15 Vegan Japanese Recipes to Make at Home

Pumpkin and Tofu Miso Soup in a white bowl
Photo: Linda T

With a heavy emphasis on rice, tofu, noodles, and soy, it's no wonder that the Japanese cuisine holds plenty of delicious dishes for vegans to enjoy. Slurp up a bowl of soba, snack on some onigiri, or upgrade your at-home sushi with pickled ginger. You'll feel like your eating out at your very own Japanese restaurant with these plant-based recipes.

01 of 15

Perfect Sushi Rice

Veggie sushi on a blue plate
Arie Ardasis

Getting the right consistency for sushi rice can sometimes be a challenge. Too sticky and it becomes mushy, but if it's too loose your roll will fall apart. This easy recipe removes the guesswork and teaches you how to perfectly season the rice for a wow-worthy dish.

02 of 15

Homemade Pickled Ginger (Gari)

Homemade Pickled Ginger (Gari)
Emily Harper

Pickled ginger is a common side for Japanese meals, especially sushi. This beloved condiment can be made at home by thinly slicing young ginger and pickling it in a blend of rice vinegar, sugar, and salt.

03 of 15

Japanese Cucumber Sunomono

Japanese Cucumber Sunomono in a white and blue bowl

A perfect balance of sweet, salty, and tangy, this salad is nearly addictive during the summer cucumber season. It's great for making ahead and can act as an appetizer or side dish.

04 of 15

Japanese Tofu Salad

Japanese Tofu Salad in a white bowl with chopsticks
BethLind

This Japanese-inspired salad of tofu, tomatoes, and red onions features a tangy sesame and soy dressing that promises bold flavor in every bite. Plus with 17 grams of protein in each serving, it's a great choice for a plant-based diet.

05 of 15

Japanese-Style Sesame Green Beans

Japanese-Style Sesame Green Beans on a dark plate
Ranjit R.

This recipe is the perfect example of how you only need a handful of ingredients to create a super-tasty dish. Green beans are pan-fried in sesame oil until crisp-tender and then coated with a splash of soy sauce and sprinkling of sesame seeds.

06 of 15

Cucumber and Avocado Sushi

cucumber and avocado sushi rolls
Chelsey

The ultimate contrast of creamy and crunchy, pairing up avocado and cucumber in sushi rolls just makes sense. Don't forget a little soy sauce and wasabi on the side for dipping!

07 of 15

Soba with Toasted Sesame Seed Sauce

Soba with Toasted Sesame Seed Sauce on a white plate
naples34102

Made with buckwheat flour, soba noodles provide a bouncy texture and nutty flavor to many Japanese dishes. In this recipe they're prepared with a tangy and sweet sauce plus plenty of veggies.

08 of 15

Vegan Japanese Spinach Salad

Vegan Japanese Spinach Salad on a white plate
Soup Loving Nicole

Some prepared seaweed salads can contain fish products, making them not vegan-friendly. So if you're hankering for greens, try this seaweed salad-style recipe for spinach, which briefly blanches the greens before drizzling with a sweet soy sauce.

09 of 15

Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls)

onigiri on a red plate
Zoie Harrison

A popular lunchbox staple in Japan, onigiri are triangular rice balls wrapped in nori. You can easily stuff the inside with ingredients like baked tofu and pickled vegetables or roll the rice in seasoning blends for extra flavor.

10 of 15

Konbu Dashi

Konbu Dashi in a white bowl
Buckwheat Queen

Dashi is a key ingredient in a lot of Japanese cooking, but it's often made with fish products. This recipe makes a vegan alternative by simmering konbu (also spelled kombu), a type of kelp, to infuse the water with bold flavor.

11 of 15

Pumpkin and Tofu Miso Soup

Pumpkin and Tofu Miso Soup in a white bowl
Linda T

Made from fermented soybean paste, miso creates a rich depth of umami flavor in any dish it's added to. Just make sure to check your packaging, as some miso brands contain fish. Here, plant-based miso makes up a salty broth for tofu, buckwheat noodles, and fresh pumpkin.

12 of 15

Gomasio (Sesame Salt)

Gomasio in a wooden bowl
Buckwheat Queen

"Gomasio is a Japanese condiment used for vegetables or rice. It adds flavor but also vital nutrients," says recipe creator Buckwheat Queen. "I love it on onigiri. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 1 month."

13 of 15

Japanese Zucchini and Onions

Japanese Zucchini and Onions
Soup Loving Nicole

Create your favorite Japanese steakhouse side dish at home with this easy recipe. Thinly sliced onions and zucchini are cooked until just barley tender in a blend of teriyaki, soy sauce, and sesame seeds.

14 of 15

Avocado Sushi with Brown Rice

Avocado Sushi with Brown Rice on a white plate
Diane Schiller

This sushi recipe swaps in short grain brown rice (due to its sticky nature) in place of traditional white rice for extra whole grain goodness. Each roll is packed with flavor from the trio of avocado, red bell peppers, and alfalfa sprouts.

15 of 15

Vegan Japanese Winter Squash and Leek Soup

Vegan Japanese Winter Squash and Leek Soup in a dark bowl
Colleen Seal

Kabocha, a Japanese winter squash, is the star of this vegetable-packed soup while sweet onion and savory leeks add a mild taste. This dish is perfect for serving with a side of steamed rice to soak up the extra broth.

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