There’s something about sesame that makes just about every meal better. Whether you’re using sesame oil to whip up some cold noodles for lunch or re-making your favorite takeout, the teeny seed adds a nuttiness that’s hard to resist. But there’s so much more to sesame than take-out-style chicken. It can be used to give a new dimension of flavor to appetizers (like these shrimp puffs), add oomph to salads, and lend a little extra something to roasted veggies. These 13 recipes will convince you that sesame is your kitchen’s must-have secret ingredient.

1. Loaded Sesame Kimchi Fries: Don’t let dinner be boring. A fun entree, like these loaded sesame kimchi fries, will *totally* spice up your life. (via The Girl on Bloor)

2. Avocado, Orange, and Sesame Salad With Crispy Shallots: Adding avocado is the best way to bring a dish from side status to star entree. Its creamy texture is the perfect pairing with juicy oranges, accented with sesame oil and seeds, cilantro, and spring onion. (via Feast & Fable)

3. Honey, Sriracha, and Sesame Cauliflower With Chicken: A little sweet, a little spicy, this surprisingly easy dish packs big flavor. It’s a lighter version of the classic sesame chicken, thanks to the addition of cauliflower florets. (via Real Food With Dana)

4. Simple Sesame Beet Salad: Earthy, sweet beets add color to any meal. In this salad, they’re flavored with lemon-sesame dressing, bringing bold, bright flavors to your dinner. (via Eatwell 101)

5. 15 Minute Shanghainese Sesame Noodles: These creamy noodles are made with a special sesame-tahini sauce that’s sweetened lightly with honey. (via Sprinkle of Vanilla Sugar)

6. Dynamite Shrimp Sesame Sushi Bowls: Spicy Sriracha mayo and a variety of textures and flavors make these shrimp sushi bowls a real crowd-pleaser. Creamy avocado, succulent shrimp, crispy nori, and crunchy cucumber make for a refreshingly satisfying meal. (via The Girl on Bloor)

7. Sesame Roasted Cabbage and Grapefruit Salad With Tempeh: Caramelized, roasted grapefruit slices add a bittersweet flavor to this healthy dish. Sesame-marinated tempeh is tossed with spinach and roasted cabbage for an added boost of protein, and a sesame-grapefruit dressing tops it all off. (via Spice and Sprout)

8. Korean Sesame Beef and Onion Stir Fry: Korean gochujang, a sweet and spicy fermented chili paste, is the star ingredient in this dish. Steak and onions are sautéed with it, then topped with a handful of sesame seeds and sliced scallions. (via Many Kitchens)

9. Black Sesame Fried Rice: Sometimes simple dishes make the best dinners. This fried rice is flavored with bacon, soy sauce, and sesame oil, then tossed with scrambled egg and ground black sesame seeds for extra oomph. (via Chopstick Chronicles)

10. Sesame Lime Chicken Thighs: Nutty sesame and tangy lime make these chicken thighs taste way better than your average weeknight meal, but they’re still totally easy to pull together. (via Foraged Dish)

11. Creamy Sriracha Sesame Shrimp Poke Bowls: The fire of Sriracha sauce is tamed by creamy mayo in these shrimp poke bowls. The combination of lemongrass corn, crispy wonton strips, sesame seeds, and more make each bite an adventure. (via The Girl on Bloor)

12. Spicy Sesame Tuna Steak Burgers With Wasabi Mayo: Hot wasabi mayo adds a kick to these tuna steak burgers. Seasoned with sesame oil, cumin, and lime, they’re a fresh-tasting alternative to beef burgers. (via A Sassy Spoon)

13. Kale Salad With Lemon Miso Dressing: Zesty lemon, miso, and honey make the dressing for this hearty salad. It’s tossed with sesame seeds, kale, pistachios, and other tasty ingredients to create a dish that’s great for dinner or as a side to grilled or roasted meats. (via Kale Me Maybe)

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