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How to cook "with visual instructions" "using familiar ingredients from your local grocery stores" healthy, traditional and delicious Japanese dishes!!


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Spinach and Walnut Salad with Lemon Zest (Vegan/Vegetarian/Gluten-free)

Are you looking for easy, healthy yet delicious recipes? Well, this dish is for you! “Spinach and walnut salad” which has very fresh taste from lemon zest.

The recipe is very easy and quick. It takes only 5 to 6 minutes. Moreover, you can store it for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.

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Ingredients (servings 4)

10 oz. fresh baby spinach

1/4 cup walnuts pieces

Grated zest of 1 lemon

1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

  1. Boil the spinach for 10 seconds in boiling water. Drain, rinse the spinach under cold running water and wring it dry by hand.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the spinach, walnuts, lemon zest, olive oil. Season with some salt and pepper and mix well.

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27 Comments

Vegan Quinoa Bowl with Almond Sauce (Vegan/Vegetarian/Gluten-free)

Today I introduce you to “Vegan Quinoa Bowl with Almond Sauce”. 

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Lately, I love using almond butter for making sauces because it reminds me of Asian flavor!! In this recipe, I use lemon juice, onion powder and garlic powder for the sauce to make the recipe simpler. However, when I combine soy sauce, rice vinegar, almond butter and a hint of sesame oil, it becomes a totally Asian dish!! 

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In addition to the sauce, I use a little bit of warm water to adjust the consistency. You can use some olive oil but since almond butter is high in healthy fat, I don’t need to add unnecessary fat. 

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This dish is wonderful because you can translate the dish into a taste that fits your preference. You can use any kind of vegetables for topping. And if you are not following a vegan diet, it is good to add some cooked chicken!! Plus, you can use any kind of spice in the sauce. I like using some curry powder too!!

The recipe is so simple:
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Cook quinoa. Mix the sauce ingredients. Cut vegetables (Cook them if you need. I cooked the tofu and broccoli). Place everything in a serving plate.

*Detailed and visual instructions can be found in the recipe PDF: Vegan Quinoa Bowl with Almond Sauce

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Ingredients (1 serving)
*Click BLUE TEXT to link to the product on Amazon*

¼ cup Quinoa

½ cup Vegetable Broth

(for topping)

¼ pack (about 3 oz.) Firm Tofu

½ cup Broccoli floret

¼ cup Cooked Corn Kernel

½ Red Bell Pepper

½ cup Baby Arugula 

(for sauce)

1 Tbsp. Classic Almond Butter by Justin’s

Juice of ½ Lemon

2~3 Tbsp. Warm Water

Some Salt, Pepper, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder


*Detailed and visual instructions can be found in the recipe PDF: Vegan Quinoa Bowl with Almond Sauce


7 Comments

Simple Tofu and Tomato Salad (Vegan/Vegetarian/Gluten-free)

Today I introduce you to “Tofu and Tomato Salad”. This dish is super easy but so delicious and a very nutritious salad!!

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In this recipe I roasted sliced tomato and tofu in the oven, but roasting is totally optional. You can make this salad without roasting! You might want to drain the tofu with paper towels and weights. See how to drain tofu here.   Sesame Tofu Recipe

The reason I cook the tomato is because the nutrition from the tomato increases when it is cooked, and more importantly I like soft and sweet tomato! If you don’t like tofu aroma very much, I highly recommend cooking the tofu and eating with lemon juice, which I use for the dressing in this recipe. 

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Here is a little tip to store tomatoes. For good keeping, wrap a tomato individually with plastic wrap and store in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator. It will  keep longer then when it is stored in the refrigerator on its own.

The recipe is

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Slice a tomato and tofu. Roast 10 minutes 400 °F. Drizzle with dressing which is a mixture of lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.

Detailed and visual instructions can be found in the recipe PDF: Tofu and Tomato Salad

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Ingredients (1 serving)

¼ pack Firm Tofu

1 Medium Tomato

½ Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Lemon Juice from ½ Small Lemon

Salt and Pepper


Detailed and visual instructions can be found in the recipe PDF: Tofu and Tomato Salad

Here is the recipe video:


10 Comments

Simple Creamy Potato Salad

Today I introduce you to Simple Creamy Potato Salad. The ingredients are potato, turkey ham and cucumber. The seasonings are mayo, salt and pepper. It is an easy and quick recipe. It takes only 20~25 minutes total. Of course you can use any kind of meat and vegetables you want, and also you can add more seasonings, such as onion powder, garlic powder, paprika and so on.

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Some people avoid potato because it is a carbohydrate, and also mayo because it can be high in calories. If you ask me, you can eat anything to be healthier. But portion size is key. For example, don’t eat a big amount of one dish at one meal, don’t eat just big amount of pasta for your lunch, or don’t eat just a bowl of salad for your dinner. Just eat small portions of various kinds of dishes to get many nutritious things in your body. (see also the post You can Eat Anything You Want! But… )

The recipe is

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Boil potato and mash. (If you like smooth potato salad, mash very well. If you like chunky potato salad, leave some chunks of potato.)
Combine all ingredients and seasonings and mix well.

Detailed and visual instructions can be found in the recipe PDF: Simple Creamy Potato Salad

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Ingredients (Servings 2)

1 Large Potato

1 Seedless Baby Cucumber

2 Pieces Turkey Ham

4 Tbsp. Mayonnaise

Pinch of Salt and Pepper

Water for cooking potato


Detailed and visual instructions can be found in the recipe PDF: Simple Creamy Potato Salad


26 Comments

Simple Japanese Egg Salad (Vegetarian/Gluten-free*)

Today I introduce you to “Simple Japanese Egg Salad”. It is a quick and easy recipe but very scrumptious!! (*When you use gluten-free mayonnaise, this becomes a gluten free dish. Japanese mayonnaises mostly contain small amount of gluten as an ingredient “Brewed Vinegar”)

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In Japan, we usually use this for sandwiches. But if you want to add one more dish in your meal, this is best because it is a fuss-free recipe.

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I use fresh eggs and boil them myself. If you have boiled eggs in your refrigerator, you might want to use them. It saves more time.

The recipe is very easy.

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Boil eggs for 12 minutes. Peel in cold water. Crumble the peeled eggs and season with mayonnaise, salt and pepper.

*Detailed and visual instructions can be found in the recipe PDF: Japanese Egg Salad


Ingredients (servings 2)

3 Eggs

4 Tbsp. Mayonnaise

Pinch of Salt and Pepper

Minced Parsley (to taste)

Boiled Water for boiling eggs


Detailed and visual instructions can be found in the recipe PDF: Japanese Egg Salad


9 Comments

Very Flavorful and Yummy! Herb Tofu (Vegan/Gluten-free)

Today I introduce you to “Herb Tofu”. This is a very flavorful, delicious and healthy protein ingredient for your salad!!

The recipe is very easy and the taste is so perfect! No more tasteless tofu!! This is because I season the diced tofu before draining. This means the tofu sponges up all the seasonings while it drains. I tried and tried to cook herb tofu many times to make the taste right. This recipe finally achieves the result I wanted! I used 1 tsp. each of 7 kinds of seasonings: salt, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika powder, dried oregano, dried dill, dried basil. You can use any kind of herbs you want but you shouldn’t change the percentage of salt. When the salt rate is higher or lower than this, it makes the tofu very salty or tasteless. I hope this makes your salad tastier and healthier!!

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Mix seasonings and sprinkle the mixed seasonings on diced tofu. Drain for 15-20 minutes with paper towels. Cook for 8-10 minutes.

Detailed and visual instructions can be found in the recipe PDF: Herb Tofu

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Ingredients (servings 2)

1 pack (14 oz.) Extra Firm Tofu

1 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. Onion Powder

1 tsp. Garlic Powder

1 tsp. Paprika Powder

1 tsp. Dried Oregano

1 tsp. Dried Dill

1 tsp. Dried Basil Leaves


Detailed and visual instructions can be found in the recipe PDF: Herb Tofu


2 Comments

Seaweed Salad (Oil-Free/Vegan/Vegetarian/Gluten-Free)

I will introduce you to “Seaweed and Cucumber Salad” tossed with vinegar and sugar. It is very healthy and delicious! In Japan, we often eat this dish as a side dish because vinegar improves our appetite. And also dishes which include vinegar keep longer. This dish can keep about 5 days in the refrigerator. This is why Sushi rice is seasoned with vinegar. (Basically in Japan about 800 years ago, Sushi was not an expensive food like nowadays. It was a preservative food for common people. The conception was people put pickled fish on cooked rice and fermented it for a day.)



My book Bento for Beginners: 60 Recipes for Easy Bento Box Lunches

is now available on Amazon!!

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You can use some other ingredients for this salad recipe, such as seafood, carrot, Daikon, mushrooms, bean sprouts and so on. But seaweed and cucumber are the most popular ingredients in Japan. Cucumber is high in potassium so it is good for modern humans who tend to eat a high-salt diet. If you want to be healthier, it is good to eat more seaweed because seaweed is high in soluble fiber. Exercising and eating healthy is important to a good diet and the most important thing for improving your digestion and the function of your intestines. So if you want to try to be healthier, at first please think about your digestion. You should eat both insoluble fiber (vegetables, potatoes, mushrooms, beans…) and soluble fiber like seaweed to make your bowels work well. Please add this healthy side dish to your meals!

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{Ingredients (servings 2)}

2 Tbsp. Dried Seaweed

A small Cucumber

1 Tbsp. plus 1 cup Water

2 Tbsp. Rice Vinegar

1 tsp. Yamasa Organic Soy Sauce
(Recommended Gluten-Free Soy Sauce)Soy Sauce REDUCED SODIUM [Gluten Free] (Organic)

1 tsp. Sugar

1 tsp. Cooking Sake

A pinch of Salt

White Roasted Sesame Seeds


Here is my recipe in PDF: Seaweed Salad (Oil-Free)


10 Comments

Yummy Japanese “Potato Salad” (Vegetarian)

“Japanese Potato Salad” is a mix of mashed potato, mayonnaise and fresh vegetables. To make the vegetables tender and easy to eat, I knead well with salt or soak in water. This allows us to keep more nutrition in the vegetables than if we boiled them.

In Japan, potato salad is a very common homemade dish and very popular. There are many recipes which vary slightly depending on family traditions. We eat potato salad as a salad and also sometimes in sandwiches.

You can mash the potatoes however you like. If you like chunky potato, please don’t mash too much. And also you can add more potato, or reduce the mayonnaise, to taste. Enjoy!


{Ingredients (servings 3)}

2 large Potatoes

1 Carrot

1 small Cucumber

1 small Onion

6-7 Tbsp. Mayonnaise

1 Tbsp. Salt

½ tsp. Black Pepper

Water for boiling potatoes


Here is my recipe in PDF (4 MB): Potato Salad


4 Comments

Quick and Delicious! “Tofu Salad with Sesame Dressing” (Vegan/Vegetarian/Gluten-Free)

Sesame dressing is very popular dressing in Japan. It tastes great and is of course extremely healthy.

This is White Roasted Sesame Seeds I used in this recipe.

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Sesame is high in arginine, oleic acid, linoleum acid, sesamin, and it has great quality protein, iron, niacin and vitamin B. Sesame has high antioxidant properties due to vitamin E and linoleum acid. This means sesame may improve our immune system. Another important ingredient in sesame is Lignan. Lignan helps liver function and cholesterol depletion. I highly recommend to have 1 Tbsp. of sesame per a day. Of course, having it in this salad dressing is a delicious way to eat sesame.

In this recipe I will also introduce you to Tofu Salad, which goes great with sesame dressing. It is quick, delicious and very nutritious! When you want to add more protein, vitamins and minerals to your meal, please try this easy quick delicious salad!!


{Ingredients (servings 2)}
*Click BLUE TEXT to link to the product on Amazon*

2 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
(Recommended Gluten-Free Soy Sauce)Soy Sauce REDUCED SODIUM [Gluten Free] (Organic)

2 Tbsp. Rice Vinegar

1 Tbsp. Pure Sesame Oil

1 Tbsp. White Roasted Sesame Seeds

12 pieces Grape Tomatoes

½ cucumber

3.5 oz. (¼ pack) Firm Tofu


Here is my recipe in PDF (3 MB): Tofu Salad with Sesame Dressing


7 Comments

Japanese Yam Salad (Vegan/Vegetarian/Gluten-Free)

Have you ever had Japanese yam?

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It is a kind of potato that grows straight into the ground so it has a long shape. (It sometimes grows to more than 3 feet).

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In Japan, people have eaten the yam for about 3000 years. Therefore, the yam is very important to the Japanese diet.

We can eat this yam raw because it has a gelatinized starch and some of the nutrition in this type of yam are breaks under heat. The Japanese yam is rich in diastase, a digestive enzyme which helps our digestion and absorption of nutrition into the body. Also the yam is high in vitamin B1, vitamin C, calcium, potassium and mucin.

Mucin is soluble fiber and helps keep water in our cells. Therefore, it protects our mucous membranesin the stomach, and protects our body from some viruses. Some studies say the yam also prevents dry eyes because mucin is an ingredient in tears. Mucin gives the yam a great smooth, sticky texture, especially when it is grated. This is great for our body. It heals our tiredness and helps our digestion, so the yam is great for your diet when you are recovering from being sick, when you have no appetite, and so on.

(The yam has Calcium oxalate, so it can sometimes make you feel itchy on your hands or around your lips when you touch it, but you feel better as soon as you wash the itchy part with acid water (a mixture of vinegar and water). In rare case some people are allergic to the yam, so if it gives you a weird feeling inside your mouth, you have to stop eating it and call a doctor.)

Today, I introduce you to Japanese yam salad. It is very simple and easy. I always use pickled plum sauce because it is extremely healthy and is a fermented food. But you can use any dressing you want, because the yam doesn’t have strong flavor so it won’t change the taste of your favorite dressing taste!

Enjoy your new nutritious salad!!!


{Ingredients (servings 2)}

4-inch length Japanese Yam

½ Cucumber

1 Pickled Plum

1 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
(Recommended Gluten-Free Soy Sauce)Soy Sauce REDUCED SODIUM [Gluten Free] (Organic)

2 Tbsp. Rice Vinegar (total)

2 cups Water


Here is my recipe in PDF (4 MB): Japanese Yam Salad