23 Vegetarian Onigiri Fillings (Japanese Rice Balls)

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If you’re a vegetarian and wondering about what to put in an onigiri, this recipe has the answer for you! You’ll find 23 delicious Vegetarian Onigiri Fillings right here!

Vegetarian onigiri fillings.

Onigiri, traditional Japanese rice balls, are made with Japanese rice, nori seaweed, and a variety of fillings. While the traditional fillings are typically fish-based, in this recipe, I’ve gathered an array of delicious vegetarian options for your Onigiri!

🍙Vegetarian Onigiri With Nori Seaweed

7 vegan onigiri on each plate.

These are classic-style Onigiri with nori seaweed, and you’ll find 9 variations in this section. Let’s take a look at each ingredient.

1. Umeboshi Onigiri

umeboshi onigiri.

Umeboshi is pickled plum, which is sour and salty and goes well with plain Japanese rice.

How to prepare the filling: Remove the seed and chop with a knife to make the paste. See the umeboshi onigiri recipe for more details.

2. Kombu

kombu onigiri.

Kombu tsukudani is a flavorful kombu (seaweed) side dish. You can make it, but people usually buy it at a store.

How to prepare the filling: Simmer kombu with sugar, mirin, and soy sauce until tender, or use a store-bought one. See the kombu onigiri recipe for more details.

3. Takana-zuke

takana onigiri.

Takana-zuke is pickled Japanese mustard green. It’s crunchy, salty, and flavorful. Not only for onigiri filling, it’s also an excellent addition to pasta and fried rice!

How to prepare the filling: Cut takana-zuke into small pieces.

4. Negi Miso

negi miso onigiri.

This negi miso is a mixture of scallion and miso paste. It’s tasty and great for onigiri fillings. It has a rich flavor that you can’t go wrong!

How to prepare the filling: Chop scallion and mix with miso paste.

5. Takuan

takuan onigiri.

Takuan is a Japanese radish that’s pickled, crunchy, and sweet with a vinegary kick.

How to prepare the filling: Cut takuan into small pieces.

6. Nori Tsukudani

nori tsukudani onigiri

Nori tsukudani is a traditional condiment made of seaweed simmered in soy sauce. It has a rich and complex flavor, which goes well with Japanese rice. This Nori tsukudani brand is the most famous one.

How to prepare the filling: No preparation is required.

7. Tofu Crumbles

tofu crumble onigiri.

The last one is tofu! Tofu combined with soy sauce makes for a delicious onigiri filling.

How to prepare the filling: Stir fry tofu with soy sauce and mirin until lightly crispy. See the tofu scramble recipe.

8. Nitamago

nitamago onigiri.

Nitamago is a flavored egg made by marinating it in a savory sauce. Try this if you’re looking for new ways to enjoy your onigiri!

How to prepare: Simmer soy sauce, mirin, and sugar to make a marinated sauce. Put the sauce and boiled egg in a freezer bag and rest in the fridge for several hours. See the egg onigiri recipe for more details.

9. Cheese

cheese onigiri.

The perfect comfort food. Cheese and rice, you can imagine what that tastes like! Pick your favorite cheese, then put it in the fluffy rice.

How to prepare: Cut some cheese into small pieces.

🍙 Vegetarian Onigiri without Nori Seaweed

9 vegan onigiri on each plate.

These easy Onigiri without nori seaweed are simple rice balls where you mix your favorite ingredients into the rice and shape them into balls. If you don’t have nori or prefer a quick Onigiri preparation, give these fillings a try!

Note: The amount of ingredients is just a guide; you can tweak it to your liking.

10. Wakame Seaweed

wakame onigiri without nori seaweed on a plate with ingredients.

It’s a classic onigiri seasoning. Just buy wakame seaweed seasoning at a grocery store and mix it in. Using wakame seasoning is the easiest way to make your Onigiri. 

How to prepare: Add 1 to 2 tsp of wakame seaweed seasoning to the rice and mix.

Wakame

Wakame is a type of edible seaweed. It is healthy, rich in minerals, and often used for miso soup, salad and rice dishes. Dried wakame is more common than raw wakeme.

11. Edamame

edamame onigiri without nori seaweed on a plate with ingredients.

It’s visually appealing! Edamame brings a nice green color to your Onigiri.

How to prepare: Take 3.5ounce/100g edamame from the pod, add to your rice, and mix.

Edamame

Edamame is immature soybeans which is harvested when they are still green. These become soybeans when matured. It’s common to boil it and eat it as a snack or appetizer.

12. Corn

Corn onigiri without nori seaweed on a plate with ingredients.

The best Onigiri for summer! Mix in some fresh corn for an extra crunchy texture. The sweetness of corn brings a delicious flavor.

How to prepare: Prepare 1/2 fresh corn and microwave it for 5 minutes or steam it for 10 minutes. Remove corn from the cob and add to your rice, and mix. (You can try this corn rice recipe too!)

13. Shio Kombu

Shio kombu onigiri without nori seaweed on a plate with ingredients.

Shio kombu seaweed is an ingredient that I use in many dishes. It has a rich flavor, perfect for adding some depth to your Onigiri!

How to prepare: Add 1 tbsp of shio kombu to your rice and mix.

Shio Kombu

Shio kombu is seasoned kombu seaweed. A flavorful seasoning that goes well with any dish, such as salads, rice dishes, and stir-fries.

14. Furikake

Furikake onigiri without nori seaweed on a plate with ingredients.

Furikake is an easy way to add some flavor to your rice. You can choose from many options, so pick the one with vegetables, seaweed, or umeboshi for vegetarian Onigiri!

Furikake

Furikake is a Japanese rice seasoning. Add on top of the rice for additional flavor. There are various flavors, such as vegetables, seaweed, fish, and many more.

15. Curry and Veggies

Curry onigiri without nori seaweed on a plate with ingredients.

If you love curry, try this curry-flavored Onigiri. Mix in some veggies to bring more color to the Onigiri.

How to prepare: Add 2 tbsp of mixed vegetables and 1 tbsp of curry powder to your rice and mix.

16. Potato Chips and Aonori

Potato chips and aonori onigiri without nori seaweed on a plate with ingredients.

Potato chips are not a common ingredient for Onigiri, but they add a nice crunchy texture and are the perfect addition to your rice balls!

How to prepare: Crumble 2 tbsp of potato chips with your hands, add the potato chips and 1/2 tsp of aonori (green seaweed) to your rice, and mix.

Aonori

Aonori is a type of edible seaweed, which is dried and processed into powder form. The bright green color and unique ocean aroma make Aonori a tasty addition to any dish. It is often used as a topping for okonomiyaki and yakisoba noodles!

17. Ochazuke

Ochazyke onigiri without nori seaweed on a plate with ingredients.

Ochazuke mix is also an excellent seasoning for Onigiri! The green tea powder in it adds a savory flavor.

How to prepare: Add 1/2 package of Ochazuke mix to your rice and mix. (Cut Arare into small pieces if it’s too crunchy)

Ochazuke

Ochazuke mix helps to make Ochazuke quickly. It contains Arare (crunchy rice cracker), shredded nori seaweed, and green tea powder. All you need to do is put ochazuke mix over the rice and pour some hot water.

18. Simmered koyadofu

Koya dofu onigiri without nori seaweed on a plate with ingredients.

Koya dofu is a traditional ingredient for Japanese simmering dishes. You can substitute Koya dofu with firm tofu.

Koya Dofu

Koya dofu is frozen-dried tofu and is often used in simmered dishes. Also used as a protein source for vegetarians.

19. Scrambled Egg Onigiri (Vegetarian)

Scrambled egg onigiri without nori seaweed on a plate with ingredients.

Scrambled egg and Japanese Kewpie mayonnaise are a tasty combination for white rice. Our kids love this Onigiri. You can also add ketchup instead of mayonnaise.

How to prepare: Put the beaten egg in a bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and microwave for 40 seconds. Add 1 tbsp of mayo and mix. Add the egg mixture to your rice and mix.

20. Cheese Onigiri (Vegetarian)

Cheese and shiso onigiri without nori seaweed on a plate with ingredients.

The slightly salty cheese is a great addition to plain, simple steamed rice. And the shiso leaves add a refreshing fragrance to Onigiri. You can substitute shiso with parsley or scallions.

Shiso

Shiso is a Japanese herb with a refreshing aroma. It’s used to add some flavor for salads or place on top of dishes for garnish.

21. Cheese Yaki Onigiri (Grilled Rice Ball)

yaki onigiri with cheese on a plate.

Yaki onigiri or grilled rice balls are also popular. This one is with cheese. The aroma of freshly baked rice and melting cheese will certainly appeal to your appetite!

How to prepare: Mix soy sauce with rice, add cheese, form a triangle shape, and cook on a pan until browned. See the yaki onigiri recipe for more details.

22. Sekihan

sekihan onigiri.

Sekihan is a classic Japanese dish made from glutinous rice and azuki beans. The rice is sticky and perfect for making rice balls.

How to prepare: See the sekihan recipe for more details.

23. Brown rice

brown rice onigiri.

If you want a healthier option, make Onigiri with brown rice. Brown rice gives you more nutrients than white rice.

How to prepare: See the brown rice recipe for more details.

Recipe Ingredients

You’ll need the following ingredients to make this Vegetarian Onigiri:

  • Cooked Rice (Japanese short-grain rice): If you are new to cooking Japanese rice, check this recipe: How to Cook Japanese Rice on a Stove.
  • Nori is a type of seaweed that’s dried, crispy, and sold in sheets. Get this full-size nori sheet (8.3”x 7.5” or 21 x 19 cm in general) at a grocery store. This size is too large for onigiri, so we are going to divide it into 3.
  • Salt: When shaping the rice, spread some salt in your hands. Opt for sea salt or natural-tasting salt.

Filling of Your Choice

9 vegan ingredients on each bowl for making onigiri.

Pick one or more! How to prepare the fillings is described in each onigiri section above. Please scroll up and make sure of their instructions.

How To Make Vegetarian Onigiri: STEP BY STEP 

Here are some quick visual instructions! For the video and all the detailed ingredients and instructions, go to the printable recipe card below.

Umeboshi for onigiri.

Step 1

Prepare onigiri filling of your choice.

How to make umeboshi onigiri.

Step 2

Put the rice in a small bowl and add the filling in the center.

How to make umeboshi onigiri.

Step 3

Form a triangle shape by pressing gently with both your hands.

How to make umeboshi onigiri.

Step 4

Wrap the triangular rice with nori.

ume onigiri with takuan on a plate.

Here you go! Just grab it and enjoy! Shaping rice might require a little practice, so if you have difficulty making a triangular shape, you can use an onigiri mold! The triangle is the most common shape, but you can also make round onigiri or cylinder onigiri.

Storage

Onigiri is best when freshly made, but if you need to store them for later, follow these guidelines:

  • Wrap each onigiri tightly in plastic wrap to maintain their moisture.
  • At room temperature, onigiri can be stored for up to half a day.
  • In the fridge, they can be kept for a couple of days.
  • If you plan for longer storage, freeze them for up to one month. When freezing, avoid wrapping the nori sheet. Reheat in a microwave just before eating to prevent dryness; do not thaw at room temperature.

What To Serve With

Onigiri pairs well with many different dishes! I suggest serving with vegetable tempura, tofu seaweed salad, and daikon miso soup.

Grab Your Onigiri Filling eBook!

Looking for more onigiri filling ideas? Check out our Onigiri eBook! From classics to creative options, all compiled conveniently in one place!

Onigiri filling ebook cover.

36 Fun and Flavorful Onigiri

2 onigiri rice balls on a plate.

More Japanese Rice Recipes You Will Love

Leave a Rating!

I hope you enjoy these Vegetarian Onigiri Fillings! If you try it, don’t forget to leave a rating to share your thoughts—I love hearing from you!

12 Vegetarian onigiri fillings.

Vegetarian Onigiri Fillings (Japanese Rice Balls)

5 from 7 votes
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Prep: 10 minutes
Total: 10 minutes
Servings: 4 onigiri
Author: Juri Austin
If you're a vegetarian and wondering about what to put in an onigiri, this recipe has the answer for you! You'll find 23 delicious vegetarian onigiri fillings right here!

Equipment

  • Small Bowl (This oxo tot small bawl is perfect for small onigiri)

Ingredients

  • 14 oz Cooked Japanese short-grain rice, 400g or 4 small bowls of rice
  • 2 Nori sheets
  • pinch of Salt
  • Your choice of onigiri fillings, Select from the onigiri filling options above.

Instructions

  • Prepare ingredients: Cut a nori sheet into three equal pieces. Set aside a small ball of water, a small plate of salt, cooked rice, the nori sheet and filling of your choice.
  • Add filling: In a small bowl, put rice and make a small dent in the center, then add 1 or 2 teaspoons of your filling. Cover the filling with some more rice.
  • Put water and salt on your hands: Wet both hands with water, put salt (2 fingertips of salt) on your palm, and rub between your hands.
  • Shape rice: Place the rice on your hand, hold it with both hands, form a triangle shape (or round shape) by pressing gently with your both palms and fingers while rolling it several times.
  • Wrap: Wrap it in the nori sheet.

Video

Notes

  • Storage: Wrap each one with plastic wrap, put it in a container, and keep them in the fridge for a couple of days and one month in the freezer.
  • Japanese short-grain rice (starchy and sticky) is best for making onigiri. If you are new to cooking rice, check this recipe: “How to cook Japanese rice on the stove.”
  • The filling amount is up to you, so feel free to add as much or little according to your preference.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 190kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 3.24g
Course: Rice
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: vegetarian onigiri fillings
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