mentaiko pasta with olive oil and shiso top view

Mentaiko Pasta Recipe: Olive Oil & Shiso Delight

mentaiko pasta with olive oil and shiso top view

Yo Yo Yo! Pretty soon it’ll be ho ho ho! Can’t believe the year has gone by so fast. That’s what I say every year.

Mentaiko Pasta with Olive Oil and Shiso - A Savory Japanese style Pasta you Must try!! | www.alldayieat.com

Must mean I’m getting old. Slowly but surely.

This past week I’ve been on a Japanese food kick.

I hope it keeps me young. At least if I stick to eating healthy Japanese food it will. I think.

Diet and exercise they say. Right?

I’ll try to help you with the diet part, but no promises or guarantees.

Let’s kick this week off with a healthier recipe.

This first recipe is a lighter version of mentaiko pasta. I previously made and wrote about a mentaiko pasta that was made with cream and mayo. That one was definitely more decadent and richer in both texture and flavor.

I think the cream version takes some of the savory aspects away from the mentaiko  (since it’s swimming in a cream sauce). I also think the shiso loses some of its power to the cream sauce too. Cream told shiso to surrender and it did.


Shiso maybe got the last laugh. Shiso is the star of this dish. It is a Japanese herb that is part of the mint family. It has a very distinct and refreshing flavor. It is served with all kinds of food including fish, vegetables, and tofu. If you’re interested, you can read more about it here !

The shiso on this plate almost makes you think you are eating something straight out of your garden.  If you’ve had it before you know what I’m talking about.

Or maybe, you can just go to your garden now and eat something from there. If it’s fresh and herby, maybe it will have the same effect. Let me know what happens if you do this 😉

Salty mentaiko is a good contrast to shiso. If you are perceptive enough, you might even be able to sense the tiny little eggs releasing their flavor with each bite.

It’s like eating fairy dust. Just magic.

If you want a fresher and lighter taste, this could be a good alternative to my first mentaiko pasta.

In summary, the olive oil and shiso really shine through in this pasta. Like the suns rays breaking through the clouds just after a cool winter storm.

With each bite you can savor the shiso and olive oil. Let those flavors hit your taste buds like rays of light. Shaken to the core.

And if those flavors of shiso and olive oil aren’t hitting you, you aren’t you aren’t using enough!

If you want to see me make this from scratch I put together a video, let me know what you think !

mentaiko pasta with olive oil and shiso top view

For those keen on getting started cooking Japanese food, I’ve put together a quick reference on Japanese Food Supplies that can help get you started! Check it out if you haven’t seen it yet!

Also, here is a link to my Japanese recipes pageIt’s one of my specialties, so I hope you get a chance to try one.

In case you missed them, here are some of my other pasta recipes!

Bucatini with Fresh Herbs and Zesty Breadcrumbs

Spaghetti with Pancetta, Kale, and Butternut Squash

Fresh Fettuccine with Roasted Eggplant and Tomato

Cacio e Pepe (Roman pasta with cheese and pepper)

Fresh Pasta – Fettuccine with Arugula Walnut Pesto

Roasted Sun Gold Tomatoes with Spaghetti, Basil and Parmigiano Reggiano

Mentaiko Pasta with Cream, Shiso, and Nori

Japanese Style Macaroni Salad with Bacon, Cucumber, and Red Onion

Japanese Style Macaroni Salad with Tuna



A Lighter Mentaiko Pasta with Olive Oil

mentaiko pasta with olive oil and shiso top view

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  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 2 people 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Cuisine: Japanese


Units Scale
  • 1/2 lb. Spaghetti (cooked in salted water until al dente)
  • 3 Tablespoons Mentaiko (~ 60 grams spicy cod roe)
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter (melted, but not hot)
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 45 leaves shiso (finely chopped)
  • fresh cracked pepper (to taste)
  • nori (finely chopped)


  1. Cook spaghetti according in salted water until al dente. Drain.
  2. Meanwhile, measure out the mentaiko.
  3. Measure out soy sauce, olive oil, and melted butter and combine. Add in the mentaiko until just mixed.
  4. Once spaghetti is ready, drain and immediately mix in with the mentaiko mixture.
  5. Season with pepper and top with shiso and nori and serve!
  6. Devour like there is no tomorrow.
  7. No regrets.
  8. Ever.
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14 thoughts on “Mentaiko Pasta Recipe: Olive Oil & Shiso Delight”

  1. I’ve tried (and made) a number of Japanese dishes at home but I can’t convince myself to try mentaiko.

    1. i can see how mentaiko and other caviar could be off putting, it does have a unique smell and taste. is that what it is?

      1. I don’t mind salmon roe and tobiko/flying fish or masago/capelin as I enjoy eating and making a number of sushi dishes but the creamy something about the mentaiko is off-putting.

        1. Gotcha, its not for everyone i guess. I have seen mentaiko pasta and other preparations without mayo/cream tho

          1. I would try some if someone else ordered it but, to be honest, wouldn’t be likely to make it myself or order an entire plate at a restaurant. 🙂

    1. they are pretty hardy plants, you might be able to get away with growing them inside during the winter or if you are interested in hydroponics at all, in an Aerogarden.

    2. My shiso plants didn’t make it over the winter inside (Ontario, Canada) but they self seeded and I’ve got a dozen or so little seedlings in a pot ready to be transplanted into larger pots once the true leaves get bigger. It’s great in sushi rolls.

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Konnichiwa! (Hello!) I'm Pat Tokuyama, a Japanese tofu cookbook author, who travels for music, food, and adventure. If you like Japanese tea, checkout some of the newestorganic japanese tea, matcha bowls and noren and more!

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