Vegan Onigiri is a delicious and healthy meal you can make in minutes! If you are looking for recipes, here are plenty of different flavors to try!
If you're looking for vegan onigiri fillings, try these tasty variations! With 23 recipes, you're bound to find a filling that suits your taste buds!
These delicious rice balls are great for packing in your lunch box or as a quick snack!
- This recipe is for you if:
- You love Onigiri (Japanese rice balls).
- You don't know what to put in onigiri.
- You are looking for vegan onigiri recipes.
Also, I have a complete guide on how to make delicious rice balls, so please check that out if you want more information about making Onigiri!
Ok, let me walk you through the vegan onigiri recipes. Let's get started!
About this recipe
- Vegan onigiri recipes
- 23 onigiri variations
- How to make Japanese rice balls
What to put in Onigiri
I will start with 7 vegan rice balls with nori seaweed, move on to 11 easy onigiri recipes without nori seaweed then 5 more umeboshi onigiri variations.
I've got tons of great ideas you can try, so I hope you find your favorite recipe! Let's dive in!
🍙7 Vegan Onigiri With Nori Seaweed
These are a classic style of Onigiri with nori seaweed. Let's take a look at each ingredient.
1. Ume 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.
Kombu tsukudani is 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.
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
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.
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 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
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.
🍙11 Vegan Onigiri without nori seaweed
These are easy Onigiri without nori seaweed. They are simple rice balls that you mix your favorite ingredients in rice and make a ball.
They're easier than making Onigiri using nori seaweed, so when I want to make it quickly, these Onigiri are my go-to!
Note: The amount of ingredients is just a guide; you can tweak it to your liking.
1. Wakame seaweed
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 teaspoon of wakame seaweed seasoning to the rice and mix.
- Japanese Ingredient Explained: WakameWakame 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.
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.
- Japanese Ingredient Explained: EdamameEdamame 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.
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 ½ 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!)
4. Shio kombu
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 tablespoon of shio kombu to your rice and mix.
- Japanese Ingredient Explained: Shio kombuShio kombu is seasoned kombu seaweed. A flavorful seasoning that goes well with any dish, such as salads, rice dishes, and stir-fries.
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 vegan Onigiri!
How to prepare: Add 1 tablespoon of furikake to your rice and mix.
- Japanese Ingredient Explained: FurikakeFurikake is Japanese rice seasoning. Add on top of the rice for additional flavor. There are various flavor such as vegetables, seaweed, fish and many more.
6. Curry and Veggies
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 tablespoon of mixed vegetables and 1 tablespoon of curry powder to your rice and mix.
7. Potato chips and Aonori
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 tablespoon of potato chips with your hands, add the potato chips and ½ teaspoon of aonori (green seaweed) to your rice, and mix.
- Japanese Ingredient Explained: AonoriAonori 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 toppings for okonomiyaki and yakisoba noodles!
Ochazuke mix is also an excellent seasoning for Onigiri! The green tea powder in it adds a savory flavor.
How to prepare: Add ½ package of Ochazuke mix to your rice and mix. (Cut Arare into small pieces if it's too crunchy)
- Japanese Ingredient Explained: OchazukeOchazuke 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 putting ochazuke mix over the rice and pouring some hot water.
9. Simmered koyadofu
Koya dofu is a traditional ingredient for Japanese simmering dishes. You can substitute Koya dofu with firm tofu.
How to prepare: Finely chop eggplant (or other vegetables) and Koya tofu, add equal amounts of water, sugar, soy sauce, and mirin, and boil until thickened. Cool down, add 3 tablespoon to your rice, and mix.
- Japanese Ingredient Explained: Koya dofuKoya dofu is frozen-dried tofu and is often used in simmered dishes. Also used as a protein source for vegetarians.
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: Check the recipe below.
11. Brown rice
If you want a healthier option, make Onigiri with brown rice. Brown rice gives you more nutrients than white rice.
How to prepare: Check the recipe below.
12. Shio Onigiri (Bonus)
This Shio onigiri, or plain salt onigiri, is the simplest one made with only salt. I bought this one at Lowson, a Japanese convenience store. If you don't feel like preparing ingredients, try Shio onigiri!
🍙5 Vegan Ume Onigiri Variations
Umeboshi is a popular and traditional vegan onigiri filling. You can enjoy it on its own, but I love pairing it with other ingredients. Here are some onigiri variations you can make with umeboshi!
1. Umeboshi and Wakame
How to prepare: Add umeboshi paste and wakame seaweed seasoning to the rice and mix.
2. Umeboshi and Toasted Sesame Seeds
How to prepare: Add umeboshi paste and toasted sesame seeds to the rice and mix.
3. Umeboshi and agedama
How to prepare: Add umeboshi paste and agedama (tenkasu) to the rice and mix.
4. Umeboshi and takuan
How to prepare: Add umeboshi paste and chopped takuan to the rice and mix.
5. Umeboshi and miso
How to prepare: Make a mixture of umeboshi paste and miso and put it on Onigiri. Toast it in the oven for a few minutes.
Now that you know what to put in Onigiri, let's move on to creating your own Onigiri!
Here are the ingredients (amounts are in the recipe card below).
- Cooked rice (Japanese short-grain rice)
- Nori seaweed
- Filling of your choice (pick one or more!)
See more details about rice in the recipe below.
Filling of your choice
How to prepare the fillings is described in each onigiri section above. Please scroll up and make sure of their instructions.
Let me show you how to make it step by step, or you can watch this recipe video.
- Cut the nori sheet into three equal pieces.
- Prepare salt, a bowl of water, cooked rice, a nori sheet, and a filling of your choice.
- In a small bowl, put rice and add filling in the center of the rice.
- Wet both hands, put salt on your palm, and form a triangular shape.
- Form it by pressing gently with your palms and fingers while rolling it several times.
- Wrap it with a nori sheet.
Please watch this How to make onigiri video and check how to shape the onigiri.
Here you go! Just grab it and enjoy!
There are many ways to wrap with nori, but this is the fundamental way.
Shaping rice might require a little practice, so if you have difficulty making a triangular shape, you can use an onigiri mold! It's easy to shape Onigiri!
The triangle is the most common shape, but you can also make round onigiri or cylinder onigiri.
Instructions for Onigiri Without nori
- Put cooked rice in a bowl, add the ingredient of your choice, and mix.
- Prepare salt and a bowl of water, and wet both hands with water.
- Put salt on your palm.
- Put rice on your hand.
- Form a triangular shape by pressing gently with your palms and fingers while rolling it several times.
- Make a triangle shape like these.
What to serve with
No idea what to serve with? You can do it with any main or side dish to make a complete meal. Here's what I had the other day for lunch!
- Corn onigiri
- Stir-fried tofu and broccoli
- Pickled vegetables
- Miso soup
If you don't eat them right away, please wrap each Onigiri with plastic wrap before they get dry.
You can store them for a couple of days in the fridge and one month in the freezer.
When freezing, do not wrap the nori sheet. Heat it in a microwave oven right before you eat it (do not thaw it at room temperature as it will get dry).
Thanks For Stopping By
So, you've got many great ideas for what to put in your vegan Onigiri? Good! Now let's make it, and let me know which one is best for you!
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog♡ If you've tried this recipe (or any other recipe on the blog), please give it a star rating below!
Also, feel free to leave comments if you have any questions. I love hearing from you!
Chef JA Cooks is a Japanese food blog that shares simple and healthy Japanese home cooking recipes, including vegan and vegetarian. From traditional Japanese recipes to modern recipes with step-by-step instructions.
More Onigiri Recipes You Might Like
- How to make Onigiri (A step-by-step guide)
- Simple Onigiri without nori
- Yaki Onigiri
- Salmon Onigiri
- Tuna Mayo Onigiri
- Ume Onigiri
- How to cook Japanese rice on the stove
Vegan Onigiri RecipesPrint Pin Rate
- 14 oz Cooked Japanese short-grain rice, 400g or 4 small bowls of rice
- 2 Nori sheets
- pinch of Salt
- Onigiri Fillings, Choose from the section above
- 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.
- 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.
- Equipment: Small bowl (This oxo tot small bawl is perfect for small onigiri)
- 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.
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