Side Dishes

What to Serve with Sushi: 15 Authentic Side Dishes

Sophisticated side dishes filled with authentic Japanese flavor!

Claire Onidi By
Claire Onidi
Passionate about food and pastries since always, Claire spends most of her time in the kitchen to develop new recipes. She is French but lived many years abroad.
Learn more about me
Updated January 1, 2023

If you’re struggling with what to serve with sushi, you’ve come to the right place! With a few side dishes from this list, you’ll have the perfect restaurant-style Japanese meal.

what to serve with sushi

Sushi has become a worldwide phenomenon, loved for being simple and sophisticated at the same time. At its most basic, sushi is made with vinegared sushi rice, seaweed, and raw fish.

At sushi restaurants, you’ll find dozens of sushi flavors like squid, tempura shrimp and so much more. Sushi usually comes as rolls, nigiri (just fish and rice), or sashimi (raw fish only).

Although sushi is delicious all on its own, I always like to order a few sides with my meal. Side dishes like miso soup, green tea, and matcha ice cream turn eating sushi into an experience.

What’s so great about Japanese food is that it’s simple to make, but oh so tasty! These recipes are all easy enough to prepare at home.

Try your hand at some of these traditional Japanese dishes and enjoy a sushi party at home with the family!

what to serve with sushi recipe

01. Wasabi Paste

A unique spicy condiment that’s unlike anything else!

Wasabi paste is made from grated wasabi root, also known as Japanese horseradish. It has a distinctive fiery but fresh flavor that elevates the taste of raw fish in sushi.

Be careful to only use a little bit of wasabi on your sushi though. Too much and it will overpower your senses and burn your nostrils!

02. Pickled Ginger

This palate cleanser ingredient is an integral part of the sushi experience!

Pickled ginger is traditionally made from young ginger, which gives it that pink hue. It has a sharp, fresh, and subtly sweet flavor that helps cleanse the palate between bites of sushi!

Make a big batch of this pickled ginger and use it in other Japanese dishes like noodles and fresh salads.

03. Miso Soup

This salty, umami-filled soup is the perfect complement to fish!

Miso soup is made with fermented soybean paste, fish flakes, and green onion. It’s rich in umami and because of the fermented miso paste, it’s excellent for digestion.

Miso is a great way to warm the stomach before a sushi dinner. If you want to beef it up a bit, add seaweed and bits of tofu for texture!

04. Seaweed Salad

Fresh, tangy, and healthy too!

Seaweed salad (also known as wakame) is made with strands of seaweed in a vibrant sweet vinegar dressing. The seaweed has a unique chewy texture and a fresh grassy flavor that pairs so well with sushi.

What gives this dish all its flavor is the sesame oil. It has a nutty taste that adds depth and a hint of that classic Japanese umami.

05. Edamame

A super quick appetizer that’s also fun to eat!

Edamame is steamed or fried soybeans that are cooked in the shell. The beans are tossed in a medley of soy sauce and garlic which infuses them with a salty, savory flavor.

To eat, just peel or suck the beans out of the shell. The shell will have steamed the beans inside, making them nice and tender.

06. Tempura

Satisfy your crunchy craving with this satisfying fried side dish.

Although fried, Japanese tempura still tastes light and fresh because of the use of panko crumbs. Panko is made from coarse bread crumbs which are lightly baked so they don’t get overly crunchy

Shrimp tempura is a classic, but I also enjoy sweet potato and zucchini tempura. Serve with a sweet soy sauce to round out the dish with just the right amount of salt.

07. Kanikama Imitation Crab Meat Salad

An addictive sweet and salty seafood salad!

If you’re not careful, you’ll end up filling up on this tasty “kani” salad alone! A mouthwatering blend of shredded imitation crab, mango, and mayonnaise is what makes this salad so deliciously rich.

Japanese side dishes aren’t usually spicy, but this salad includes sriracha for a little kick. This creamy side is a great dish to complement fresh sushi and wakame salad.

08. Cucumber Sesame Salad

This simple and healthy dish comes together in just five minutes!

Japanese cuisine masterfully turns simple ingredients into something special—and this dish is no exception! All you need to create this tangy salad is vinegar, cucumber, sesame oil, and ginger.

Simply toss the ingredients together and let them marinate for a few minutes. The cucumbers are excellent at absorbing flavors and give the salad a wonderful bite.

09. Green Tea

Japan’s favorite drink can be enjoyed hot or cold!

A Japanese meal wouldn’t be complete without this grassy, aromatic tea beverage. Green tea is made from young tea leaves, and is packed with antioxidants to boost your health!

Enjoy sips of green tea in between bites of sushi rolls to stimulate digestion and cleanse the palate. It can even be enjoyed cold, which also helps neutralize some of the tea’s bitterness.

10. Sweet Chili Sauce

Perfect as a dip for sushi and tempura, or to add flavor to stir fries.

A blend of sugar and ginger gives this dish its sweet and tangy flavor. Sambal oelek provides that classic red color and the perfect amount of heat.

This is a great ingredient to have ready to go in the fridge for any occasion. Add to soups, dips, and practically any Asian-inspired recipe to get those notes of umami and spice.

11. Japanese Spinach Salad

Bursting with sweetness and umami!

This underrated appetizer is one of my favorites, and it’s so simple to make! Lightly wilted spinach is tossed in sweet toasted sesame seeds to get that classic umami flavor.

Spinach has a delicious chewy texture and absorbs flavors like a sponge. Like so many Japanese side dishes, you can make this one in just a few minutes.

12. Japanese Octopus Salad

Treat your guests to this more unique and underrated side dish.

The Japanese name for this dish is sunomono, which essentially means “things in vinegar”. It’s a tangy blend of pickled vegetables and octopus in a simple rice vinegar dressing.

There are so many variations of this recipe, some with cucumber, others with crab. Octopus is traditionally a summer ingredient in Japan, which would make this the perfect hot weather salad!

13. Chicken Karaage

Deep fried chicken is a universally loved dish, and it’s no different in Japan!

Karaage is Japan’s take on fried chicken, usually made with chicken thighs or wings. The chicken is coated in a potato starch batter that makes them light and crispy once fried.

Karaage is a popular appetizer or snack to enjoy with a Japanese beer or sake. You can also add it to a bento box with sushi, salad, and miso soup!

14. Udon Noodles

This chewy treat is delicious in stir fries, soups, and salad.

Udon is a unique Japanese noodle made with wheat flour and cut extra thick. They’re perfect for absorbing flavors and give any dish an irresistible chewy texture.

A savory sauce made from vinegar, garlic, and soy sauce makes these noodles easy to slurp up. Include a crunchy element like cabbage or carrots and you have the perfect entree or side dish.

15. Matcha Ice Cream

Creamy, rich, and full of those green tea flavors you love.

Japanese cuisine isn’t big on sweets, but this matcha ice cream is the exception. Made with matcha green tea powder and heavy cream, it’s the perfect balance of sweetness and bitterness.

Some recipes for this Japanese dish even include eggs to give the ice cream a custard-like flavor. This unique treat is subtly sweet and the perfect way to wind down a meal.

What to Serve with Sushi


  1. Choose one or more of these elegant Japanese side dishes.

  2. Roll your homemade sushi like a pro.

  3. Prepare your side dishes.

  4. Enjoy a sushi meal fit for a Japanese restaurant right at home!

what to serve with sushi - Pinterest