22 Most Popular Japanese Vegetarian Dishes

Japanese cuisine is widely known for its meat and fish dishes however there is a wide variety of Japanese vegetable recipes that you will surely love. These recipes may or may not involved meat in the dish. In here, we have gathered a list of some of the most popular Japanese Vegetarian dishes that you’ll sure enjoy eating.

Popular Japanese Vegetarian Dishes

Japanese Cucumber Salad

The first vegetarian dish on the list is Japanese Cucumber salad or also known as Sunomono. It is considered to one of Japan’s popular appetizer or a popular side dish.

Not only it is refreshingly delicious food, but an appetizer that’s easy to prepare. The main ingredients that would enhance the flavor of cucumber includes a rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, sesame seeds and mirin (Rice wine that is sweetened). For a more flavorful cucumber salad, allow the cucumber to sit on the marinade mixture for about 15 to 20 minutes.


Japanese Vegetable Stew

Next we have the Japanese Vegetable stew or also called Nishime. A typical Japanese home-cooked dish that is made from chicken and vegetables that is simmered in soy sauce, mirin and dashi. The mixture will give you that mild sweetness and savory taste.


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It is one of the traditional food in Japan that is usually served on New Year’s day.


Miso Eggplants

Miso Eggplant or also called as Nasu Dengaku is another Japanese Vegetable dish.

It has a savory taste but mildly salty. It can be served with or without rice, either way the dish will still has the same deliciously taste. The savory taste of Nasu Dengaku is strenghten especially when mixed with dashi and mirin. Topped with sesame seeds.


Wafu Dressing Salad

A salad where the vegetables used to prepare the dish are the most common vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and carrots. What makes this dish special is the Wafu Dressing.

Wafu Dressing, in Japan, means Japanese Style dressing. It is a type of dressing that is based on Tosazu, which is a fermented vinegar that is typically seasoned with Kombu seawed, soy sauce and Hon Mirin. Additional mixture includes rice vinegar, and vegetable oil.

Wafu dressings has a tangy yet a savory dishes and mildly sweet taste. Because of the sugar and mirin, where it gets its sweetness from while the tangy flavor comes from the soy sauce and the vinegar.


Japanese Mixed Rice

Japanese mixed rice is also known for as Takikomi Gohan. It is specially made for vegetarians since it is a healthy meal because no cooking oil is involved when preparing this dish.

To make this simple dish, all you need to do is to add to the rice some vegetables such as carrots that are thinly sliced, bamboo shoots, Hiijiki, and Shiitake mushrooms in a bowl.

Best paired with miso soup and Tsukemono for that wanted vegetarian meal.


Okra Salad

Okra salad is another vegetarian dish on our list. It is very simple and easy to make. Simply top Okra with Japanese fish flakes and Katsuobushi (dried Bonito flakes). Though for vegetarian, you can omit topping okra with fish flakes.

Okra Salad is a dish that is usually served as an appetizer or as a side dish with other Japanese dishes.


Vegetable Tempura

Tempura is one of the easiest and simplest vegetable Japanese food that you can find. Deep fried vegetables in batter that you’ll definitely enjoy eating due to the crunchiness and crispiness from different vegetables.

There are different varieties of Japanese tempura, but if you are into vegetables you have the option to choose vegetable Tempura from the menu. Although there are great spots where they only have vegetable-only option of the menu.


Miso Soup With Summer Vegetables

Warm Miso Soup is a traditional soup that is usually served as a side dish to a Japanese meal. Consuming miso soup only on winter season is not always the case since you can always have Miso soup anytime. Miso soup is usually topped with Tofu and green onions.

Miso Soup with summer vegetables such as eggplants, cucumber, and tomatoes give your soup that light and refreshing taste. Not to mention adding miso paste. There are two types of Miso paste by the way: Red miso which is a little bit salt but rich in taste and the White Miso that give your miso soup a mild taste and flavor.


Japanese Vegetable Soup

Talking about vegetable dishes, this Japanese vegetable soup or also called Kenchinjuri is another soup served in Japanese restaurants aside from Miso soup.

This kind of soup does not have miso paste on it but rather the broth is cooked using dashi stock, vegetables, soy sauce and tofu.


Glazed Kabocha Squash

If you are looking for a sweet with savory taste type of vegetarian dish, then you should try this Glazed Kabocha Squash. It is easy and simple to prepare, all you need is to mix Kabocha squash with soy sauce, sesame seeds, sugar, ginger and water. A healthy meal that you’ll surely love.


Vegetable Sushi Roll

Vegetable sushi roll is also called Maki-Zushi. The most popular sushi roll for vegetarians and vegas is the maki cucumber roll wherein slices of cucumber are wrapped and rolled in shor-grained Japanese rice and Nori (seaweed).

There are also other varieties of vegetable sushi rolls that includes avocado rolls that are available for purchased in groceries or menu from your Favorite sushi restaurants.

If you are planning to make this at home, you have the option to use other vegetable fillings ingredients as spinach and carrots instead of cucumber or avocado.


Japanese Stir-Fried Burdock And Carrot

Another Japanese vegetarian dish that you should try is the Japanese Stir-fried Burdock or also called Kinpira Gobo.

It is made from a mixture of condiments such as Umami, sweet mirin and soy sauce. The condiments are then mixed with vegetable ingredients such as burdocks, sesame seeds and carrots. If a burdock is not available, you can use lotus roots instead as an alternative that can also give the same taste.

A healthy dish despite being a stir-fried dish where it is not too oily.


Edamame Furikake

Furikake is a Japanese seasoning that is made from sesame seeds (toasted), nori, salt and sugar. Edamame Furikake is considered to be a healthy dish because it contains high amounts of protein andand other nutrients that is good for your body.


Japanese Kani Salad

Another salad selection for vegetarians and vegans is the Japanese Kani Salad. In Japan, Kani means crab salad, but the crab meat used is not actually a crab meat but just an imitation of it.

Although it is creamy, it not heavy but rather light. You can easily taste the ingredients of the salad such as shallots, imitation crab and cucumbers.


Japanese Potato Salad

Japanese Potato Salad is available in Bento boxes. It is also served as a side dish to other Japanese food.

It is made with Potato as the main ingredient, onions, thinly sliced carrots and cucumber. To enhance the taste of the salad, you also have the option to add or not to add bacon or ham to the salad dish.


Okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki is a Japanese cupcake that is made with eggs, milk batter and cabbage (shredded). Although this dish is not entirely a vegetarian dish, you can always make modifications to make it into a vegetable dish by adding vegetable fillings.

But in Osaka Japan, a vegetarian version can be made with Okonomiyaki Chitose. You can also ask vegan restaurants if they have Okonomiyaki on their menu.


Tsukemono

Tsukemono or also called Japanese pickled vegetables is a side dish that is almost always present in any Japanese meal. It has a sweet and sour flavor but with a crunchy texture. It is best served with rice.


Souffle Pancakes

These pancakes are made from fresh berries and whipped cream. A popular breakfast meal in Japan that are fluffy, sweet, soft and taste incredibly delicious.


Japanese Rice Balls

Japanese rice balls or also called Onigiri comes in different sizes. Other names these rice balls is also know for includes Omusubi and Nigirimeshi.

These are rice balls that is wrapped in Nori (seaweed) sheets. Basic Onigiri consists of white Japanese rice but there are other versions wherein you can also use brown rice or rice that is mixed with barley.


Yaki udon

Yaki Udon is a Japanese Stir fry dish that is made from using Udon noodles mixed with condiments such as soy sauce, and vegetables. If you want to add meat, it is also an option though it would not be a vegetable dish anymore.

Yaki Udon is similar to Yakisoba (soba noodles) wherein both are stir-fried but using whey noodles instead.


Conclusion

Japanese Vegetarian dishes are healthy meals although may seem difficult to prepare and even complicated to eat in Japanese restaurants. But, in Japanese cooking the recipes in making these delicious and healthy vegetable dishes is pretty simple and easy to follow. Also, the ingredients that are usually used can be found in Asian markets as well.

The list of Japanese vegetable dishes mentioned above are some of the most popular ones, there are however other varieties of vegetable dishes out there that you must try. Having said that, what is your favorite recipe and favorite dish from the dishes mentioned in this guide? Let us know what you think.