Veggie Okonomiyaki

These healthy veggie pancakes are a light, vegetarian version of traditional Japanese okonomiyaki. Make them for your next party or a fun winter dinner!

Jack has been talking about okonomiyaki ever since we got back from Japan (2 years ago this week… time sure flies). I don’t know why it took me so long to take a stab… it turned out to be very easy and pretty darn foolproof. As well it should be, the word okonomiyaki roughly translates to “what you want grilled.”

During our trip, I did my best to avoid this Anthony-Bordain-mystery-meat-style street food until we were in Hiroshima one afternoon (there’s a sentence I never imagined I’d write) and there were no other options.

It was good, I liked it… but it was super greasy. As with all travel-inspired food, I want to make the disclaimer that my version here is probably not at all authentic. (Especially for Hiroshima, whose style of okonomiyaki also has noodles in it).

I made these lighter, smaller, and, remarkably, on the healthy side. Jack made fun of me for how green and pretty they turned out. Traditional okonomiyaki is roughly the size of a human head and is unapologetically stuffed with various meats and seafood. But I promise, this veggie version is hardly a compromise. Salty, sweet, eggy goodness… even Jack, who ate more okonomiyaki in Japan than he’s willing to admit, loved it.

adapted from Food 52 and 101 Cookbooks


5.0 from 2 reviews

Veggie Okonomiyaki

Serves: 2 as a main, 3-4 as a side (2 large or 8 small pancakes)
  • 3 cups cabbage, finely shredded on a mandolin
  • 1 bunch scallions, white and green parts, chopped (a little more than 1 cup)
  • 1 cup panko (up to ¼ cup more if your mixture is overly watery after you add the eggs)
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • A splash of extra-virgin olive oil, for the pan
  • Sea salt and fresh black pepper
  • (optional other fillings: chopped shrimp, meat, etc…)
To serve:
  • Vegan Worcestershire sauce (we found that the ingredients in Annie’s brand are remarkably close to the actual ingredients in okonomiyaki sauce. Regular Worcestershire is less sweet, and the sauce should be slightly sweet.)
  • Sweet mayo: ¼ cup mayo, plus 1 teaspoon honey, plus ¼ teaspoon sriracha*
  • Sesame seeds
  • Bonito flakes (optional – these are not vegetarian)
  1. Mix together the cabbage, scallions, and panko. Add a few pinches of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Gently mix in the eggs. This will be on the watery side, but if it feels much too watery, add ¼ cup more panko. Don’t add much more than that; this should not become a dry dough.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Add a few splashes of olive oil.
  3. Using a quarter-cup measuring cup or similar-sized scooping device, drop the batter into the skillet and flatten gently with a spatula. Turn the heat down to medium and cook the okonomiyakis on each side for 2-3 minutes. If you’re making larger pancakes, cook each side for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Remove from the pan, brush with the Worcestershire sauce, squeeze the sweet mayo on top, and top with the sesame seeds and the bonito flakes, if using.
*Put the sweet mayo in a squirt bottle or a small plastic bag with a tiny corner cut off to squeeze over the okonomiyaki.


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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. I’m so glad you posted a recipe for okonomiyaki! I’ve been looking to make some, but wanted to find a really good recipe. Thanks so much for sharing! I’m going to Japan next year for a few weeks. Looking forward to trying the real thing while there 🙂

  2. Eileen from

    What a great way to eat cabbage! I often throw a bunch of it into savory chickpea pancakes–but I think the egg is a perfect idea. I’ve never made okonomiyaki–I guess I will now!

  3. Wow! Could this be any easier! LOVE this idea. Really reminds me of the food trucks and trailers since this actually would be a fantastic on-the-go food… now that I think of it, even a nice thing to travel with (I am always traveling so I like to keep my eye out for good “plane” food). Plus, I love any recipe that has the option of throwing left-overs into. Definitely having to put this my list!

  4. Laura from

    Wow – they look delicious!! 🙂

  5. Katie from

    These look really good – light and easy and veggie-ful. Great recipe! I’ll have to try this one out pretty soon.

  6. That is too funny… I made okonomiyaki right away after I returned from Japan and then made it just again this week, 3 years later, completely inauthentic in a vegan way! I hope to share it on my blog later this week. 🙂 Your version looks great, too. 🙂

  7. I am always telling myself to experiment more with Asian flavors and recipes and I rarely follow through on it! And, I love cabbage – but so rarely have occasion to use it. So this kind of covers both bases. I wonder, could I use napa cabbage?

    • jeanine

      I would think napa cabbage would work… I might not slice it quite as thin as regular green cabbage since it’s not as thick…

    • Auth from

      Woop woop to you!I found your blog today and cannot stop radieng it. Your writing is very simple and yet beautiful, you are very inspiring so please keep it up! How long have you been vegan for? Has it been since August 08?I went vegan last October and relate a lot to the things that you say. Thankfully, I didn’t become vegan because I was ill. I decided it was time for me to open my eyes to the harsh reality of the animals’ condition, the damage caused to the environment and to my body.Thanks for sharing your experience. Your blog is now listed in my favourites!Alex

  8. Kasey from

    I have been dreaming of taking a trip to Japan for years, partially for the food! I love when people take a traditional dish and make it their own (especially if it is healthier!). Beautiful!

  9. Sarah

    I made this for dinner tonight and loved it! I thought my husband might be a bit skeptical of a cabbage based dinner, but he came into the kitchen while it was cooking (because it smelled so delicious) and kept sneaking bites as they came off the skillet!

    Oh, and I used napa cabbage in place of regular (sliced as thinly as I could using my chef’s knife, since I don’t have a mandoline) and it worked great.

    • jeanine

      I’m so glad! My husband was skeptical too 🙂

  10. Rebecca

    Just made these… I was wondering how they would taste only having cabbage and onion but they were so delicious, and so quick to make! A lovely healthy, tasty weekend meal. Thank you 🙂

    • jeanine

      thanks! They’re one of our favorites too 🙂

  11. Allyn from

    We made these last night as a side and I have a feeling they will be returning as a main dish soon. SO GOOD! Though next time I think we’ll kick up the sriracha a notch.

  12. Canal Cook from

    Love okonomiyaki, these look fantastic

  13. Darren

    I’d love to try your recipe. Just one question…what is “panko”?

  14. vegan girl

    Excellent choice Jeanine, this healthy version of Okonomiyaki looks delicious, over all, because I love cabbage. I am going to send this recipe to my son (he loves cabbage too:)) in Denmark, I hope he could find the ingredients for the New Year party.

  15. Joy D.

    My husband loves this so much he has nicknamed it “okonomiYUMMY”!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      HA – I love that 🙂

  16. Shubha

    I don’t know why I never noticed this recipe before but we made it last night and it’s delicious! BTW, Whole Foods was out of scallions so we used leeks and it came out nicely. Looking forward to trying it with scallions next time!

  17. Dana

    If I fortify the pancake with some flour, would it be possible for me to use boiled cabbage for the okonomiyaki?

  18. Cat

    Is this good to freeze and how long do these keep?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I wouldn’t freeze these – they’re be best freshly made.

  19. Elise

    Oh my, we got a TON of cabbage in our CSA share this past week and I wasn’t sure what to do with all of it …. that was until we made this recipe. The flavors are simply incredible. My hubby & I are big fans!

  20. Keri

    This was my favorite dish in Japan. When I read how simple the recipe was, I didn’t think it could possibly match up. That said, it was amazing!!! My husband can’t stop thanking me for making this. It is so good that he assumes it must be difficult to make. I must pass all of that gratitude in to you. Thank you so much for this recipe!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Keri, I’m so glad you loved it!

  21. E

    Made this recipe for dinner and it was a hit! Went to Japan with my husband last December and loved okonomiyaki. This recipe reminded us from the one we eat in Taito city and is definitely a keeper. Thanks for sharing!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Erika, I’m so glad you both loved it!

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.