Feb 052015

Four Fish-Free Alternatives for Vegetarians

Fish-Free Alternatives for Vegetarians

There are a wide variety of options for vegetarians looking for alternatives to beef and chicken. Fish substitutes can be a little trickier due to the more unique flavor of fish which is harder to replicate than other types of meat. However, there are some good vegetarian fish options that can satisfy cravings as well as providing an adequate dose of important Omega-3 fatty acids.


Tofu is a great all-purpose, high protein substitute for meat, and many vegetarians incorporate it into their diets. This soy product can be a particularly good alternative for fish because it does not have a lot of flavor. Some ways to infuse a fish-like taste into tofu include cooking it with dry seaweed, kelp powder, or even seafood broth. Another option is to spread tartar sauce, which is a frequent seafood condiment, on a tofu sandwich. When using tofu in place of fish, picking a brand that has a medium or firm consistency will probably more effectively imitate the texture of fish than a softer tofu.

Crushed Garbanzo Beans

Crushed garbanzo beans, also called chickpeas, are another wonderful, healthy option for vegetarians yearning for fish. They are high in protein, but aren’t high in calories and don’t contain the saturated fats that other sources of protein do including meat and eggs. Crushed garbanzo beans don’t have a seafood flavor, but can be seasoned with some of the same ingredients mentioned for tofu. Their texture is nut-like and can convincingly mimic fish. A great way to use them is as a replacement for tuna fish. Combine the crushed garbanzo beans with the other ingredients for a tuna salad, including celery and seasoning, and serve the mixture on lettuce garnished with tomatoes and crackers.

Sea Vegetables

Sea vegetables are another viable alternative for vegetarians in search of a fish substitute. Many kinds are believed to be high in nutritious minerals, and may also help to lower cholesterol and detoxify the body from environmental pollutants. Their consistency is not very fish like, but their flavor can be much closer to the real thing. Some sea vegetables worth checking out include arame, kombu, wakame, hijiki, kelp, and dulse. Sushi eaters are probably already consuming sea vegetables in the form of seaweed; nori seaweed is a commonly used wrapper for sushi rolls. Asian groceries are a good place to look for sea vegetables.

Oils, Nuts, and Seeds

One of the major health reasons to eat fish is they contain Omega-3s. These essential fatty acids cannot be made by the body and must come from one’s diet. Omega-3’s are believed to provide numerous health benefits such as a reduced risk for heart disease, joint pain, depression, and asthma. They are also thought to help brain development in infants, and many prenatal vitamins include Omega-3 supplements. Fish is the primary source of Omega- 3s, but there are some plant based alternatives as well. Fish-free examples of Omega – 3s include flaxseed oil, walnuts, ground flaxseeds, and some soy products.

Vegetarians in search of a convincing substitute for fish, or some super-healthy Omega-3s, don’t have to go without. There are a number of ways to satisfy the craving and provide the body with what it needs.

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