Making your own recipes is a fun affordable way to use up leftover veggies, or what’s on sale at the farmers’ market. Base meals around cheap staples like pasta or rice (take your own container to the zero waste shop, but eat rice up quickly, as it’s a food poison hazard, if left too long). Eating plant-based recipes is good for animal welfare, the planet and your health. It’s also a good way to replace tasteless and expensive plastic-wrapped ready-meals from the supermarket. Katsu curry (So Vegan) is milder and sweeter than Indian and Asian curries.
Use palm-oil-free vegan butter. Keep these recipes away from pets due to toxic ingredients (garlic, onion, leeks, chives, mushrooms, grapes, nuts, avocado, dried fruits, nutmeg, fresh dough, green potatoes/onions, chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, jackfruit and xylitol).
Japanese food is very popular in England, with most cities having sushi bars, and specialist groceries. Centred around rice, tofu, noodles, miso (a pungeant umami-rich paste) and matcha tea, it’s also pretty good for you too. Here are some nice recipes to try. A lot of Japanese food uses seaweed, so know to avoid this if you have thyroid/iodine issues (agar used to set jellies should be fine, but check with your doctor first).
Teriyaki is a very popular flavour in Japan, which is kind of a blend of soy sauce with brown sugar and pineapple juice. There are variations, you can guess that the pineapple is more native to Hawaii than Japan, as the flavouring is very popular in American and fusion cuisine too. Some believe this came about, as the dish was brought to the islands by the first Japanese immigrants. Tofu Teriyaki (Crowded Kitchen) is a nice weeknight dinner. The protein-rich baked tofu is tossed in a sticky homemade sauce, to serve with broccoli and white rice.
Pineapple Teriyaki Tofu (Crowded Kitchen) takes things more tropical. This is another protein-packed dinner, with stir-fried veggies being added to tofu, alongside a homemade pineapple teriyaki glaze. Takes 30 minutes.
Tempeh Teriyaki Stir-Fry (Short Girl, Tall Order) uses pan-fried tempeh (a plant protein you can find in health stores or some groceries) with a brand name ready-made sauce (just sub with any other good sauce or make your own). Ready in 20 minutes.
Easy Homemade Teriyaki Sauce (Minimalist Baker) is salty, sweet and tangy. Very versatile and gluten-free, this is naturally sweetened with maple syrup, and only needs 6 ingredients and 20 minutes to make.
Plant-Based Japanese Pancakes
Okonomiyaki is the official name for Japanese pancakes, which are a popular savoury dish enjoyed the world over. There are many variations, but conventional ones tend to be made with flour batter with cabbage (with previously! seafood or meat) and topped with sauce, vegan mayo and picked ginger. The Best Vegan Okonomiyaki (Full of Plants) is loaded with shredded cabbage and green onions, topped with sweet tomato sauce and drizzled with a vegan mayo.
Vegan Hiroshima-Style Okonomiyaki is a gluten-free silken tofu omlette made with smoky tofu and soba noodles. It features cabbage and a buckwheat crepe, for a lovely susbtantial dinner.
Make Your Own (vegan) Sushi
Sushi is one of the world’s most popular foods, and sold in every Japanese restaurant. Traditionally made from raw fish and Sushi Rice, today there are many plant-based versions to be enjoyed. Sushi was actually invented in south east Asia, although it’s more known today as a Japanese food. Eaten with the hands, you don’t have to train for 10 years to become a Sushi master. Raw Vegan Sushi Rolls (The Simple Veganista) wrap fresh veggies in nori, with miso and hemp hearts (full of complete protein and omega acids). Light and a delicious lunch snack.
VEGEX Vegan Sushi Box contains all you need to make your own vegan sushi at home. You’ll receive a single sushi mat along with a tube of wasabi paste, Vegan Zeastar Sashimi Zalmon, 10 nori seaweed sheets, 1kg of sushi rice, Vegan Sushi Mayo and Kikkoman sushi seasoning. Some items are frozen, keep dry ice away from pets and children.
- Crazy Vegan Sushi (London) offers plant-based sushi to order online for home delivery. The Vegan Deluxe Box incldues three salmon nigiri, three tuna nigiri and 8 ‘salmon avocado’ rolls on the side with edamame, ginger and wasabi paste.
- YO! offers a vegan sushi menu to order online. The range includes cucumber maki, yasai rolls, inari tacos, plus sides like pumpkin katsu and vegan fries. You can order a YO! Vegan Sushi Sharing Platter from Sainsbury’s which includes 3 vegetable rolls and sweet inari nigir, with crispy opinon topping, sweet teriyaki sauce, pickled ginger and wasabi condiments.
- Worldwide, most sushi bars now offer vegan sushi options. In The Netherlands, Amsterdam’s Vegan Sushi Bar is the first of its kind in the world. It offers only plant-based dishes of sushi rolls (filled with plant-based shrimp, crab and salmon), sashimi and gyoza, plus dessert mochi and cakes.
Plant-Based Japanese Recipe Books
Vegan Japaneasy is a book of classic modern vegan Japanese recipes. This book for mindful vegans replaces conventional ingredients with plant-based and authentic alternatives. Full of salty, sweet, spicy and rich umami flavours, this unique book features ingredients like mushrooms and seaweed to offer all your favourite Japanese dishes, vegan-style. Recipes include:
Author Tim Anderson is an award-winning chef and food writer. Raised in Wisconsin, he studied Japanese food culture at university, and lived in Japan for 2 years. After moving to London, he won Masterchef 2011 and became one of the UK’s most prominent voices on Japanese food. He has operated a pop-up Japanese restaurant for many years and is widely admired for his expertise on Japanese cuisine.
- Red Pickled Ginger
- Vegan Sushi
- Cauliflower Katsu Curry
- Sweet Potato with Truffled Ponzu
- Mock Meat Vegetable Tempura
- Mock Meat Menchi Katsu
- Ramen Salad
- Mushroom Gyoza
- Fried Tofu in Dashi
- Cauliflower Katsu Curry
- French Onion Ramen
- Sichuan-Style Hot & Numbing Tofu with Ancient Grains
- Mock Meat Menchi Katsu
- Watermelon Mojito
- Soy Sauce Butterscotch Brownies
Vegan Recipes from Japan combines local vegetables and fruits with rice and other cereals and unique ingredients like miso, soy sauce, sake, mirin (sweet white wine) and dashi (soup stock) to make unique meals using Japanese cooking techniques, such as tempura. The text illuminates the cultural background of the recipes, with stories from the land of the rising sun. Recipes include
Kansha is a book by an American who has lived and cooked in Japan for many years. Her recipes often use parts of the plant that may otherwise be thrown away like green tops. Recipes include Creamy Sesame Pudding, Skillet-Scrambled Tofu with Leafy Greens, Eggplant Sushi and Glazed Eel Look-Alike!
Zen Vegan Food is a book of recipes by a Zen Buddhist monk. Chef and dietitian Koyu Linuma shares the simple plant-based meals that he prepares in the kitchens of Fukushoji temple in Yokohama. The 73 recipes are beautiful and tasty with colour photos, using Japanese ingredients like seaweed, miso and tofu. Recipes include:
- 25 recipes for Congee (Asian rice porridge)
- A chapter of Japanese-Italian dishes
- Grilled Turnips with Mustard & Olive Sauce
- Spaghetti with Pesto & Shiitake
Just Enough is a book by Gesshin Claire Greenwood, who was ordained as a Buddhist nun in a Japanese monastery before returning to teach in the US. Here she shares how she learned to prepare simple meals based on the philosophy of ‘oryoki’ or ‘just enough’. Learn how to make perfect rice, potatoes, broths and hearty stews, colourful stir-fries, hot and cold noodles and delicate sorbet. She also offers food for thought on eating.
A Vegan Guide to Tokyo
Tokyo Vegan Guide is the ideal book if you live in Tokyo or are planning to visit. The book reviews over 70 restaurants including price ranges and easy walking directions. Plus there is a compact guide to budget options including supermarkets and restaurants, plus bonus info for gluten-free and Halal foodies. There is also a useful glossary with helpful phrases and common words, and a mini vegan guide to Kyoto. Written in 2018 by a Tokyo-based vegan gourmet writer, this is a little self-published gem.