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What to serve with sushi (17 umami-packed sides!)

Sushi has caught on and taken the hearts of many people internationally for its umami punch. In fact, cooks throughout the country have learned to bring some authentic Japanese sushi recipes in their kitchen to experience the dish’s heavenly taste.  

If you’re new to Japanese cuisine, especially sushi, it’s a dish that’s made of small pieces of raw fish wrapped in rice and seaweed. It has a few varieties such as nigiri, sashimi, maki, uramaki, and temaki, each of which has a different unique form and flavor that are irresistible!

Though sushi alone is sure to bring delight to your taste buds, it’s also more enjoyable to consume especially with side sides that can complement its taste and not overpower them.  

If you’re confused about what to eat with sushi, then this recipe guide is for you! 

Today, I’m going to reveal these nine umami-packed side dishes for sushi that can step up the sushi game in no time.

This cucumber sesame salad is one of those great sides that enhances the rich flavor of the sushi. It’s packed with flavorful ingredients such as rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, sesame seed toppings, and sugar that balances its overall flavor profile. 

For a hint of spiciness, you can add a dash of crushed red pepper flakes at the last minute of preparation. 

Aside from sushi, this dish works perfectly when paired with chicken wingsroasted pork chops, and spiced sausage

Here’s the recipe.

2. Japanese yaki onigiri

Japanese people always love these crispy grilled rice balls that are stuffed with avocado and salted peanuts then coated in a dumpling dipping sauce and sesame. 

If you’re still puzzled over what goes well with sushi, this recipe is a great side to choose. It’s an excellent dish to eat for lunch or as an appetizer for your next occasion too!

Check out the recipe here.

3. Asian stir asparagus

I adore asparagus in every possible way. It’s one of my favorite vegetables to prepare for any meal, especially with sushi!

This quick and easy asparagus dish has an Asian touch that’s so good when paired with your sushi dishes. The recipe is also bursting with flavor coming from soy sauce, sugar, dry sherry, garlic, and of course, the asparagus!

If you opt for adventure, I recommend adding shrimp paste and chilli powder for a zing of heat. 

Full details of the recipe here.

4. Beef kushiyaki

What goes with sushi? BEER KUSHIYAKI!

This Japanese-inspired beef dish combines sake, sugar, potatoes, soy sauce, steak, and spices, resulting in a hearty weeknight dinner!

Its phenomenal taste made the dish a perfect choice to serve with your favorite sushi. You can pair them with greens and some creamy potato salad too. 

Here’s the recipe.

5. Miso soup

If you’re still wondering what is served with sushi, this miso soup recipe should clear out your mind!

It’s loaded with greens, tofu, green onion, and the star of the night: the miso paste! This magical ingredient adds a savory umami flavor that goes well with sushi, moyashi salad (bean sprout salad), and tataki (Japanese fish dish).  

You can add tweaks to the recipe such as bok choy, mushrooms, and a dash of powdered ginger or sweet chili sauce. Yum!

Follow this recipe to learn how to make them.

6. Tempura

Every time I order some sashimis in a Japanese restaurant, I always pair them with tempura! 

I just can’t resist the crispy, crunchy texture, and umami flavor of this dish. It features prawns and veggies made in savory batter mixture, and then served with soy sauce-based dipping sauce. 

Here’s the recipe.

7. Beer (Japanese lagers)

If you haven’t tried beer with sushi, you’re missing out, my friend. Though it’s not umami-packed, I want to give it a spotlight.

Fortunately, light beers such as pilsners, witbiers, and hefeweizens are a great choice to pair with sushi. It’s enjoyed by many. But at the top of the list, I recommend you to drink Japanese lagers if you have them on hand.

8. Seaweed salad

This umami-laden salad has dried seaweed, mushrooms, soy sauce, veggies, and spices that are so tangy and addicting. It’s the reason why I love serving them with sushi!

The addition of red chili powder to the dish also gives a hint of spice while the sugar balances the overall flavor. 

Follow these simple steps and learn how to make this recipe here.

9. Tamagoyaki

Tamagoyaki is a Japanese rolled eggs or omelet that’s a prevalent breakfast dish and street food. It can also be found in bento boxes as well as an excellent pairing for sushi. 

You heard it right. This recipe is also a good bet to serve with sushi for its slightly sweet taste and custardy texture. You can even use it as toppings for your nigiri sushi. 

Get the recipe here.

10. Japanese octopus salad

Make a tangy soy-based vinaigrette and add to boiled sashimi (octopus), along with Japanese cucumber, dried wakame seaweed, and toasted white sesame seeds. 

This will be a great complimentary side salad for your sushi feast. 

Make the salad ahead or let it chill the salad in the fridge for 30 minutes to meld its flavor. 

Running out of Japanese cucumbers? Replace it with English cucumber!

Get the recipe here.

11. Nuta spring onion salad

This nut spring onion salad comes together in a snap. All you need is to combine the ingredients! 

Squid, spring onions, white miso, and rice vinegar make this salad truly delightful.

The uniqueness of ingredients helps this salad earn its popularity as a go-to side item for sushi dishes. 

You can add a half tablespoon of Japanese mustard into the sweet miso sauce to take it to new heights. 

Here’s the recipe.

12. Kanisu

This quick salad is an excellent side for your upcoming sushi meal because it features a sweet and tangy mouthfeel that won’t overpower your main dish. 

Fresh crab meat mixed with the freshness of cucumber, yumminess of soy sauce, and the tanginess of rice vinegar. 

The key to achieving the great flavors of the ingredients is to ensure everything is thinly sliced for quick pickling. 

Get the recipe here.

13. Japanese spinach salad

It’s time to step up your sushi by serving this Japanese-inspired salad packed with blanched spinach, savory and sweet sauce, and special sesame dressing. 

The sauce made from freshly ground sesame seeds gives rich and nutty flavors to the green vegetable. 

Apart from sushi, this veggie side dish also goes well with everything.

Unlock this recipe here.

14. Boiled edamame

Imagine partnering your sushi with this great appetizer, boiled edamame. 

The dish is as straightforward as it looks and it’s probably the easiest side dish you’ll come across for sushi, but don’t let its ease fool you—it’s absolutely packed with nice flavor and texture!

You’ll start by placing the fresh edamame in a pot filled with hot water and salt. Wait for three to four minutes until the vegetable gets soften. Sprinkle more salt over boiled edamame if needed. 

Get the recipe here.

15. Crab rangoon

When it comes to finding a complimentary dish to complete your sushi meal, nothing works better than these crab rangoon bites. 

The recipe combines a simple mixture of crab, cream cheese, onion, garlic powder, and 

Worcestershire sauce, resulting in an addicting side item full of incredible flavor profile and textural nuance. 

For maximum mouthfeel, dunk your crab rangoon bites in a sweet and sour dip or sweet chili sauce. 

Get the recipe here.

16. Kinpira Gobo

This traditional Japanese side dish is as pleasing to the eyes as it’s to the palate thanks to the vivid hue of burdock root (gobo) and carrots which are both stir-fried and simmered in a sweet soy sauce. 

Apart from gobo and carrots, the recipe also has sake, mirin, and fresh sesame seeds as garnish. 

If you’re planning to enjoy it in the future, make the dish ahead and store it in an airtight container before storing it in the fridge. 

Here’s the recipe.

17. Gyoza (Japanese dumplings)

These little dumplings are tasty on their own, but they also pair well with these dishes: sushi rolls, stir-fried vegetables, fried rice, egg drop soup, and fried green beans. 

The secret behind these dumplings is the tangy dipping sauce, consisting of soy sauce and rice vinegar. 

You can include la-yu or Japanese chili oil in the mixture if you want some heat. 

Get the recipe here.

The bottom line

Though other side dishes go well with sushi, these sides have a special place in my heart when it comes to enjoying my sushi. 

I hope you’ll come to appreciate them too and prepare some for your next sushi party!

Do you know some sushi side dishes that are not included above? Feel free to share them with us! 

What to serve with sushi

What to serve with sushi

Here are nine of my favorite sides that I love to serve with my sushi dishes. Find out what they are in this recipe list.


  • Cucumber sesame
  • Japanese yaki onigiri
  • Asian stir asparagus
  • Beef kushiyaki
  • Miso soup
  • Tempura
  • Beer
  • Seaweed salad
  • Tamagoyaki


  1. Pick three sushi sides to try
  2. Share with us your best pick

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