Weeknight Meal Ideas: 15 Easy Japanese Recipes (2024)

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Weeknight Meal Ideas: Easy Japanese recipes for a quick, reliable dinner you can make for the family at the end of a long day.

Weeknight Meal Ideas: 15 Easy Japanese Recipes (1)

What do you make on those nights when you’re tired but still just want something nourishing & healthy for the family? If you love a quick dinner like I do on most days, here are some family-friendly Japanese recipes that are tasty yet easy-to-follow.

These recipes are perfect for weeknight meals as they can be prepped in less than 1 hour! They are my go-to rotations, so I hope they will help you plan your meals as well.

15 Easy Japanese Recipes for Weeknight Meals

1. Easy Fried Rice (Gluten-Free) 基本のチャーハン

When comes to a weeknight meal, we can always count on fried rice for a fool-proof dinner. Bursting with flavor, this classic Fried Rice recipe with ham, egg, and green onion is a delicious one-pan meal that you can whip up under 20 minutes.

2.Teriyaki Salmon 鮭の照り焼き

This easy homemadeTeriyaki Salmon is cooked in soy sauce, sake, and mirin. If you buy salmon as a whole fish, you can fillet it the Japanese way. It helps to cook faster and absorb the flavors quickly. Not a seafood fan? Try Chicken Teriyakior Beef Teriyaki.

3. Yaki Udon 焼うどん

Fat, chewy udon noodles stir-fried with vegetables and your choice of protein, this Yaki Udon is a keeper for the noodle lovers.It’s a great meal to use up your leftover too.

4. Easy Wafu Pasta with Shrimp and Asparagus 海老とアスパラの和風パスタ

Pasta is always a good call for a weeknight meal. Seasoned with soy sauce and flavorful dashi broth, this Japanese-style wafu pasta with shrimp and asparagus is a delicious option than the usual tomato-based pasta.

5. Stir Fry Vegetables 野菜炒め

Loaded with plenty of vegetables and your choice of protein, this Stir fry Vegetables (Yasai Itame) makes a well-rounded weeknight meal. Not only everything comes together in less than 30 minutes, but it’s also a great way to use up any leftovers.

6. Omurice (Omelette Rice) オムライス

A really popular Japanese Yoshoku (Japanese fusion) recipe, Omurice is one of my children’s favorite meals. The rice is pan-fried with ketchup and chicken, then wrapped in a thin layer of egg. When there is leftover rice, it’s a perfect single-plate meal to prepare the next day.

7. Salmon in Foil 鮭のホイル焼き

This Salmon in Foil recipe is packed with Omega-3 Fatty Acids from the fish and healthy nutrients from the vegetables. A healthy yet flavorful dinner dish that we all need to power through a busy week. It’s incredibly easy and versatile to make too.

8. Soba Noodle Salad 蕎麦サラダ

Enjoyed chilled or at room temperature, this Soba Noodle Salad makes a healthy choice when you are looking for a quick, light meal.

9. Oyakodon (Chicken and Egg Bowl) 親子丼

Oyakodon is one of the easy dishes I learned at the home-making class in middle school. If you have older children at home, this would be a fun dish to teach them. It’s a classic Donbori dish, where the beaten egg and chicken pieces are simmered in sweet soy dashi sauce and served over white rice.

10. Gyudon (Beef Bowl) 牛丼

Gyudon (Beef Bowl) is comfort food for the Japanese. Simple ingredients such as onion, sliced beef, and eggs, are tossed into a hot frying pan for a quick cook. In 15 minutes, you’d get to serve some delicious rice bowl for dinner.

11.Baked Tonkatsu 揚げないとんかつ

When you feel like you’re stuck in the usual dinner rut,this Baked Tonkatsu (Japanese pork cutlet) will shake things up a little. The best part is you don’t need to deep fry the meat to achieve the crispy crust and tender, juicy texture. You can also tryCrispy Baked Chicken or Crispy Salmonin replace of pork.

12.Mapo Tofu 麻婆豆腐

Craving for some spicy food on the weeknight? This Japanese-version of Mapo Tofu is a lot milder than the Sichuan-style mapo tofu, yet it is flavorful enough that even both adults & children can enjoy it.

13.Honey Soy Sauce Chicken はちみつ醤油チキン

Marinated in sake, soy sauce, and honey, these Honey Soy Sauce Chicken can be prepped the night before. When you’re ready to cook, pop them into the oven while you prepare a simple salad or miso soupto serve along.

14. Ginger Pork (Shogayaki) 豚の生姜焼き

Although you can find Ginger Pork (Shogayaki) at most of the Japanese restaurants in the US, it is a simple dish to make at home. You want to use thinly sliced pork loin or sukiyaki meat to cook. The sweet garlic ginger sauce makes it a delicious savory dish to go with shredded cabbage.

15. Yakisoba Recipe 焼きそば

A classic Japanese stir-fried noodles – Yakisoba. You can literally add any ingredients to make your own version of Yakisoba.


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Weeknight Meal Ideas: 15 Easy Japanese Recipes (2024)


What is a basic Japanese dinner? ›

A typical meal includes rice, a main protein, miso soup, pickled vegetables, and another vegetable side. Try these staples to get started with Japanese cooking: Rice: Plain, steamed rice is a main element in most Japanese meals. For authentic rice, use Japanese short-grain rice.

What 2 foods are served at every meal in Japan? ›

Japanese cuisine is sublime in its intricacy of flavor, its variety of seasonal dishes, and its surprising health benefits. A typical Japanese meal is based on combining staples; rice or noodles are almost always served with soup, pickles and at least one okazu side dish of fish, meat vegetable or tofu.

What is a daily meal in Japan? ›

A typical Japanese dinner includes rice, soup, pickles, salad, and protein and vegetable dishes. Beverages, such as tea, beer, and sake, are served alongside, and the meal may be followed by dessert. The dishes include classic Japanese foods, and other Asian and Western cuisines influence many modern recipes.

What do Japanese eat for lunch at home? ›

The midday meal in Japan often consists of rice or noodle dishes such as ramen, soba and udon bowls. Many people will also take a boxed lunch, known as a bentō, to class or to work with them.

What is Japan's most popular meal? ›

Sushi is the most iconic Japanese dish that most people think of right away when it comes to Japanese food culture. The combination of vinegar-seasoned rice, fresh, raw fish, soy sauce, and vegetables makes for a unique cultural experience that cannot be compared to others.

What are 4 dishes traditionally eaten in Japan? ›

The best traditional Japanese food you must try
  • Sushi. Sushi is one of the most famous traditional Japanese fish dishes. ...
  • Udon. Udon is a traditional Japanese noodle dish and is often served with various toppings. ...
  • Unagi. Unagi is a Japanese delicacy that is made from the freshwater eel. ...
  • Sashimi. ...
  • Tempura. ...
  • Takoyaki. ...
  • Onigiri.
May 12, 2022

What is the healthiest food in Japan? ›

10 Japanese dishes that are loaded with nutrition
  • Miso Soup. ...
  • Edamame. ...
  • Yakitori. ...
  • Tempura. ...
  • Chawanmushi. ...
  • Donburi. ...
  • Gyoza. ...
  • Natto. A nutritional powerhouse, Natto is made from fermented soybeans and is loaded with probiotics, vitamins, and minerals.
Oct 9, 2023

Do they eat salad in Japan? ›

Japan's varied climate with its four distinct seasons allows for a wide range of seasonal vegetables that are used in an extensive variety of appetizing salads and side dishes - here's a selection of some of the most popular.

What are the top 5 foods in Japan? ›

15 Most Popular Foods You Have To Eat In Japan
  • Sushi & Sashimi. Let's start with the food item that most of us associates Japan with: Sushi and Sashimi. ...
  • Ramen. ...
  • Tempura. ...
  • Kare-Raisu (Curry Rice) ...
  • Okonomiyaki. ...
  • Shabu Shabu. ...
  • Miso Soup. ...
  • Yakitori.
Feb 2, 2023

What does a typical Japanese dinner look like? ›

The most traditional Japanese meal is a serving of plain, white rice, along with a main dish (fish or meat), some kind of side dish (often cooked vegetables), soup (either miso soup or clear broth), and pickled vegetables.

What does a typical dinner look like in Japan? ›

Typical dinners at home in Japan will include rice and soup, protein and vegetable based dishes, and probably pickles and salad – a bit like breakfast.

What type of dinner do Japanese have? ›

Also known simply as 'kaiseki', kaiseki ryori are traditional, multi-course Japanese dinners. A full kaiseki can involve a dozen or more different dishes made with fresh, seasonal, and/or local produce, each prepared in very small servings and in such a way as to enhance the produce's natural flavour.

What is a traditional Japanese formal dinner? ›

Kaiseki (懐石) or kaiseki-ryōri (懐石料理) is a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner. The term also refers to the collection of skills and techniques that allow the preparation of such meals and is analogous to Western haute cuisine.

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