Vegan Mentaiko recipe– perfect for onigiri, sushi and eating with fresh rice!

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Vegan Mentaiko (Spicy Cod Roe)

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4.8 from 6 reviews


Vegan Mentaiko recipe– perfect for onigiri, sushi and eating with fresh rice!


Units Scale
  • 1/2 cup amaranth (90g)
  • 1 umeboshi Japanese pickled plum (10g)
  • 1 tsp doubanjiang (5g)
  • 1 tsp sake (5ml)
  • 1/2 tsp soy sauce (3ml)
  • 1/2 tsp miso paste (3g)
  • 1 cup + 1/3 cup water (320ml)
  • 1 pack dashi granules (5g)
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  1. Rinse amaranth and then add it to a small pot. Over medium heat, heat the amarath with the sake. Cook until the alcohol cooks off. Add the umeboshi, water and dashi granules and stir to dissolve. Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce the heat down to low. Simmer covered for 20-25 minutes or until cooked. 
  2. When cooked, season with everything else. Transfer to air tight container. Allow it to cool and then use as is or store in the refrigerator covered for up to 5 days. 


  • Nutritional Information Disclaimer: Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated on an online tool (Cronometer). 


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About Lisa

I'm Lisa, a home cook, recipe developer and founder of Okonomi Kitchen. Here, you'll find a mix of classic and modernized Japanese recipes, and creative, plant-forward meal inspiration using seasonal ingredients. I hope to share more about Japanese cuisine and culture through food and recipes.

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  1. Really want to make this but can I replace doubanjiang? By Korean donjang for instance? I have too many sauces lol. Thanks!

  2. I’ve only had mentaiko once or twice before I became vegetarian. I absolutely loved this recipe because for one, it tastes so umami and delicious! And two, i adore the amaranth texture. You can make it as spicy as you like and it’s delicious with rice as well as the mentaiko creamy udon. Totally recommend trying this one out. The only thing i wasnt sure about was the fact that my recipe came out quite liquid even after cooking the amaranth for 25 minutes. Not a bad thing, since i used the liquid as seasoning but i thought i did something wrong 😅 super tasty!

  3. I ate quinoa all the time but this recipe is something else. I didn’t expected the result, I was so surprised that it taste like fish egg. I only missed the dashi, because I don’t have it and it’s expensive here, but I’m already super happy with the result.

  4. Hi Lisa! Is it possible to use kombu dashi broth instead of granules? I have kombu at home, but not the granules.
    I am also wondering how long with the onigiri keep in the fridge? I plan on meal prepping these for lunch.
    Thank you! Love your work 🙂

  5. Hi Lisa! Thanks for sharing your precious recipe. Since I’m vegan I want to learn new recipe and you motivate me a lot. I was wondering if you have a blog written in Japanese because too because for me is more easier to understand. Thanks

    1. Quick q~ how do you prevent the skin from the ume from interfering with the texture of the amaranth? Or is it easier to use neri ume?

      Excited to try this out!

  6. Hi Lisa! I was wondering if instead of amaranth, would it be possible to substitute quinoa for it?
    I love your content and am very excited to try this recipe out! 🙂

  7. Karashi mentaiko was my all time favorite musubi to get from a place called Iyasume back home. And this recipe right here fulfills all my karashi mentaiko dreams. Thank you ❤️

    I do have to mention for those of you making it, to cover the amaranth while simmering. I didn’t realize it was supposed to be covered until I went back and rewatched the reel. 😅