Easy, delicious Japanese recipes – all 100% plant-based! Here’s how to make agedashi tofu, okonomiyaki, sushi, ramen, miso soup, golden curry, and more.
Exploring plant-based dishes from around the world is an amazing way of building up your vegan cooking repertoire – and when it comes to Japanese cuisine, there are some seriously incredible new flavour combinations to discover!
To prep your plant-based pantry for Japanese-style cooking, consider stocking your pantry with the following ingredients:
- Firm tofu
- Edamame beans
- Pickled ginger
- Shiitake mushrooms
- Spring onions
- Sesame oil
- Mirin (Japanese sweet wine)
- Rice vinegar
- Soy sauce
- Teriyaki sauce
- Vegan Kewpie mayo
- Miso paste
- Nori (dried seaweed sheets)
- Black / white sesame seeds
- Chilli flakes
- Panko bread crumbs
- Short-grain Japanese rice
- Udon / ramen / soba noodles
I’ve rounded up some of my favourite recipes below to get you started. But if you’re interested in learning more about cooking authentic vegan Japanese food, be sure to follow Okonomi Kitchen and Plant-Based Matters for heaps of incredible info, advice, and all the Japanese recipe inspiration you could ever need!
Not only is plant-based okonomiyaki possible, it’s actually really easy to make! These savoury, shredded cabbage pancakes taste just as indulgent as the traditional recipe.
Agedashi tofu – deep-fried tofu served in a bowl of umami sauce – is an incredibly popular dish at Japanese restaurants, and now you can make it at home too.
One of the most iconic fillings for onigiri – or Japanese rice balls – is ‘tuna mayo’, which is surprisingly easy to veganise! This recipe uses tofu as the base.
Aside from tasting like pure happiness in a bowl, this miso and spicy tofu ramen recipe also happens to be chock-full of wholefoods and ridiculously nourishing.
6. Inari Sushi
Inari are little balls of seasoned rice stuffed into deep-fried bean curd pockets (which you can find in most Asian grocery stores). Perfect as a quick snack or side dish.
If you’re looking for a plant-based Japanese dinner that’s as delicious as it is nourishing, look no further than this golden, veggie-packed curry.
This ingenious seitan recipe uses a magical blend of herbs, seasonings, and sauces to replicate the meatiness and spice of yakitori skewers.
So simple, yet so satisfying! The punchy garlic-and-ginger BBQ sauce is what ties this crispy, crunchy tofu sandwich together. Keep it minimalist or amp it up by adding extra veg.
Everyone’s favourite Japanese starter happens to already be vegan! Here’s how to whip up your own fried edamame pods, using sesame oil and soy sauce for seasoning.
This indulgent soy milk ramen is the epitome of vegan Japanese comfort food – and a great way to give new life to any forgotten veggies you have sitting in the back of the fridge.
There are lots of ways to make plant-based seafood, but this has to be one of the most innovative: A fillet made of tofu, with a crispy seaweed skin for that fishy flavour.
Purin is a sweet custard dessert that’s drizzled with bitter-sweet caramel – and it’s one of the most popular desserts in Japan for a reason.
Vegan sushi never looked so real! The ‘fish’ in this one is made from king oyster mushroom, and topped with onion, scallions, wasabi, and lime.
Featuring sticky, spicy tofu, pickled ginger, cucumber, edamame beans, and black sesame, this soba noodle dish strikes the perfect balance between fresh and filling.
Who knew you could make absolutely addictive vegan tuna out of tomato? Adapt this recipe to make spicy ‘tuna’ sushi, or just serve the finished product with rice and veggies.
Don’t fancy making your own vegan fish from scratch? Check out all these plant-based seafood products you can buy ready-made in Australia.
Furikake – a Japanese seasoning made with toasted sesame seeds, salt, sugar, and nori (dried seaweed) – is the ultimate secret ingredient for making rich, umami-flavoured rice.
This one-step recipe for quick-pickled Japanese cucumbers couldn’t be simpler … and their fresh, tangy crunch is the perfect accompaniment to any of these plates.
For a classic Japanese dish that’s almost too cute to eat, you have to try this mushroom and vegetable curry. Bear optional but encouraged!
Vegan-friendly Kewpie mayo is an absolute must-have in your kitchen if you’re into Japanese food. You can make your own from scratch using this nifty recipe – or buy it online from a number of vegan-friendly retailers.
Try this refreshing summer recipe for a sweet-and-sour, citrusy take on a Japanese classic. Tangelo dashi and sesame-sprinkled soba noodles are a match made in heaven.
These sweet little Japanese fruit sandwiches would look right at home at a high tea or sunny picnic in the park!
This is the dish that made me fall in love with eggplant! Slathered in miso-maple marinade and cooked to perfection, each bite practically melts in your mouth.
Proof that hot summer weather and indulgent comfort food can coexist! This cold ramen recipe is a surprisingly refreshing favourite.
26. Miso Soup
No wonder this ancient food has been a staple in Asian cuisines for over a thousand years – it’s quick, comforting, and laden with plant-based ingredients that aid in healthy digestion.
This light soba noodle salad contrasts toasty, nutty flavours with the fresh crunch of cucumber, the heat of chilli flakes, and the umami sweetness of soy and sesame dressing.
I’ll be real with you, I can’t think of three words that go better together than garlic fried rice. Why make plain white rice when this is an option?!
An Australian-inspired twist on traditional avocado rolls – the sprinkle of finger lime on top adds an extra pop of brightness and zingy flavour.
Japanese-style stir fries are great go-tos if you’re short on time or energy. Once you’ve cooked the edamame and soba noodles, it’s just a matter of throwing it all in the pan.
There’s a whole wide world of plant-based food to explore!
For more plant-based Japanese meal inspiration, try these cookbooks:
- The Vegan Japanese Cookbook by Yoko Segawa
- Vegan JapanEasy by Tim Anderson
- Japanese Cooking: Contemporary & Traditional by Miyoko Schinner
And then check out these other vegan-friendly global cuisines to inspire you in the kitchen.