JANMJANM kids Bento Box

Japanese Vegetables

(John, either/or on the first 2)

Daikon radishes

Daikon radishes isolated on white background

Your mother is right. You should eat your vegetables.

Fresh vegetables are used a lot in Japanese cooking. Even today, the Japanese eat only a small amount of beef and pork.

red lotus roots japanese vegetable akarenkonIn addition to vegetables – like carrots and spinach – that you may already know, Japanese cooking includes a number of lesser-known but really tasty vegetables.

Some examples include:

  • Daikon: long white radish.
  • Edamame: green soybeans, often eaten as a snack or appetizer.
  • Gobo: a type of long root that has a crunchy texture.
  • Kabocha: “Japanese pumpkin,” a type of small squash with a dark green skin.
  • Renkon: lotus root, a potato-like vegetable known for its pretty shape when cut.
  • Shiitake: black mushroom.
  • Shiso: leaf from the perilla plant, the “Japanese basil.”
  • Takenoko: bamboo shoots.
  • Wakame: mild, thin, green seaweed, used in soups or salads.

traditional japanese wakame salad with sesame seedsMany of these vegetables can be found in grocery stores selling Asian foods. Or you can try growing them at home in your garden.