handy when I need a small quantity of pasta for a dish, like soup or a single serve pasta dish. I started doing the same with fresh pasta and noodles and that’s working out really well also. One less pot to wash at the end of the meal.

  28. I have never tried sesame with pasta but it sounds delicious! What a great idea. I never thought about freezing pasta either. It’s a great idea for busy nights and to save some time. Thanks for posting!

  29. Sophie33 says:

    A stunning & tasty pasta dish, dear Norma: yummy yum!

  30. Kristy says:

    What a fabulous and fresh pasta dish Norma! And look at those gorgeous tomatoes!!!! 🙂

  31. Julie Riebe says:

    Sounds good. Might just have to try it!

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