Fish is a staple food in many cultures and a great source of protein, healthy fats, and vitamins. They’re also very versatile to cook with and lend themselves to a wide variety of cuisines and flavors.
However, there are many reasons that may require people to substitute other items for fish in their diets, including religious, health, or dietary restrictions or simply a lack of availability. Luckily, a broad range of other foods can provide the same benefits as fish. Take a look at these 6 substitutes for fish you can use.
Tofu is made from pressed soybeans and has more protein, fiber, and important minerals while having fewer calories than many other sources of protein. It also has a wide range of applications, making it a fantastic substitute for fish in many dishes.
Substitute fish with tofu is easy and adaptable. You can use it as the primary source of protein in various dishes, such as stir-fries or vegetable curries. You can also cut it into cubes or thinly slice it for various dishes to pair with other ingredients in salads and sandwiches.
Before cooking, marinate tofu with herbs and sauces like teriyaki or soy sauce to enhance its flavor. When sautéing, you may also add vinegar and powdered tamarind in equal amounts to improve the flavor of the dish.
Seitan is made of wheat gluten and is prepared to mimic the texture and flavor of meats. Due to its superior nutritional profile and simplicity of preparation, seitan is becoming a more and more popular alternative to meat, including fish. It has a high protein content and contains essential vitamins and minerals, including calcium, phosphorous, and iron.
Seitan can be readily incorporated into a range of meals, from stir-fries to burgers. Also, it may be used to make vegan variations of dishes that often feature seafood, such as fish tacos and fried “fish” and chips. Flavor it with your choice of herbs and spices before using it for your favorite meals.
Like tofu, tempeh is also a good source of dietary fiber and can help improve digestion and overall health. Tempeh also has a firmer texture than many other substitutes for fish, making it ideal for various dishes such as fish tacos or salads.
When using tempeh in place of fish, it should be marinated with spices and herbs of your choice before cooking. Generally, combining one tablespoon of oil with a teaspoon of vinegar and ground tamarind is a great starting point. It will add a tangy flavor to the tempeh while allowing the spices and herbs to shine through. Once marinated, tempeh can be baked, fried, or sautéed for a delicious meal that’s healthy and comparable to traditional seafood dishes.
4. Beans and Legumes
Protein-packed and full of fiber, beans and legumes are an excellent choice to replace fish in many dishes. Garbanzo beans, for example, can be mashed into a paste and seasoned with spices and sauces to mimic canned tuna, while black beans can be mixed into a spread with a smoky flavor comparable to smoked salmon.
When substituting beans and legumes for fish, make sure you adjust seasonings such as salt, vinegar, and tamarind accordingly. In addition, be careful not to overcook them — in order to keep them tender and flavorful.
Jackfruit may seem like an odd choice here, but the flesh of this tropical fruit has a texture that’s quite similar to meat. It also has high nutritional value as it is rich in dietary fiber, vitamins A and C, magnesium, and potassium, making it a nutrient-dense option for a vegan or vegetarian diet. Additionally, it contains essential amino acids, essential fatty acids, and a wide variety of phytonutrients.
Jackfruit can be used in many ways to replace fish in dishes, including as a burger patty, taco filling, or fishless nuggets. It can also be grilled or seared in stir-fry recipes. And as jackfruit has a pretty neutral taste, you can make the most of this intriguing fruit by marinating it with your choice of herbs and spices or wrapping it with seasoned seaweed before cooking.
6. Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP)
Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) is another excellent substitute for fish that can provide a savory and hearty texture. Unlike tofu and tempeh, which use soybean as the major ingredient, TVP is made from defatted soy flour, making it a healthier option. It is also more affordable than many other vegan substitutes and has a neutral flavor, which can easily absorb the taste of whichever ingredients it is cooked with.
Typically used as a meat replacement in burgers, tacos, and stir-fries, TVP can also be substituted for tuna in salads, casseroles, and sandwiches. To maximize its flavor, consider using acidic ingredients such as vinegar or tamarind. You can also cook it with other herbs and spices you like, depending on the recipe.