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What to Serve with Sushi: Dozens of Sides, Condiments and Desserts

Ever wonder what to serve with sushi? This Japanese dish made with rice combined with other delicious ingredients can go with so many different foods. First, determine whether to make the meal all Asian or add some Western culture for a more international experience.

platters of a variety of types of sushi

It’s all about personal preference. If you want to have an unforgettable meal and satisfy sushi cravings, consider the tastes and sensibilities of everyone who will be sitting at the table.

For example, if they’ve never tried sushi before, it’s good to offer a couple of side dishes they may be more familiar with. If you’re serving someone who loves sushi, include other complementary foods such as pickled ginger, miso soup, rice vinegar, and fresh wasabi.

Japanese Cuisine

Over the past couple of decades, Japanese cuisine has made its way into American life. In fact, you’ll even find sushi chefs in many grocery stores. They often offer a number of sushi trays. And some will custom make your sushi.

3 trays with a variety of sushi

Whether you’ve decided to go to a Japanese restaurant, pick up a tray of sushi at the grocery store, or make your own, family members and friends will enjoy a variety of sushi rolls.

If your guests aren’t familiar with sushi, they might mistakenly assume that sushi is raw fish. It’s not, although it is often served with small pieces of raw fish called sashimi.

Sushi rice tends to be very sticky due to the way it’s cooked. The stickiness is what keeps it intact so you can get it from your plate to your mouth without it scattering everywhere. 

You can eat sushi several ways—with chopsticks, with your fork, or with your fingers. I’ve found that the best way for me to eat sushi is with my fingers. 

Of course, there are plenty of people who claim there is only one right way. But I say that it’s okay to eat it however you want to. It’s your sushi that’s going into your mouth.

This popular dish can be part of an unforgettable meal for anyone who likes rice and fresh vegetables. My recommendation is to offer a variety of types of sushi along with some other dishes. You can have the California roll as well as the more traditional sushi that Japanese people typically favor.

Sushi Condiments

When serving sushi, place plates and bowls of condiments that people can add to flavor their sushi. Some folks like it sweet, some like it salty, and some like it hot.

Here are some of my favorite condiments to offer when I serve sushi:

  • Sesame seeds
  • Green onion
  • Miso paste
  • Pickled baby ginger
  • Sesame oil
  • Olive oil
  • Traditional soy sauce
  • Teriyaki sauce
  • Chili flakes
  • Chili powder
  • Spicy mayo
  • Cream cheese
  • Fresh wasabi (a fiery relative of horseradish)
  • Horseradish for sushi (usually a green paste that resembles wasabi)
  • Spring onion
  • Seafood (salmon, tuna, crab, shrimp, and even imitation crab meat)

I like either raw or smoked salmon, while others might prefer crab or not seafood at all. That’s why I like to offer a variety of things on the side.

Add any kind of dipping sauce. You like. Mix any of the above condiments or pick up a sweet and sour sauce from the grocery store.

Each bite of sushi should provide a burst of flavor. A variety of different flavors can send everyone’s senses into sushi heaven. The best sushi condiment is the one you like.

Main Dishes and Side Dishes with Sushi

If you’re serving it to your family, you can provide mostly Japanese ingredients and sides. However, if you’re hosting a sushi party, consider serving side dishes so that everyone goes away satisfied.

Here are some of our favorite side dishes to serve at a sushi party:

Japanese Seaweed Salad – This easy salad from Sift and Simmer starts with reconstituted seaweed. Another name for this is wakame salad.

Miso Soup – Made with miso paste and dashi stock, this is an easy soup that is delicious and serves as a palate cleanser for any Japanese meal.

watermelon cucumber salad

Watermelon Cucumber Salad – Although this isn’t considered a Japanese dish, it’s a great option to serve with sushi. Your taste buds will thank you for this.

broccoli slaw in a bowl

Broccoli Slaw – You’ll love the creamy crunchy yumminess of this amazing salad. It’s one of our favorites to go with any meal.

honey roasted sweet potatoes

Honey Roasted Sweet Potato – Offer a bowl of these cubes of deliciousness at your sushi bar. There’s something about the sweet taste that goes so well with Japanese food.

Shrimp Tempura – This delightfully crisp shrimp tempura from All Recipes is delicious. If you have to be gluten free, swap out the all purpose flour for a gluten-free blend.

plate of garlic lemon chicken

Garlic Lemon Chicken Thighs – The lemony garlicky flavor of this chicken is perfect to add to your sushi bar. Yes, it’s a main dish, but there’s nothing wrong with 2 main dishes.

ramen with chicken and vegetables in a bowl

Chicken Ramen with Vegetables – Doctor up a package of ramen noodles to make this easy soup to go with your sushi.

air fried bacon wrapped asparagus on a plate

Bacon Wrapped Asparagus – Add this delightful finger food to your sushi table and watch it disappear!

Plate of deviled eggs

Deviled Eggs – Sushi and deviled eggs? Why not? Deviled eggs go with everything!

beef and broccoli stir fry

Stir Fry Beef and Broccoli – Here’s another Asian inspired dish that satisfies on so many levels!

Appetizers to Serve with Sushi

Add a couple of fresh vegetable platters with dip. And fill in any empty spaces with bowls of olives and pickles. 

More appetizers that are good with sushi:

Guacamole Dip – Anything with avocado is delicious with sushi!

Easy Stuffed Dates – The combination of sweet and salty is the perfect appetizer for any get-together!

Roasted Pecans – Hold off those appetites with a nutty explosion of flavor!

Crispy Ranch Chickpeas – You simply can’t have to much of this crunchy goodness! And it’s loaded with protein!

Delicious Desserts to Serve with Sushi

There are quite a few dessert options that go with sushi. So if you like something, serve it. 

Here are some of our favorites:

pineapple rings

Air Fryer Pineapple Rings – Although this is a simple fruit, you can serve it after a meal. Simply add a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream to the top, and it’s dessert.

lemon bars on a plate and in a pan
Lemon Bars

Lemon Bars – This is currently our favorite dessert or sweet treat! And they only have 3 ingredients, making them easy and economical for any occasion.

peanut butter marshmallow bar on a plate

Peanut Butter Marshmallow Bars – As a self-professed peanut butter junkie, I love these bars for dessert after any meal.

bowl of pineapple dump cake with vanilla ice cream on top
Pineapple Dump Cake

Pineapple Dump Cake – This delicious and super easy cake is always a favorite around here. We like it served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Mmm! So good!

bowls of peanut butter chocolate moose munch

Chocolate Peanut Butter Moose Munch – If you want something that’s easy for people to eat without a plate, this is the dessert for you! However, I do recommend having plenty of napkins when you serve it.

Slice of cherry lime pie with whipped cream and a cherry

Cherry Lime Pie – This no-bake pie is a little bit sweet, a little bit tart, and a whole lot of delicious!

Drinks to Serve with Sushi

While you’re planning the menu, don’t forget about the drinks. You know what your family likes. But when you’re having a sushi party, offer a variety.

Here are some delicious drinks to go with sushi:

  • Green tea
  • Iced Tea
  • Ginger Ale
  • Water
  • Mimosa
  • Pinot blanc or other white wine

If there’s something else that you know your guests will like, add that to the list.

Different Types of Sushi

There are many different types of sushi. In fact, there are so many it would be impossible to have all of them at the table. 

So pick the ones that you like and some that you think the others you’ll be serving will enjoy. Here are some of the different types of sushi dishes:

Nigiri Sushi – Nigiri sushi is a scoop of sticky rice that’s topped with either raw or cooked fish.

Sashimi Sushi – This is actually not truly sushi. It’s basically a slice of cooked or raw fish that you can eat alone or add to your sushi. 

Maki Sushi – Maki sushi is rice with fillings wrapped tightly in seaweed, also called nori, and sliced into rounds.

Uramaki Sushi – Uramaki sushi is the opposite of maki, with the seaweed-wrapped fillings and then rolled in sticky rice. An example of this is a California roll.

Temaki Sushi – Also known as a sushi burrito, temaki sushi is a cone of seaweed filled with rice, fish, and vegetables.

There may be other types of sushi. But these are the most common types that you’re likely to see in sushi restaurants.

Frequently Asked Questions About Sushi

You may still have some questions about sushi, so I wanted to take a few minutes to answer them.

Is sushi gluten-free?

In its purist form, sushi should be gluten free. However, some of the add-ons may contain wheat, barley, or rye. Check the labels of everything, including vinegar and soy sauce.

Are sushi rolls healthy?

Again, it depends on what all you have in your sushi roll. The seaweed is very nutritious, and so are most of the vegetables. The seafood has protein, while the rice is loaded with carbs. You’d have to break down all of the ingredients to determine if your particular sushi is healthy.

Is sushi Japanese or Chinese?

Although there is some indication that sushi originated in China, it is now considered Japanese. The Chinese originally made it with fermented rice, pickled vegetables, and salted fish. The Japanese version began when a chef decided to boil the rice and added other ingredients to make it more delicious for most people.

Should sushi rice be cold?

Ideally, sushi rice should be served at room temperature. However, it is also good cold or somewhat cool.

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