Sesame Seared Tuna Bowls

Sesame seeds are used to create a crispy crust that pairs perfectly with the succulent albacore tuna as the star of this dish. When added to the noodle bowls with fresh vegetables and a creamy tangy sauce it makes for a delicious and satisfying meal.

Recipe Variations

Buckwheat soba noodles are used as the base of this tuna dish, but cooked brown or white rice would also work well if you prefer.

The vegetables can be altered to accommodate your taste. Try adding thinly sliced purple cabbage, daikon radish, sunflower sprouts, bell pepper, or pickled ginger.

Albacore tuna really works best for this recipe, but salmon, cod, or halibut could also be used. Note that the cooking time would need to be increased significantly if using these other types of fish, as they are thicker and must be cooked through.


  • Cast Iron Skillet: Use a large skillet that is at least 10-12 inches wide. Cast iron works well for searing because it holds on to the heat and provides an even cooking surface.

  • Flexible Fish Spatula: Thin flexible fish spatulas work especially well for flipping delicate pieces of fish.

  • Vegetable Peeler: A sharp vegetable peeler works well to ‘peel’ vegetables like carrots and cucumbers into long ribbon strips for serving. A “Y” shaped peeler is best, but any sharp peeler will do.

  • Blender: Using a blender will make the sauce smooth and creamy. A regular jar blender or immersion blender will work. If you do not have a blender available, the ingredients can simply be whisked together in a bowl.

What you Need

  • Sesame oil: Sesame oil is used in the sauce and for cooking. It has a high smoking point which makes it good for searing and provides a subtle sesame flavor.
  • Soy Sauce: Adds a salty umami flavor to season the sauce.
  • Lime: Juice one fresh lime or use 2 tablespoons of bottled lime juice.
  • Toasted Sesame Oil: The toasted sesame oil seasons the sauce with a deep sesame flavor.
  • Honey: Honey adds a subtle sweetness to the sauce and helps balance the other flavors.
  • Ginger: Ginger adds a warm spicy flavor to the sauce. Use a 1-inch piece of fresh ginger. Peel it and then grate on a fine Microplane grater.
  • Sriracha Sauce: Siraracha adds a subtle layer of spice to the sauce. Add a little more or less than called for if you prefer.
  • Albacore Tuna Medallions: Wild for Salmon tuna medallions are perfect for this recipe because they are sashimi-grade and the tuna is quickly seared and served rare in the middle.
  • Sesame Seeds: Using a mixture of white and black sesame seeds will add visual interest to the dish, but one or the other will work as well.
  • Buckwheat Soba Noodles: Noodles provide a lovely base to soak up the flavorful sauce. Rice could be used instead.
  • Edamame: Look for edamame in the freezer section of the grocery store and cook according to package directions.
  • Cucumbers: Look for Persian or English cucumbers that have small seeds. Peel them into strips or cut them into thin slices for serving.
  • Carrot: Using rainbow carrots adds additional color to the dish. Use a vegetable peeler to peel them into thin strips, or cut them into thin slices.
  • Radish: Any type of radishes will work. Cut them as thin as possible for serving.
  • Avocado: Look for avocado that is just barely ripe so that is easy to slice but still holds its shape.
  • Green Onions: Slice as thin as possible to create a beautiful garnish.

How to make the dish

Prepare the Sauce. Combine the sauce ingredients in the jar of a blender and blend until creamy.

Cook the Tuna. Season the tuna and coat in the sesame seeds. Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet and quickly sear the tuna on each side. Set it aside to rest while you prepare the noodles and vegetables.

Prepare and assemble the bowls. Cook the noodles and edamame, and peel and slice the vegetables. Build the bowls by layering in the noodles, vegetables, tuna, and sauce. Serve immediately.

Serving Suggestions

Serve this tuna dish warm or cold for a complete lunch or dinner. Replace the soba noodles with cooked rice if you prefer.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4


[[ recipeID=recipe-9l16fm8yp, title=Sesame Seared Tuna Bowls ]]


Marisa Kerkvliet of Lemon Thyme Kitchen is a freelance recipe developer and food photographer with a Master’s degree in Nutrition. She was raised on her family’s farm in Northwest Washington and her appreciation for good food developed at a very early age. She is passionate about creating recipes and beautiful imagery that highlight high-quality seasonal ingredients. Marisa loves all types of seafood, but her favorites are salmon and scallops!
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