Have you ever hosted a sushi night? If you have, then you know that it can quickly become a very expensive spread. Even if you only make or buy sushi-for-one. The best way to cut back on hours and hours of making sushi, and a way to save you some money, is to serve the sushi with some delicious accompaniments. But, figuring out what to serve with sushi can be a challenge.
Although sushi isn’t always served with many side dishes, there are actually tons of very popular options. Some of them are actually dishes that can stand on their own, and some are ingredients that go exceptionally well with sushi.
There are no set rules when it comes to pairing side dishes with sushi. At the end of the day, it is all up to you and your personal preference.
You can easily adjust any side dish or accompaniment to compliment the flavors of your sushi. For example, if you are serving sushi that contains mango, you can add fresh mango to a salad. If you are making sushi with cucumber, you can serve it with pickled cucumber.
The rules are generally to pair foods with similar tasting foods, or to pair foods with opposite flavors (pair salty foods with sweet foods, etc.).
However, if you still have no idea where to start when choosing side dishes, below is a list of some of my favorite ingredients, side dishes, accompaniments, beverages and desserts that goes great with sushi.
14 Sushi Side Dishes
If you were stuck beforehand knowing what goes well with sushi, then after reading these options you’ll be spoilt for choice. We’ve listed 14 different sides for sushi that you can’t go wrong with.
1. Miso Soup
This is my number one go-to side dish when I am having sushi. Miso soup is a traditional Japanese soup made from dashi stock (a type of fish stock) and miso paste (a fermented soybean paste).
All the savory umami flavors of this soup will perfectly accompany any milder tasting sushi pieces and could even be an alternative dipping sauce to the traditional soy sauce.
2. Suimono soup
This is another very popular Japanese clear soup. It is very similar to miso soup, being different when it comes to the ingredients used. This soup uses primarily meats and vegetables to produce a broth.
This soup can be served in the same way Miso soup could; as a side dish for sushi or as an alternative condiment.
3. Tsukemono (Japanese pickles)
Pickled ginger is one of the most popular accompaniments served with sushi. Pickled ingredients have a sweet-acidic flavor profile which beautifully complements virtually any seafood dish.
However, you don’t only have to serve pickled ginger. Make pickled Takuan (daikon), Umeboshi (sour plums), Shibazuke (mix of cucumbers and eggplants) and Kyurizuke (Japanese cucumbers).
This is a traditional and very popular Japanese Green salad. It is made from vegetables (mostly leafy greens) that are steeped in dashi (a type of stock).
The dashi gives this dish a very umami taste that is still subtle enough to remain neutral. It is the perfect side dish for sushi with stronger flavor queues.
Tempura is such a classic side dish for sushi. Tempura is a classification for foods that have been deep-fried in a crispy and fluffy batter (not a panko breadcrumb batter). These foods are usually shrimp or a variety of vegetables.
This is a delicious accompaniment that has tons of texture and can accompany virtually any sushi dish.
6. Wakame salad
A Wakame salad consists of seaweed, fresh cucumber and a salty-sweet sesame dressing. You could also add non-traditional ingredients to compliment the flavors that can be found in the sushi.
This salad, like any type of salad, is a simple, yet effective and light side dish that all your guests will enjoy.
Eggplant is a very sweet and smoky vegetable that is very often used in Japanese cuisine. You can try to incorporate it into your sushi or side dish, especially salads.
Eggplant is also a great vegetable to pickle (for Tsukemono).
Edamame pods are immature soybeans in a pod. They can be served fresh or cooked, with slightly sweet and juicy flavors being most present.
Try to incorporate these beans in other side dishes, however, they can also be served as a snack or a palate cleanser.
9. Green tea
Green tea is an amazing and versatile Japanese drink that can be served either hot, iced or at room temperature. This is a very flavorful drink that will perfectly complement the sushi and other accompaniments.
You can also use the green tea in other dishes, or even create your own. Make a refreshing green tea ice cream or individual bite-sized green tea pound cakes.
A dessert option would definitely have to be Dango. Dango is a sweet Japanese dumpling made from mochiko. There are many, many different flavors so you can easily coordinate them with your sushi flavors.
This is also a popular dish to be served with green tea.
Think of these as potstickers as that is essentially what they are. Gyoza (or Jiaozi) are half-moon dumplings that are filled (with usually vegetable fillings) and boiled, pan-fried or deep-fried.
Like sushi, they are also served with condiments such as soy sauce or other sweet, sour and salty sauces.
They are incredibly delicious and have amazing textures. You can coordinate the flavors with those from your sushi.
12. Kani Salad
For any side dish or accompaniment, you can never go wrong with a salad. A Kani salad is especially fitting as it mainly contains imitation crab, lettuce, cucumber, carrots and a Japanese mayonnaise.
This salad contains very Japanese flavors that are very often found in the majority of sushi items and will therefore easily be compatible and delicious.
You can even add other ingredients that are in your sushi, like mango!
Tamagoyaki is a type of Japanese omelet that is cooked with multiple layers of egg. Imagine a sheet of egg that has been rolled up.
Like most egg dishes, Tamagoyaki has a very neutral-flavored side dish that won’t overpower the sushi at all.
Yes, you read that right, beer. Beer has always been a very popular beverage in Western culture, but it has become more and more popular as a beverage for other cuisines as well.
Try a Japanese beer that will complement the flavors of your sushi and other accompaniments. There are many beer tasting and pairing guides online that will help you choose the perfect beer for the perfect spread.
As you can see, there are tons of items that can be served with sushi. Try to experiment with flavors and push the boundaries to find new and unique flavor combinations.