Black Sesame Seeds Spruce Up Vegan Waffles and Japanese Dango

Vegan food blogger Lisa Kitahara makes two plant-based recipes using black sesame seeds: vegan waffles and Japanese dango.

In the mood for vegan waffles? What about traditional Japanese dango?

In this episode of EATKINDLY With Me, Lisa Kitahara—vegan food blogger behind Okonomi Kitchen—teaches us about all things black sesame seeds. She also gives two delicious-looking recipes for vegan waffles and dango, a Japanese dumpling.

“Black sesame seeds is one of my favorite ingredients to cook and bake with,” Kitahara says. “It’s very different than white sesame seeds because it has a nutty, earthy, and very deep flavor.”

Black sesame seeds can be used in a variety of foods, including cakes, bread, ice cream, and ramen. “The nutty, earthy flavor of black sesame seeds goes really well with red bean paste and matcha so those are some common pairings you might see,” she adds. “It’s also commonly used in savory dishes like dressings, ramen broths, and as garnishes on top of noodles.”

Black sesame comes in three different forms: whole, powder, and paste. All three forms can usually be found readily at Asian markets. Kitahara notes that if you’re having trouble finding one, you can take black sesame seeds and grind them into a powder or a paste using a blender or food processor.

Shiratama Dango

The first recipe Kirahara whips up with black sesame seeds is the Japanese dango. She says the dumplings’ texture resembles that of Play-Doh. “You want the texture to kind of be the softness of your earlobe,” she explains.

The dumplings are filled with a black sesame coating, which is made using only two ingredients: black sesame powder and sugar. 

“Super simple and easy and such a great snack or dessert,” Kitahara says. “I really wish I had some vegan ice cream here with me. That would take it to the next level.”

Black Sesame Seeds Spruce Up Vegan Waffles and Japanese Dango
The dango are sprinkled with a black sesame powder coating. | Lisa Kitahara for LIVEKINDLY

Black Sesame Shiratama Dango


10 mins to prep
4 mins to cook


  • 2/3 cup shiratamako, or glutinous sweet rice flour
  • 120 grams silken tofu, 1/3 cup of water
  • 3 tablespoons black sesame powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, more to taste


  1. 1
    Mash silken tofu until smooth with a fork or blend in a blender. Mix together the shiratamko. Add 1/2 teaspoon of water as needed if the dough feels dry.
  2. 2
    Roll them into balls about 12-14 grams each. Make an indent in the middle with your finger.
  3. 3
    Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the shiratama dango and cook until they float. Use a skimmer and scoop them out and then add them to ice water.
  4. 4
    In the meantime, mix the black sesame powder and sugar in a bowl.
  5. 5
    Once the dango have cooled, use the skimmer and serve in bowls. Top with black sesame sugar and enjoy!

Black Sesame Vegan Waffles

The star ingredient of this vegan recipe is black sesame paste. While mixing up the batter, Kitahara says, “The smell of black sesame really comes through. It smells super good.”

To make this recipe, you will need a waffle maker. “Oh, wow. That smells amazing. It looks really good,” she says once the vegan waffles are done. Kitahara says the black sesame waffles are good on their own as they’re naturally sweet, but you can always top them off with maple syrup. “Adding a little maple syrup or condensed milk really brings out the earthy or nutty flavors of the black sesame seeds,” she says.

Black Sesame Seeds Spruce Up Vegan Waffles and Japanese Dango
Enjoy a breakfast of champions with these black sesame vegan waffles. | Lisa Kitahara for LIVEKINDLY

Black Sesame Waffles


10 mins to prep
5 mins to cook


  • 1 cup all purpose flour or spelt flour
  • 1/4 cup black sesame paste
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3/4 cup and 1 tablespoon soy or oat milk
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Pinch of salt


  1. 1
    Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt to a bowl and mix. Pour in the soy milk, oil, and black sesame paste. Whisk to combine until a smooth batter forms.
  2. 2
    Spray waffle iron with oil. Pour 1⁄2 cup of batter (amount will depend on waffle iron) and close the waffle iron. Cook until waffle iron light turns green (about 4-5 minutes) or until crispy on the outside. Serve with maple syrup or your choice of sweetener and enjoy!

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