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Vegan Teriyaki Sauce – Simple, Healthy & Delicious

Vegan Teriyaki Sauce in a Pan with Chopsticks on the Table

Why not make yourself a batch of homemade glossy vegan teriyaki sauce? You’ll have the means to make a simple but delicious vegetarian or vegan meal with very little effort. The sauce itself only takes minutes to make. It’s healthier and more authentic than many of the recipes out there.

What is Teriyaki Sauce?

If you’ve not come across teriyaki sauce before, you’re missing a treat. It’s a Japanese classic with umami, sweet and sour notes. As well as making a tasty sauce, as in my teriyaki rice bowl, it also works as a marinade for ingredients like tofu or tempeh. This vegan teriyaki sauce is quick and easy to make with only six ingredients, if you don’t include the water. It will keep in the fridge for a week if well sealed.

Teriyaki Rice Bowl with Tofu & Brussels Sprouts

As with many things homemade, vegan teriyaki sauce is so much nicer than commercial varieties. It has the added benefit of being healthier too. In fact my recipe is healthier than most I’ve come across. There seems to be a high proportion of sugar used in many recipes as well as lots of sodium. It needs to be slightly sweet and salty too, but not completely loaded.

CT has been to Japan and tells me my sauce reminds him of the teriyaki sauce he had there on a regular basis. Also the fun-filled, sake-fuelled karaoke evenings that accompanied it. I haven’t pressed him any further on this particular point.

Vegan Teriyaki Sauce in a Pan

You don’t have to have any specialised ingredients for this vegan teriyaki sauce, but it does make the recipe more authentic if you do.

Arrowroot

Arrowroot is the starch extracted from the rhizomes of various plants. It has several good qualities but is best known as a gluten-free thickener for sauces, stews and puddings. It’s also easily digestible, has no known side effects and is said to be a healthier alternative to cornstarch. One of the reasons I like it so much is that it gives a lovely glossy quality to sauces and it’s easy to use.

You can use cornflour in this recipe instead of arrowroot if you prefer. Indeed most of the homemade teriyaki sauce recipes I’ve seen use cornflour. But I’m a whole food blogger looking to use the most delicious and nutritious ingredients I can easily get hold of. Plus arrowroot is more authentic for this Japanese recipe.

I remember the days when I used to have to go to the chemist to get arrowroot. Thankfully it’s widely available nowadays and can be found in most supermarkets, usually in the baking isle.

How to make your teriyaki sauce thicker

Just add half the water that’s stated in this recipe. Then add the rest bit by bit until you have the consistency you’re after.

Mirin

Mirin is a Japanese sweet rice wine. It used to be a luxury liqueur affordable only by the wealthy, but it’s now mostly used in cooking. It adds a certain complexity to a dish as it has sweet, acid and umami notes which somehow distill the essence of Japanese flavours. It’s a really useful condiment to have in the cupboard as it makes a good addition to salad dressings, marinades and sauces. It will last for ages. Just make sure you buy the real thing.  Mirin should only contain rice, water and a culture, so you may want to check the ingredients before buying.

These days, mirin is fairly easy to find. If you don’t have an independent speciality shop in the vicinity, head to the Asian section of your local supermarket. You’re more likely to find it than not. Or buy it online. I use Clearspring’s Organic Japanese Mikawa Mirin*. However, if you’re unable to source it or just want to get on and make this vegan teriyaki sauce recipe right now, there are substitutes you can use. 

Mirin Substitutes
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Marsala
  • Rice vinegar mixed with a little sugar
  • Sweet sherry

Leftover Vegetable Water

As regular readers will know, I can’t abide waste. If I’m preparing vegetables, I always keep any water they’re cooked in to add to soups, stews or sauces. In this case, my vegan teriyaki sauce. Many of the nutritious elements found in veg are released into water whilst cooking. It seems an awful shame to just throw them down the sink.

Top Tip

You can usually get away with using leftover vegetable water when a recipe requires stock.

Microplane Zester

I’m totally in love with my microplane zester*. It’s brilliant for zesting citrus and I use it a lot for that. But it’s also really good for finely grating garlic and ginger too. I no longer find grating a real chore and it turns preparation of this vegan teriyaki sauce into a breeze. It’s not only easy to use, but easy to wash too. I always run it under the tap immediately after using and that’s usually enough to dislodge any trapped bits of zest.

Keep in Touch

Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you make this easy homemade vegan teriyaki sauce recipe, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below or via social media. Do share photos on your preferred social media site and use the hashtag #tinandthyme, so I can spot them. For more delicious and nutritious recipes, follow me on TwitterFacebook, Instagram or Pinterest.

Vegan Teriyaki Sauce. PIN IT.

Vegan Teriyaki Sauce in a Pan with Chopsticks on the Table

Other Japanese Vegetarian Recipes You Might Like

I’m sharing my recipe for vegan teriyaki sauce with Everyday Healthy Recipes for #CookBlogShare.

Vegan Teriyaki Sauce – The Recipe

Vegan Teriyaki Sauce in a Pan with Chopsticks on the Table
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5 from 6 votes

Vegan Teriyaki Sauce

An easy delicious Japanese glossy sauce that works well as a marinade too. Just add to steamed, lightly boiled or stir-fried vegetables for a delicious side dish. Or, for something more substantial, add tofu and serve with rice.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time10 mins
Course: Dips, Spreads & Sauces
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: ginger, mirin, tamari, teriyaki
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 24kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp tamari or your favoured soy sauce
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
  • thumb root ginger - finely grated
  • 1 clove garlic - finely grate
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot
  • 100 ml water (I use vegetable water)

Instructions

  • Mix a little of the water with the arrowroot until you get a smooth paste. Add a little more water so that the arrowroot is pourable.
  • Place all the other ingredients into a saucepan and bring to the boil.
  • Add the arrowroot liquid and whisk until the mixture thickens.
  • Simmer for 3-4 minutes by which time you should have a beautiful glossy and delicious sauce.

Notes

If you're unable to get hold of mirin, you can substitute with balsamic vinegar, marsala wine, sweet sherry or rice wine vinegar with a little added sugar.
For a thinner or thicker sauce add more or less water.
Will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week.
Please note: calories and other nutritional information are per serving. They're approximate and will depend on serving size and exact ingredients used.

Nutrition

Calories: 24kcal | Carbohydrates: 5.4g | Sodium: 286mg | Sugar: 3.2g | Iron: 0.4mg

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24 Comments

  1. Monika Dabrowski

    12th March 2019 at 7:56 pm

    I love teriyaki sauce but it never occurred to me to make my own. Yours sounds easy to make and I am sure it’s a lot healthier and tastier than shop bought. Thank you for bringing it to #CookBlogShare

    Reply
    • Choclette

      12th March 2019 at 7:58 pm

      So easy Monika. You’ll have to try it and let me know how it compares.

      Reply
  2. johanna @ green gourmet giraffe

    12th March 2019 at 8:40 pm

    I love teriyaki sauce and it is quite easy to make – though I have never had it with brussel sprouts as I guess you did in your photo – perhaps this is one way to make sprouts more tasty for those who don’t like them 🙂 And thanks for including my curry recipe.

    Reply
    • Choclette

      13th March 2019 at 8:19 am

      I think that’s probably my favourite Brussels sprout recipe ever. Pretty much anything is going to taste good with teriyaki sauce. Well may not chocolate ….!

      Reply
  3. Kavita Favelle

    13th March 2019 at 9:14 am

    I love teriyaki sauce, it’s such a satisfying flavour and great for stir-fries, marinades, and all sorts. I like that your recipe is lower salt and sugar than many variations, too.

    Reply
    • Choclette

      15th March 2019 at 7:40 pm

      Thanks Kavey. The test will be with my mother when I make her some teriyaki broccoli whilst she’s staying. She keeps telling me my food isn’t salty enough.

      Reply
  4. Mina Joshi

    13th March 2019 at 10:24 am

    I am grateful for this easy to make recipe. I see this in the shops and often worry if the ingredients are vegetarian. Sounds so easy to make once you have all the ingredients.

    Reply
    • Choclette

      15th March 2019 at 7:41 pm

      Unless it’s a really trusted brand for me, I always prefer to make my own when I can. Then you know exactly what’s in it.

      Reply
  5. Corina Blum

    13th March 2019 at 12:42 pm

    It sounds delicious and is actually something I’d been thinking of making for a while. I might have to try this recipe first!

    Reply
    • Choclette

      15th March 2019 at 7:43 pm

      Oh yes, please do. I know taste is entirely subjective, but some honest feedback would be really useful.

      Reply
  6. Alina | Cooking Journey Blog

    13th March 2019 at 6:38 pm

    I love the idea of using leftover vegetable water! And the sauce looks sticky-good.

    Reply
    • Choclette

      15th March 2019 at 7:45 am

      I really dislike waste, so try to minimise it as much as I can. Sticky-good is a lovely description.

      Reply
  7. angiesrecipes

    14th March 2019 at 4:08 am

    Teriyaki sauce is like a magic sauce. I love to use it in stirfries and as a marinade. Yours seems easy to prepare and I need to give it a try too.

    Reply
    • Choclette

      15th March 2019 at 7:43 am

      Yes, what a good way of describing it Angie. It will be magic sauce from now on.

      Reply
  8. jenny walters

    14th March 2019 at 9:56 am

    I love Teriyaki sauce and this vegan one sounds incredible. It is something that I am always meaning to cook with but never get round to so feeling inspired!

    Reply
    • Choclette

      15th March 2019 at 7:38 pm

      Oh go for it Jenny. It’s so brilliantly quick and simple and once made, the world’s your teriyaki!

      Reply
  9. mae

    14th March 2019 at 1:45 pm

    The helpful owner of our local Asian grocery store tells me that mirin was formerly what you describe, but that the ones for sale now are just saki with corn syrup and other additives, so he says it’s better to just buy and use saki. I have no way to check this, but I think he’s probably right.

    best… mae

    Reply
    • Choclette

      15th March 2019 at 7:41 am

      I’m sure you’re probably right in many cases. It’s so sad that foods are so wickedly adulterated. Luckily we have good labelling here in the UK, so it’s easier to suss out the good from the bad. The brand I use is the real deal.

      Reply
  10. Lucy

    15th March 2019 at 2:16 pm

    I’m a big fan of teriyaki sauce too, and love this simple healthy recipe. I’ll have to look for arrowroot, I bet it would work well for thickening slow cooker dishes as well.

    Reply
    • Choclette

      15th March 2019 at 7:01 pm

      Yes, I reckon it would be really good for that Lucy. It’s well worth having in the store cupboard.

      Reply
  11. Jill's Mad About Macarons

    15th March 2019 at 7:14 pm

    I love teriyaki and ever since going to Japan last summer have been enjoying a lot of exotic treats with soy. Adore Mirin, ginger and garlic together and have to say, I have a tendancy to add a lot more garlic and ginger than is authentic… ho hum but it’s good! Intrigued by the maple syrup – must try this next time. Thanks for the recipe, Choclette.

    Reply
    • Choclette

      15th March 2019 at 7:19 pm

      Oh, I do completely understand the garlic and ginger thing Jill. There’s only so far one should take authenticity I reckon. I’ve heard so many good things about Japan from a whole host of people, but I’ve not been there myself. Doesn’t stop me being intrigued by Japanese food though.

      Reply
  12. Kate | The Veg Space

    16th March 2019 at 9:38 pm

    This looks really lovely – what a great idea, I wouldn’t have thought of making my own teriyaki sauce but it makes sense and looks like a lovely combination of flavour-packed ingredients.

    Reply
    • Choclette

      18th March 2019 at 10:34 am

      Oh Kate, you absolutely must give it a try. It’s delicious (she says modestly)!

      Reply

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