Top 16 Dishes You Can Serve With Sushi
If you try Japanese-inspired side dishes, you’ll find yourself craving sushi again and again. From tempura and miso soups to gyoza and matcha ice cream; these side dishes are sure to delight. Transform your flavors of sushi into an unforgettable dining experience with these Japanese-inspired side dishes.
Sides are the stars of any meal. And if you’ve ever had sushi, you already know that it’s usually served with rice, which is the main ingredient. However, there are many other delicious options that go great with fresh sushi. These include amazing salads, soups, appetizers, desserts, and even beverages.
Sushi is known for its simplicity. There are only four basic ingredients: rice, fish, vegetables, and sauce. But there are plenty of variations on sushi, including rolls, nigiri, sashimi, tempura, and oshizushi. Japanese desserts tend to be light and refreshing.
Whether you’re planning to eat at a restaurant or cook at home, here are 16 ideas for sides that will transform your homemade sushi experience into an unforgettable meal.
1. Miso Soup
Miso soup is a traditional Japanese soup that is usually served at the beginning of a meal. It’s made with dashi stock and miso soup paste. You’ll find it in most restaurants serving Japanese food.
There are two main solid ingredients in miso soup: tofu and Negi. Tofu is a fermented soybean product that comes in various shapes and sizes. Negi is a green vegetable similar to a scallion. Both tofu and negi add flavor to miso soup.
You can eat miso soup with rice, noodles, vegetables, fish, meat, eggs, or anything else you’d normally serve with sushi. It’s a great starter dish for any meal.
Edamame soybeans are a healthy food option that adds a nice crunch to your sushi rolls. You’ll find them at most grocery stores. Simply rinse them off under cold running water and drain well. Then boil or steam them until tender. Serve them hot or cold.
You can eat edamame plain, or pair them with rice or noodles. Try adding them to fresh salads, stir-fries, soups, sandwiches, wraps, pasta dishes, pizza toppings, tacos, burgers, omelets, quesadillas, etc.
3. Gari Or Pickled Ginger
Pickled ginger is a great palate cleanser if you’ve had a big meal. But did you know that gari or pickled ginger isn’t actually a side dish? Instead, it’s often served with sushi to cleanse your palate between bites.
Authentic pickled ginger uses baby ginger for its mild flavor and softer texture. Because it’s hard to find, most Japanese restaurants use regular ginger instead and add food coloring to give it a brighter pink tint.
Baby ginger is difficult to find so a lot of Japanese restaurants use regular ginger and add red food coloring to give it that bright pink hue.
Sushi is great, but if you really want to impress your guests, try making tempura at home. Tempura is crispy and light, and it tastes amazing dipped in wasabi mayonnaise. You’ll find that it takes only minutes to prepare, and it’s super simple to make.
To make tempura at home, start by combining wheat flour with ice-cold water. Then, mix it in small batches using chopsticks. Once you’ve mixed the dough, let it sit for 5 minutes. After that, heat oil in a deep fryer until it reaches 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Dip the pieces of tempura in the hot oil, then transfer them to paper towels to drain off excess oil. Serve with wasabi mayonnaise for dipping.
Teriyaki is a Japanese marinade made from soy sauce, sugar, mirin, sake, and sometimes ginger. You can add any number of Japanese ingredients to it, including teriyaki sauce, sesame seeds, garlic, green onions, peppers, mushrooms, pineapple, etc.
Marinating eggplant in teriyaki sauce gives it a sweet and smoky flavor. Fry the eggplant in olive oil until golden brown and serve it alongside your favorite sushi rolls.
Gyoza is a delicious little dumpling made out of vegetables. You can eat them plain, or you can add shrimp, imitation crab meat, chicken, beef, etc. to them. Gyoza is great for lunch or dinner, and they’re super healthy.
To make the filling, combine chopped shiitake mushrooms with shredded cabbage, grated carrot, spring onion, minced garlic chives, and finely sliced ginger. Wrap that mixture in dumpling wrappings.
Then, you can either deep-fry or boil your gyozas, just like you would for perogies. You can serve them plain, or you could add shrimp, crab meat, or any kind of protein to them. They’re really tasty, and they’re super nutritious. So if you’ve never had gyoza before, give them a try.
7. Seaweed Salad
Sushi is delicious, but it can also be heavy. You’ll feel lighter after eating seaweed salad. Seaweed salad is made with seaweed, vegetables, and tofu. It’s light and healthy, making it a great choice if you’re trying to lose weight.
Give your seaweeds a nice rich flavor by mixing miso, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Add rice vinegar, mirin, yuzu sauce, and sesame seeds. Season with salt and chili flakes. Serve with rice.
You can find most of these ingredients at Asian grocery stores. These ingredients are commonly used in Japanese cooking, so you should be able to find them easily.
8. Kani Salad
This Kani salad recipe is super simple to make. You’ll start by combining Kani, lettuce, carrot, cucumber, and Japanese mayonnaise. Then, you’ll finish it off with some sliced mangoes and avocado.
For a sweet version of this healthy salad, try adding some sliced mango. Mango adds another layer of flavor and a nice pop of color. You can serve this Japanese salad at any mealtime, whether it’s lunch or dinner. It goes great with sushi rolls, too.
Sushi rolls are delicious, but sometimes you want something with a little sweet taste. Tamagoyaki is a traditional Japanese dish made with eggs and rice. It’s usually served on the side, but if you’d prefer to eat it as a filling, try serving it with some sweet ingredients like mirin and sugar.
Japanese egg rolls are known for being incredibly sweet, thanks to some sugar, mirin, and sake. You can either serve it on the side or as a filling. Either way, tamagoyaki makes for a delightful sushi combination.
10. Green Tea
Japanese restaurants serve green tea, whether hot or cold, for free. Green tea is considered a staple food in Japan, and it’s served at every mealtime. It’s not because of the taste; rather, it’s thought to have curative properties and health benefits.
So, if you’re eating sushi, you’ll definitely want to order green tea instead of water. You’ll find that drinking green tea helps reduce stress and anxiety, improves digestion, boosts metabolism, reduces inflammation, increases energy levels, and promotes weight loss.
You may think that drinking green tea makes you look sickly, but studies show that it actually has no negative effects on your appearance. Plus, it tastes great!
Dango is a traditional Japanese snack made out of steamed glutinous rice wrapped around a filling. It’s similar to a small ball of dough, except it’s shaped into a cylinder rather than a sphere.
There are several varieties of dango, depending on the color of the filling. Some are plain, others have a variety of fillings, and still, others come with a mix of two or three different types of fillings.
You’ll find dango at most sushi restaurants, especially ones that specialize in raw fish dishes for sushi. It’s usually served along with a side of pickled ginger. A typical serving of dango comprises three different-colored balls fastened in a skewered shape. Each ball represents a different color of dango.
12. Matcha Ice Cream
Japanese desserts are known for being sweet, but matcha ice cream is unique because it tastes like a green tea latte. It’s made with matcha, which is ground green tea leaves, and sugar. You’ll find it at most Japanese restaurants, but it’s especially delicious at sushi bars.
This recipe for matcha ice cream is delicious and healthy at the same time. It’s made with matcha green tea powder, coconut milk, honey, and vanilla bean paste. You’ll find that its bitter flavor tastes great and is served either hot or cold.
13. Cucumber Sesame
Sushi is delicious, but sometimes you want something a little bit lighter. This cucumber sesame salad does just that. It’s packed with flavorful ingredients including rice vinegar, white sesame seeds, soy sauce, sesame seed topping, and sugar that balance out the overall flavor profile.
For a hint of spice, you can add a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes right before serving. You can serve this Japanese-inspired salad alongside any number of dishes, especially ones that feature meat. Aside from sushi, this popular dish pairs well with chicken wings, roasted pig chops, and spicy sausages.
14. Japanese Yaki Onigiri
This Japanese yaki onigiri recipe is delicious and healthy. It’s made with crispy rice balls that are stuffed full of avocado and salted peanuts. Then, it’s coated in dumplings dipping sweet chili sauce, and served with a side of vegetables.
You’ll find that this recipe is perfect for lunch or as an appetizer for your next occasion. It’s a great choice if you’re trying to cut down on carbs or if you’re watching your weight. You won’t regret making this tasty treat!
15. Beef Kushiyaki
This recipe for Beef Kushiyaki is a great option if you’re looking for a delicious Japanese meal that pairs well with sushi. It’s got a lot of flavors, thanks to the combination of sake, sugar, potatoes, and traditional soy sauce.
You’ll start off by marinating the meat in sake, soy sauce, brown sugar, and sesame oil. Then you’ll cook the meat until it’s tender and add some vegetables to round out the flavors. Finally, you’ll finish it off with some spices and serve it with rice.
Kushiyaki is a traditional Japanese dish that originated in Osaka. It’s typically served at parties and celebrations, but it’s also a great option for weekday dinners. Pair it with some sushi and enjoy!
16. Japanese Octopus Salad
This recipe for Japanese octopus salad sounds delicious. It’s made with boiled octopus, soy sauce, rice vinegar, wasabi paste, ginger, garlic, scallions, cilantro, jalapeno peppers, and toasted sesame seeds.
You can serve it as a side dish or as a complement to your sushi meal. Either way, it’s going to taste amazing. Running out of Japanese cucumbers is no problem at all. Just replace it with English cucumbers instead.