Vegetables in the Spotlight! Japanese Sides

By Umami Recipe
Vegetables in the Spotlight! Japanese Sides

It's not easy preparing a balanced meal with just one main dish. In such a case, why not try making Japanese side dishes? The basic Japanese meal consists of one soup and two side dishes in addition to the main dish. Of the three dishes, two are usually side dishes with vegetables as their main ingredient, and here at Umami Recipe, many vegetable rich side dishes are showcased.

Here is our selection of sides that highlight the best in vegetables, both in deliciousness and nutrition.

Root Vegetables Pickled in Miso

Root Vegetables Pickled in Miso

This dish is as simple as soaking the vegetables you like in miso and sake. It's packed with flavor and full of nutrients. We used burdock, carrots, and bitter gourd for this recipe, but you can r...

Simply marinate your favorite vegetables in miso paste for an easy and long-lasting side dish. It will keep for about a week in the refrigerator and is perfect as a side dish for a meal with white rice. It also works well as a starter with a beverage of choice.

For those who want crunchiness, root vegetables such as burdock, carrot, and daikon radish are recommended. You can also use bitter melon, cucumber or any other vegetables you like.

Spinach Ohitashi

Boiled Spinach with Soy Sauce

Among Japanese side dishes, "ohitashi" is loved for its subtle taste. It brings out the natural flavor of vegetables, highlighted by the umami of dashi or Japanese soup stock. You can make a...

“Ohitashi” is one of the most popular Japanese side dishes and goes well with any Japanese meal. Boiling spinach from the roots or soaking the plant in cold water to remove the acrid taste is a great way to fully draw out and enjoy the flavor of the vegetable.

Another tip, soaking spinach in soy sauce and dashi broth gives it a simple yet profound flavor. It pairs well with other non-spinach leafy greens too.

Freeze-Dried Tofu and Broad Beans in Sesame Sauce

Dried Tofu and Broad Beans Salad

Freeze-dried tofu is known as "koya tofu" in Japanese. It's a common ingredient in Japan and people love it for its unique texture. Combine it with beans and vegetables and you have a he...

This is a must-try if you have in-season broad beans! The carrots and green beans add color to the bright green of the broad beans. The Koya Tofu (Freeze-Dried Tofu) has a fluffy texture that makes every bite a pleasure.

The combination of soy sauce, sesame oil, and ginger gives it a refreshing aroma and flavor that will tickle your tastebuds.

Aromatic Fried Eggplant with Soy Sauce

Fried Eggplant with Soy Sauce

The umami of the eggplant and the savory soy sauce will leave you craving for more. Eggplant is rich in potassium and aspartic acid, which is said to be effective against summer fatigue. Think of this...

Deep-fried eggplant has a tender texture with an umami that melts away on your tongue and the aroma of ginger and Japanese leek added to the soy sauce gives it an aroma that stimulates your appetite and quickens those chopsticks.

Eggplant contains a lot of water, which helps to cool the body when it is hot. It is perfect for keeping you feeling fresh and energetic throughout the day.

Effortlessly Take in Vegetable with Japanese Sides

Japanese cuisine has many colorful side dishes that are prepared easily. Many of them are vegetable-based, which help you get a good balance of vegetables by adding them to your regular meals.

Most of them can be made in a short time with minimal preparation. Give it a try!

Umami Recipe Team

Bringing what's new on Japanese food and culture, from traditional to current trends to your home.