Vegan okonomiyaki topped with mayonnaise, bbq sauce, green onions and seaweed

Have you tried okonomiyaki? If not, you’re in for a treat. This tasty dish is a favorite in Japan (it’s home country). We can see why – it’s easy, flexible and makes a satisfying meal! We’ve adapted our okonomiyaki recipe to be vegan and gluten-free, so you’ll be able to please everyone!

What is Okonomiyaki?

Okonomiyaki is a delicious pan-fried dish from Japan. Elsewhere, people often describe it as a “savory pancake.” Of course, it isn’t much like a pancake. For example, the main ingredients are cabbage and a flour-based batter. Its also much thicker than even the fluffiest a pancake, and isn’t sweet. Additionally, you won’t be served maple syrup on the side. Instead, you get Okonomiyaki with a special sauce, mayonnaise, and a pile of other add-ons. That said, we’ll stick with “pancake” for now to keep things simple!

Okonomiyaki evolved from a crepe-like recipe called “Funoyaki” that was around in Japan’s Edo period (150 – 300 years ago). However, chefs invented its modern form in the 1930s. Its popularity then grew during World War II as people looked for things to eat during rice shortages. Cabbage and wheat flour were easier to come by, and okonomiyaki was a tasty way to eat them.

There are actually two main types of okonomiyaki.

  • Osaka-style is the inspiration for our recipe. The Osaka style mixes the batter, cabbage, and other vegetables together before cooking the “pancake”. After it cooks, slather the pancake in sauce and various toppings and you’re ready to go!
  • Hiroshima style: cooks everything separately and piles it up in layers. First comes a crepe-like pancake, then cabbage, and finally a layer of noodles. The sauce and toppings go on when the layers are complete.

Okonomiyaki our Way: Vegan + Gluten-Free

Bowl of ingredients to make  vegan okonomiyaki pancakes. Cabbage, carrots, green onions, ginger, sesame seeds and flax seeds.

As you’ve probably guessed, this dish is super-customizable. In fact, okonomiyaki translates roughly to “whatever you want (okonomi), grilled (yaki). With this in mind, we made our okonomiyaki recipe both vegan and gluten-free!

Adapting the recipe was straightforward. We made the batter with gluten-free all-purpose flour and added ground flax for binding power. We also had fun with the colors, adding carrots and using purple cabbage. However, the color of the cabbage isn’t critical. Regular green cabbage is also excellent and tastes the same!

Bowl of vegan okonomiyaki ingredients mixed together ready to cook.

Condiments to the Chef!

For the sauce, we opted for convenience and used our favorite vegan BBQ variety. Alternatively, you can try this simple vegan okonomiyaki sauce recipe. In terms of mayonnaise – well, that was easy. We just whipped up a batch of our very own Plant Riot vegan mayo. Just add these condiments on top of your pancake and finish up with lashings of fresh green onion!

Save some for Later

Can you freeze okonomiyaki? Definitely – just put it in a sealed container or reusable bag and then store in the freezer for up to a month. When you’re ready to eat, warm it in the microwave until thawed, but still cool. Then, finish it off in a skillet for maximum flavor!

That’s our vegan take on okonomiyaki, one of our favorite Japanese foods. We hope you try it, and if you do please leave a comment and a rating. Every bit of feedback helps make The Plant Riot even better!

Looking for more food inspired by Japanese cuisine? We’ve got you covered – check out our recipes for Vegan Ramen and Spicy Edamame!

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Vegan Okonomiyaki Recipe | Japanese Savory Pancake

Vegan okonomiyaki topped with mayonnaise, bbq sauce, green onions and seaweed

Check out our delicious Okonomiyaki recipe – easy, vegan + gluten-free! You’ll love this savory delight hot off the grill, or stored for easy meal prep.

  • Author: Rachel Steenland | The Plant Riot
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 to 16 minutes
  • Total Time: 27 to 31 minutes
  • Yield: 2 large or 4 small Okonomiyaki 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 10 ounces / 285 grams shredded cabbage (either green or red cabbage works well)
  • 4 ounces / 140 grams shredded carrots
  • 3 green onions, finely sliced
  • 2 tablespoons milled flax seeds
  • 2 tablespoonsesame seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, minced
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (we use all-purpose gluten-free 1-for-1 flour)
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons white miso paste
  • Avocado oil or olive oil cooking spray

 

Toppings

Instructions

  1. Place cabbage, carrots, green onions, milled flax seeds, sesame seeds, minced garlic and ginger, salt and pepper into a large bowl, mix well to combine.
  2. Add flour, water, and miso paste to a small bowl, whisk well to combine and remove lumps.
  3. Pour batter into cabbage mixture and stir well to combine.
  4. Spray a skillet with cooking oil, then place the skillet over medium heat.]
  5. Once the skillet is hot, add half of the Okonomiyaki batter and flatten out to fill the bottom of the pan.
  6. Cook until golden brown, around 6 to 8 minutes.
  7. Flip and cook the other side until its also golden brown. Keep warm while cooking the other half of the batter.
  8. Garnish the okonomiyaki with your toppings of choice. We like a drizzle of vegan mayonnaise and BBQ sauce, plus green onions, sesame seeds, and vegan Furikake. 

Enjoy!

Notes

  • If needed you can freeze the cooked okonomiyaki in a sealed container or reusable bag and then store frozen for up to a month. When you’re ready to eat, warm it in the microwave until thawed, but still cool. Then, finish it off in a skillet for maximum flavor!
  • Nutritional information is to be used as a guide only as calories and nutrition vary between products and brands worldwide.

Keywords: vegan okonomiyaki, okonomiyaki recipe, gluten-free vegan okonomiyaki, The Plant Riot

Skillet with cooked okonomiyaki