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12 Easy & Healthy Japanese Recipes

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    Start your New Year with these 12 inspiring, healthy Japanese recipes, with a focus on seasonal & wholesome ingredients.

    Salmon on top of the rice in a white bowl.

    The start of a new year is a time of reset and renewal. When it comes to cooking and eating better, the Japanese believes that everything should be in balance. The balance we strive for not only satisfying hunger, but also nourishing each of the five senses — taste, smell, texture, color and sound.

    Personally, I believe ‘homestyle cooking’ (家庭料理) is a way to take care of myself and my family. It’s not about a specific diet, but a sustained, varied diet with adequate vitamins and nutrients.

    If you are looking for inspiring recipes to start the New Year, I’ve gathered some of my favorite healthy recipes for you to prepare and enjoy with your loved ones. May these wholesome, healthy meals make their happy appearance at your dining table!

    12 Healthy Japanese Recipes for the New Year

    Ginger Rice and miso soup on the wooden tray.

    1. Ginger Rice 生姜の炊き込みご飯

    Cooked with ginger, fried tofu skin, and soy sauce base sauce, this Japanese Ginger Rice recipe is so fragrant that you would enjoy it on its own. Known for its many anti-inflammatory properties, ginger has the unique power to keep you warm and ease digestion. When you need a warm healthy meal, this ginger rice is perfect to start a hectic week. Enjoy it with miso salmon and a bowl of miso soup.

    Miso Salmon on top of the rice in a white bowl.

    2. Miso Salmon 味噌サーモン

    The heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids in salmon get most of the attention, but this delicious fish also provides a high source of vitamin D. Marinated in a sweet and savory miso sauce, this Miso Salmon is an easy and elegant recipe to serve.

    Green Tea Smoothie in glasses.

    3. Green Tea Smoothie 抹茶スムージー

    Start your day with a nutrient packed breakfast with this Green Tea Smoothie made with banana, almond milk and matcha powder. Matcha not only adds all the beneficial antioxidants from green tea, but it also gives you an extra kick in your step in the morning.

    Takikomi Gohan in a Japanese bowl.

    4. Takikomi Gohan (Japanese Mixed Rice) 炊き込みご飯

    Basically a one-pot meal; Takikomi Gohan is a flavorful & comforting Japanese mixed rice cooked with seasonal ingredients. To achieve the perfect texture for the rice, don’t forget to read the important tips and technique I shared in the recipe when you make Takikomi Gohan.

    Japanese Vegetable Soup in soup bowls.

    5. Kenchinjiru けんちん汁

    Highly restorative with its origin as a Buddhist temple cuisine, Kenchinjiru is a clear soup cooked with root vegetables, tofu, shiitake mushrooms, and kombu stock. If you’re looking for a meatless meal on a cold night, this flavorful soup will warm you right up!

    Bitter Melon Salad in a small bowl.

    6. Bitter Melon Salad ゴーヤの白和え

    Bitter melon (or goya in Japanese) is commonly used in Asian cooking. This gourd has been known for its many medical properties such as lowering blood sugar and cholesterol. In Japan, bitter melon started to gained its popularity through the spread of Okinawan cuisine. In this recipe, bitter melon is dressed with mashed tofu and a sesame sauce called shiraae (白和え) for light, wonderful healthy dish.

    Spring Rolls with Sesame Ponzu Vinaigrette on a plate.

    7. Spring rolls with Sesame Ponzu Vinaigrette

    Fresh spring rolls make a healthy choice of summer lunch or warm evening. They’ve got just the perfect blend of vegetables and protein, all wrapped up in a soft, chewy rice paper roll. This recipe takes on a Japanese twist where I incorporate pork belly, daikon radish, and lettuce and serve it with Japanese-style Sesame Ponzu Vinaigrette for a lighter yet refreshing taste.

    Broccolini Gomaae on a small plate.

    8. Broccolini Gomaae ブロッコリーニの胡麻和え

    Rich in antioxidants and folic acid, this Broccolini Gomaae makes a quick, healthy vegetable side dish for your weeknight meal. A savory & nutty sesame sauce round up this delicious vegetable. Can’t find broccolini? Try with broccoli instead.

    Baked Tonkatsu with cabbage salad on the plate.

    9. Baked tonkatsu 揚げないとんかつ

    When the occasional deep-fried foods call out to you, this Baked Tonkatsu recipe makes the best healthier stand-in. No deep-frying required to achieve that crispy, crunchy exterior of the pork cutlet! My recipe shows how you can achieve the perfection, so you can enjoy the dish at home without guilt.

    Simmered Kabocha with Shio Koji in a bowl.

    10 Simmered Kabocha with Shio Koji 南瓜の塩麹煮

    Known as kabocha squash in the US, Japanese pumpkin is filled with beta-carotene, iron, vitamin C and B. It has a moist and chestnut-like fluffy texture. In this simple recipe, kabocha squash is simmered with Japanese seasoning shio koji for a delicious umami flavor.

    Grilled Miso Chicken and salad on the plate.

    11. Grilled Miso Chicken 鶏の味噌漬け焼き

    Give this Grilled Miso Chicken a try when you’re looking for a simple, healthy barbecue recipe! To achieve a juicy tender texture, the key is to pound the chicken breast thinly so they cook faster and evenly. Enjoy it with a Massaged Kale Salad with Mango.

    Soboro Don in bowls.

    12 Soboro Don (Ground Chicken Bowl) 三色そぼろ丼

    With its colorful & tasty presentation, this Soboro Don is one of my children’s favorite rice bowls. Fluffy steamed rice topped with brown chicken, yellow eggs and green veggies, this easy rice bowl makes a well-balance meal for lunch boxes too.


    More Healthy Japanese Recipes?

    Check out this link and browse more recipes!

    I hope you enjoy making these healthy Japanese recipes! If you make one of these recipes, snap a picture and hashtag it #JustOneCookbook. I love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter! Thank you so much for reading and till next time!

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