Recipe: Sauteed Root Vegetables Japanese Style

October 14, 2022


Do you like root vegetables?

As it gets colder, I long for root vegetables.  And we Japanese love root vegetables, including things like gobo (burdock) which many Westerners considers as “tree roots”.  When it’s cooked properly, it tastes great packed with earthy flavor, and mildly laxative, so excellent for your plumbing issues. : )

One of the most typical root vegetable dish in Japan is Nimono, literally means “braised dish”.  The veggies that are commonly used for this are: burdock (gobo), lotus roots (renkon), carrots (something red), green beans or snow peas (something green), dried mushrooms, and yam jelly cake called “konnyaku”. Sometime it has chicken in it.  After sauteing them briefly in salad oil, everything is simmered in soy and sugar based dashi for long time until everything turn brown.  Personally I thought it tasted somewhat old-fashioned, and didn’t like it much as a child, so rarely made it.

This update version I learned from a friend of mine from highschool who’s a renowned chef and Olive Oil Sommelier in Japan cooks much faster, and the flavor of each vegetables shines through.  It’s lightly seasoned, so you can transform this into other dishes easily as well.  Since konnayku is hard to get for most people, I skipped it. Also I happened have white radishes (not the Japanese kokabu, but western kind) that I wanted to use up, so I decided to add it instead of daikon.  The result was easy to make, super healthy, flavorful dish!  You will love it.

Sauteed Root Vegetables Japanese Style


  • Small white radishes - 8
  • Carrot, medium - 1
  • Lotus root, small - 1
  • Green beans, 1/2 cup
  • Shiitake mushrooms, medium, 4 -5
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 2-3 TBS
  • Soy Sauce, 1 TBS
  • Mirin (Sweet Rice Wine), 1 TBS
  • Sake, 1 TBS
  • Salt and pepper - to taste


  1. Boil water in a medium pot and lightly salt it.  Peel carrots and lotus roots.  Cut all veggies into bit-size pieces, then parboil each vegetables except shiitake.
  2. In a hot skillet, heat EVOO and saute all the parboiled vegetables and shiitake, and add soy sauce, mirin, sake.  Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.  Add extra EVOO and mix gently at the end if desired.

You can double or triple the recipe because the leftover will be great chopped up, and transformed into soups, mixed rice dish, etc. later in the week.  Or add mayo and cooked shredded chicken to make healthy salad or sandwich fillings, or saute it with ground meat, season with miso etc. and top on tofu, or rice…. Or drizzle some ponzu and bake it until golden brown, serve with shaved bonito flakes or even Parmesan cheese on top…  Yum!

As you can see this is a super easy way to increase vegetable intake in your daily diet.  A plant-based dish like this is the reason why the Japanese dishes are considered so healthy, and their obesity rate is so low compared with many developed countries (3% vs 13~34% of other countries including the US among the highest).  Plus this updated version has about 1/3 of sodium and 1/8 of sugar of the traditional version — you should definitely try it.

So what’s your favorite root vegetable dish?

Related posts:

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: