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Easy, satisfying, and delicious, this classic vegan friendly alternative to Unagi Don comes together in minutes using eggplant and sweet and savory unagi sauce.

Vegan Unagi Don

Whether you're living the plant-based life or just trying to save a few bucks, this Vegan Unagi Don made with eggplant glazed in sweet and savory unagi sauce is a classic alternative that will satisfy vegans, vegetarians, and seafood lovers alike.
Course Entree
Cuisine Japanese
Keyword donburi, rice bowl
Level Beginner
Main Ingredient Rice, Vegetable
Diet Dairy-Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes
Servings 2 servings
Calories 646kcal


For rice

  • 150 grams firm tofu
  • 155 grams short-grain rice (1 rice cooker cup)
  • 13 grams sesame seeds (2 tablespoons)

For vegan unagi

  • 375 grams eggplant (~2 Japanese eggplants)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup sake
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons evaporated cane sugar
  • Scallions (chopped, for garnish)


For Tofu Sesame Rice

  • Wash the rice and add it to a rice cooker bowl. Fill the cooker to just under the 1 cup marker with water.
    Fill rice cooker until just under the 1 cup marker.
  • Crumble the tofu into a clean dishcloth or butter muslin and then gather up the corners of the cloth and twist them together to wring out as much water as you can from the tofu. Add the crumbled tofu to the rice.
    Wring out excess water from tofu.
  • Grind the sesame seeds using a mortar and pestle or spice grinder and add them to the rice cooker as well.
    Add ground sesame seeds to rice and stir together.
  • Set the rice cooker as you normally would to cook the rice.

For Vegan Unagi

  • Trim the ends off of the eggplant and slice each one in half lengthwise. Cut a slit down the center of each eggplant, being careful not to cut through the skin.
    Cut a slit down the center of the eggplant.
  • Cut shallow slits ⅛-inch apart down the length of the cut surface of the eggplant.
    Score the eggplant to make it look like unagi.
  • Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat until hot, and then add the oil and eggplant, cut side down.
    Fry the eggplant cut-side down.
  • Fry until golden brown, and then flip the eggplant over and add the sake, soy sauce, sugar.
    Flip the eggplant over and add the unagi sauce ingredients.
  • Cover the pan with a lid and adjust to heat to maintain a soft boil. Steam the eggplant for 7 minutes, flipping the eggplant over halfway through.
  • When the eggplant is cooked, transfer it to a wire rack with the cut-side facing up. Use a pastry brush or spoon to glaze the top of the eggplant with some of the unagi sauce in the pan. If the sauce is still watery, you can reduce it on the stove to thicken it up.
    Glaze the vegan unagi with unagi sauce.
  • Use a torch to caramelize the glaze. You can also pop it into a toaster oven set to broil.
    Torch the mock unagi to caramelize the sauce.
  • Serve two portions of rice and drizzle any remaining unagi sauce over the rice. Top with the eggplant and garnish with scallions.



Calories: 646kcal | Carbohydrates: 88g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 1017mg | Potassium: 713mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 44IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 205mg | Iron: 4mg