20 Exquisite Paleo Japanese-Inspired Recipes
Japanese food is one of my favorite cuisines.
I’ve traveled through Japan on many occasions, and the food I eat there is always some of the best in the world!
From sushi to tonkatsu to goyza to shabu shabu and the melt-in-your mouth wagyu beef, Japan is a country that has seriously perfected their cuisine.
So it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t share with you my love for Japanese food…Paleo-style of course!
That’s why we have put together this list of Paleo Japanese-inspired recipes.
Perhaps start your meal with some Paleo gyoza or a sashimi salad. Then move on to some Paleo sushi and end your meal with a cup of Paleo matcha green tea latte and some matcha ice cream.
You can browse through all these Paleo Japanese-inspired recipes or download the entire list by clicking on the green button below.
Table Of Contents For Paleo Japanese-Inspired Recipes
- Paleo Japanese ingredients
- Paleo Japanese-Inspired Meat Recipes
- Paleo Japanese-Inspired Chicken and Turkey Dishes
- Paleo Japanese-Inspired Fish Dishes
- Paleo Japanese-Inspired Sushi Dishes
- Other Paleo Japanese-Inspired Dishes and Drinks
Paleo Japanese ingredients
While many traditional Japanese ingredients are remarkable Paleo, modern versions often contain non-Paleo ingredients like wheat, cornstarch, sugar, or MSG. So be careful when you purchase pre-made sauces and spice mixes. Here are some of the ingredients used in Japanese (and other Asian) cuisines that you should know about:
- Soy Sauce. This is a common ingredient used throughout Asian cuisines. Traditionally, soy sauce was made just by fermenting soy beans, which got rid of many of the problematic issues with soy. But nowadays, most brands you buy will contain wheat and gluten. So, make sure to use gluten-free tamari soy sauce instead or coconut aminos if you want to stay completely soy-free. You can read more about why most soy sauces aren’t Paleo here.
- Wasabi Paste – if you enjoy sushi, then you’ll probably tried that green paste that often comes with sushi. This wasabi paste is traditionally made just from the pure wasabi root. However, given the expense of using the real root, most wasabi paste you buy will contain horseradish, green food coloring, and cornstarch instead.
You can sometimes buy pure wasabi powder and very occasionally find the real root (I found this in a supermarket in Japan and grated my own wasabi for dinner).
- Sesame Oil. This is another common ingredient used in many Asian dishes. It provides an amazingly fragrant flavor to various dishes from stir-fries to cold salads. While not the most Paleo of foods, if you get cold pressed sesame oil, it’s not that bad in small amounts (which is how it’s used in most Asian dishes). Check out our article about sesame oil here. If you can’t find sesame oil, then olive oil will do the trick in most dishes (although of course the flavor will be very different).
- Mirin. Mirin is a Japanese sweet rice wine that’s often added to dishes to add a slightly acidic flavor profile. You can easily use white wine vinegar instead of mirin if it’s hard to find.
- Rice Vinegar. This is often the vinegar of choice in most Asian cooking. But if you don’t have rice vinegar available, white wine vinegar or even apple cider vinegar can be used instead.
- White Rice. White rice is a staple of many Asian cultures. But since rice is a grain (even though it’s gluten-free), it’s not considered Paleo. Some folks who don’t have autoimmune conditions or blood sugar or weight issues are able to eat some white rice without problems. That’s why white rice is often considered a “safe starch.” To replace white rice, use cauliflower rice instead. This creates a very similar texture and look, and if seasoned well can sometimes be mistaken for the real thing! Here’s a recipe to make white cauliflower rice.
- Seaweed. Many sea vegetables are highly nutritious, and seaweed is one of them. In Japanese cuisine, you’ll often find the type of seaweed called nori used in sushi. However, you can also find a variety of other types of seaweed. As always, check the ingredients of any seaweed you buy as some roasted packs may contain MSG and/or sugar.
Paleo Japanese-Inspired Meat Recipes
Bacon and mushrooms go hand in hand in many different recipes and this one is no different. These parcels are meaty and delicious and the mushrooms have quite a mild flavor. Enoki mushrooms are readily available in many supermarkets or Asian stores and are well worth the effort! One tip – cook the parcels slightly longer if you prefer thick-cut bacon to make sure they are cooked through.
– I Breathe I’m Hungry
Ingredients: scallions, beef, coconut oil, gluten free soy sauce (tamari), rice wine vinegar (unsweetened), fish sauce, sesame oil, sriracha, ginger, garlic, granulated sugar substitute (coconut sugar), tamarind concentrate (optional).
Japanese cuisine is inspired by the combination of sweet, savoury and salty and this dish is a great example. These rolls are delicious and have a bit of heat from the sriracha, and look so impressive that they would make a great dish for a dinner party. They are marinated which enables the meat to take on all the amazing flavors and look even more appealing if you tie them with scallions.
– Eat Drink Paleo
Ingredients: tamari, mirin, rice vinegar (white vinegar or apple cider vinegar can also be used), togarashi powder, ground pork/pork mince, ginger, ground ginger, garlic, tapioca starch, sea salt, white pepper, green cabbage, green onion, coconut oil.
These little dumpling-inspired bites give you a perfect Asian appetizer. They are plump and full of flavor, thanks to the spices, and they have a subtle warmth from the ginger. Pork goes so well with sweet ingredients, so the mirin wine really works in this recipe. You could easily turn this into a main course by doubling up the portion size and serving these with a homemade Asian slaw.
Paleo Japanese-Inspired Chicken and Turkey Dishes
– Fed and Fit
Ingredients: coconut aminos, potato starch, honey, garlic, chicken, broccoli, cauliflower rice, sesame seeds, cilantro.
Making your own teriyaki sauce may sound too complex, but try this recipe and you will have an ideal go-to Asian sauce for dipping, stir-frying or brightening up your chicken and vegetables, and you can rest easy that there is no msg in there! This is a quick recipe, perfect for a fast and filling mid-week meal that you can prepare in just a few minutes.
– Cooking in Sens
Ingredients: turkey thighs, onion, garlic cloves, ginger, sesame oil, birds’ tongue chillies, sake, water, sesame oil, soy sauce, turnips, olive oil, bay leaves, white wine vinegar, salt, pepper.
Turkey thighs are a cheaper meat which makes them great for feeding a hungry family! The barbecue sauce is easy to make, and marinating the thighs can be quite simple too – just pour the marinade into a zip-lock bag and add the meat, shake it about to cover the thighs and leave for a few hours in the fridge! Try to use sweet turnips in this recipe as they go well with the spicy sauce.
This recipe is so simple to follow and gives a soup that is warming and packed with flavor! The soup would be great on a chilly day or if you are feeling a bit run-down as it has been proven that chicken soup makes a great pick-you-up. You can use any type of mushroom – enoki would be good here – so this dish is a great way of using up whatever mushrooms you have.
Paleo Japanese-Inspired Fish Dishes
We should all be eating more fish, especially fish like salmon which is so healthy and so tasty! This salad is full of texture too, with the sweet and soft mango and the fresh kale leaves. It would make a lovely summer lunch to either enjoy at home, or put it in a sealed container to have at work. The balsamic vinegar actually sets off the sweetness of the honey, so try to buy the best grade you can afford.
The tataki style of preparation can be used with most fish and some meats, but salmon lends itself so well to this. You end up with thinly sliced fish that has been seared and marinated, giving a real boost to the flavor. Dill has been used to accompany fish for hundreds of years and when you try this sauce you will understand why. The slightly aniseed flavor really lifts the taste of the salmon.
– Eat Drink Paleo
Ingredients: canned salmon, fresh ginger, garlic clove, lemon zest, lemon juice, red onion, hot sauce, Tamari sauce or coconut aminos, sesame oil, egg, almond meal, miso paste, honey, sesame seeds, red onion, Brussels sprouts, carrot, red or yellow pepper, fish sauce, salt.
These glazed salmon balls are a fantastic way to use canned salmon. They have a zingy lemon freshness, but with the heat from the sriracha and hot sauce. With the glaze and the addition of the sprinkle of sesame seeds, these little bites are great for a buffet lunch or a main with vegetables, but they are also a fantastic idea to serve as finger food at a party.
– Primally Inspired
Ingredients: salmon, sesame seeds, green onion, avocado, fresh greens, garlic, ginger, olive oil, sesame oil, coconut aminos, apple cider vinegar, honey (optional), mayonnaise, garlic, red hot chili pepper, lime juice, sea salt.
Baked salmon steaks always look so impressive and can be served with loads of different things – salad, noodles or you could try thinly-sliced and spiced cucumber, giving a fresh side to the meaty fish. The spiced mayo is a great side for this meal, but would also go well served with burgers or steak. Remember that you can adjust the heat to suit your palate!
– Eat Drink Paleo
Ingredients: salmon fillets, red onion, olive oil, orange zest, sea salt, coconut aminos or tamari sauce, fish sauce, orange juice, lemon or lime juice, honey, ginger, garlic, chilli flakes/powder (optional), sesame seeds (optional), coconut oil, Napa cabbage/ Chinese white cabbage, carrot, snow peas, pepper, sesame oil.
Salmon can be a bit fatty in taste, but the orange zest really cuts through this and adds a real freshness to the dish. The sauce serves with this salmon dish is zesty and has plenty of heat, although this can be left out if you are not keen on chilli heat. You can use the recipe for the stir-fry vegetables as it is, or substitute whatever favorites you have. This recipe can also be made using pan-fried chicken instead for a different slant on this wonderful Japanese dish.
– The Domestic Man
Ingredients: tamari or coconut aminos, rice vinegar, water, cayenne pepper, sesame seeds, yellow fin tuna steaks, furikake, coconut oil.
Furikake is a Japanese seasoning that contains seaweed which is a great source of nutrients, and it goes really well with fish. The dipping sauce is a traditional blend of sweet and salty with a hint of sourness from the vinegar, which gives this dish a true oriental flavor. This recipe uses tuna but salmon could also be used and if you enjoy the furikake seasoning, why not try it as a seasoning for rice.
– Paleo Newbie
Ingredients: salmon, coconut aminos, raw honey, oranges, rice vinegar, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, red pepper flakes.
As with a lot of recipes that call for marinating fish, the length of time you marinade can be up to you, but the fish (or meat) will take on the flavors much better if you can leave them over night, or at least for a few hours. In this recipe you cook the skin side first then remove the skin, which can be done quite easily with a palette knife, or just leave it on if you like crispy fish skin.
Paleo Japanese-Inspired Sushi Dishes
– Allergy Free Alaska
Ingredients: cooked turkey or chicken breast, carrot sticks, cucumber, avocado, goat cheese (optional), sushi nori.
Believe it or not a lot of kids love sushi! It is fun and easy to eat and can be a great way to encourage them to eat more veggies. It can also be a good idea to get them involved in making their own sushi to impress friends. This sushi uses cooked meat and the vegetables can be changed out to include your kid’s favorites. We recommend you slice the sushi quite thin for younger kids because the nori can be a bit chewy.
– Eat Drink Paleo
Ingredients: ghee or coconut oil, salmon steak or fillet, sea salt, pepper, red onion, continental cucumbers (also known as Telegraph), avocado, coconut aminos, wasabi.
Many people are put off sushi because they think all the fish is raw. Wrong! Sushi can be made with cooked meats or fish too! Using the cucumber rings instead of nori means that this sushi is much easier to eat and adds moisture to each bite. These are full of textures too, with the meaty salmon, the smooth avocado and the crunch of the sweet red onion, and are a great idea for party food.
Once you get into the habit of rolling sushi, it gives you the perfect platform to use all kinds of ingredients to change it up, although salmon and cucumber are fantastic together! When you cut into the sushi, you reveal a rainbow of colours, and the flavor is made even better if you serve it with a dipping sauce. If sushi becomes a favorite, it might be worth investing in a proper rolling mat, as it makes the sushi so much easier to make.
Other Paleo Japanese-Inspired Dishes and Drinks
Seaweed may seem an unusual ingredient to use, but it is actually packed with goodness! It is a good source of iodine and folic acid which are helpful during pregnancy, and is available either fresh or dried. Cutting the seaweed into strips makes this salad easy to eat and the cider vinegar adds a real boost to the flavors. If you don’t want to add the chilies then that’s fine, but they add colour and heat to brighten the dish.
– Naked Avocado
Ingredients: eggs, apple cider vinegar, agave nectar, olive oil, raw cashews, wasabi paste, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, sea salt, pepper, sesame seeds.
Devilled eggs have long been a popular dish to serve at celebrations or parties! Normally they involve using mayonnaise, but for this recipe you make your own substitute which tastes amazing! Wasabi gives the eggs a bit of a kick and also has anti-inflammatory properties, so can be helpful with gut issues. If you are not too keen on sesame seeds, try using a sprinkle of paprika instead!
– Paleo Flourish
Ingredients: matcha powder, greens powder (optional), coconut yogurt (or regular Greek yogurt if you’re ok with dairy), chia seeds, goji berries, coconut flakes, cacao nibs, stevia to taste (optional).
This dish is a wonderful mixture of colors and flavors, with the added benefit of the smooth yoghurt base to set it all off. The seeds and berries give a lovely range of textures and are super-foods, so are packed with health-boosting anti-oxidants and can even improve your concentration. Serve this for a nourishing breakfast or a lunch option.
The color of the matcha makes this latte look fresh and delicious, and adding the coconut cream gives the latte a frothy, creamy texture. If you are already a green tea fan you might find that this drink does not need any sweetener added. However, you can use raw honey or other types of sweetener if you prefer.
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