Healthy Fish Substitutes For Your Favorite Fish Dishes


Healthy fish substitutes for your favorite fish dishes? Some people choose to avoid eating fish for ethical, health, ecological, or religious reasons, and others may be allergic to fish or seafood. But some people may want to use a substitute to enjoy a favorite fish dish or recipe. Alternatives such as seaweed, tofu, and banana blossom make convincing fish replacements and have additional health benefits different from the health benefits of eating fish.

Finding healthy fish recipes can be both easy and difficult at the same time. On one hand, many varieties of fish are naturally low in calories, high in protein, and contain heart-healthy fats. On the other hand, if you don’t choose the right fish to eat it could be unhealthy or even toxic. In this article i will show you how to make thoughtful fish substitutes?

Healthy Fish Substitutes for Your Favorite Fish Dishes

With the rise in plant-based foods and more consumer awareness about the ecological impact of fishing, many manufacturers are offering a wide variety of fish alternatives. These include plant-based fish sticks, fishcakes, and even scampi and shrimp. Brands use various ingredients such as wheat gluten, soy, or jackfruit to make these products. They may also use artificial flavorings or natural foods such as seaweed to replicate a fish-like taste. Additionally, some individuals may have an allergy to fish or have health concerns about eating fish due to the presence of mercury or plastics in some seafood. Some people may also avoid some types of fish or seafood for religious reasons. People who want to avoid eating fish can buy ready-made alternatives or try making fish dishes using substitutes at home. Below is a list of 10 fish substitutes and ways someone can use them to replicate some popular fish dishes.
a plant-based taco with yoghurt sauc

Tofu fish (‘tofish’)

Tofu can emulate fish well because of its white color. When food outlets use tofu in place of fish, they sometimes refer to it as tofish. Battered tofish with “chips” (fries) is a popular vegan alternative to the popular fast food staple of fish and chips in the United Kingdom. To make battered tofish, a person should wrap a nori (seaweed) sheet around a fish-sized piece of firm tofu and then coat this in batter before frying. They can make the batter from cornstarch and seltzer water or beer. To accompany this recipe, they can serve a traditional or vegan tartar sauce. Tofu is a good source of protein and calcium for people eating a plant-based diet. Fried chips (fries) contain saturated fat, which the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends people limit to 10% of their daily calories. So people should see this meal as an occasional treat rather than a staple. A recipe for tofish and chips is here.

Smoked carrot salmon

Carrots may seem an unusual choice as a salmon substitute, but if marinated in flavorings, they make an excellent fish alternative. People can use carrot salmon to top bagels spread with vegan cream cheese (or dairy cream cheese if not strictly plant-based), or for sushi. The following is a recipe for smoked carrot salmon that serves four: Ingredients
  • 4 peeled carrots
  • 2 chopped nori sheets
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp tamari
  • a few drops of liquid smoke
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  1. Use a peeler or mandolin to slice four carrots into long, thin strips.
  2. Steam the carrot slices for 5 minutes until tender.
  3. Add all the ingredients except the liquid smoke and olive oil to a container with the carrot strips and toss lightly to coat.
  4. Leave in the refrigerator overnight to marinate.
  5. Before serving, remove the strips from the marinade and lightly coat in the oil and liquid smoke.
  6. Add to cream cheese bagels or use in sushi.

Banana blossom fish

Banana blossom is a fleshy flower that grows on the banana plant. It has recently become a popular fish alternative for people eating a plant-based diet. Its neutral flavor makes it ideal for adding seaweed or other fish substitute flavorings. Additionally, banana blossom’s chunky and flaky texture makes an excellent alternative to battered cod or fish fillet. People can buy banana blossom in cans to make fish recipes or eat it at vegan food outlets and restaurants.

Jackfruit tuna

Many grocery stores sell plant-based tuna substitutes that people can use for tuna mayonnaise sandwich fillings or tuna salads. To make a tuna substitute, a person can use jackfruit as it has a similar flaky texture. People can buy jackfruit in cans, and only need to separate it with a fork before marinating or cooking. Then, they can flavor the jackfruit with nori or soy sauce to give it a fishy taste, and add vegan mayonnaise if they wish to make a tuna mayonnaise sandwich filling.

Seitan scampi, prawns, and shrimp

Plant-based food brands often sell alternatives for seafood, but people can also make their own. Seitan is vital wheat gluten that has a meaty texture. People can buy vital wheat gluten as a powder online or in health food stores. They will need to add flavorings and liquid to the powder before shaping it into fish or seafood and cooking. Additionally, people may want to add a natural food coloring to the mixture to emulate the color of prawns or shrimp. There are various recipes for seitan seafood online. For example, here is a recipe for vegan shrimp.

Vegan fish sticks and fillets

Manufacturers use wheat gluten, soy, or mycoprotein to make popular vegan fish fillets and fish sticks. To make a homemade version, a person can use firm tofu flavored with nori sheets and lemon juice and coat the fish sticks or fillets in breadcrumbs.

Garbanzo bean fish-less cakes

Mashed garbanzo beans can be a good substitute for fish cakes. People can mix the beans with mashed potato and add parsley, nori, and scallions before shaping them into a cake. Next, they can coat the cakes in panko breadcrumbs before baking them in the oven. Garbanzo beans are a good source of protein and fiber and contain essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and iron. Someone can find various plant-based fish cake recipes online that use different flavorings and ingredients. To serve, a person can add a leafy green salad and some vegan mayonnaise.

Mushroom fish pie

Mushrooms are a great fish substitute due to their protein-rich, meaty texture and rich flavor. Mushrooms are also a healthy addition to a person’s diet, containing fiber and B vitamins. A person can make a fish pie using oyster mushrooms, tofu, and vegetables in a white sauce. Adding some chopped fresh parsley provides extra vitamin C. They can top the pie filling with creamy mashed potato and grated dairy-free cheese.

Teriyaki chicken sushi rolls

Some people may be allergic to fish or have health concerns about eating fish due to the presence of mercury  or plastics in some fish and seafood. People can still enjoy sushi dishes packed with protein and vitamin B12 without the need to consume fish. They can substitute fish for chicken in teriyaki chicken sushi rolls. If a person follows a vegan, vegetarian, or plant-based diet, they can substitute chicken for tofu, tempeh, or imitation chicken in this recipe.

Fish sauce and flavorings

To replicate a fish-like flavor, people can use various ingredients in their recipes. For example, soy sauce contains amino acids that give an umami-like flavor useful for fish recipes. Liquid aminos also have a similar taste. For people eating a gluten-free diet, tamari is a good alternative. Another rich umami ingredient is mushrooms or mushroom sauce. Seaweed adds a fish-like flavor to plant-based dishes, and people can use nori, wakame, kombu, dulse, and other types. Additionally, seaweed is a good source of iodine and contains minerals such as calcium and magnesium.


There is no need for people who do not eat fish to miss out on their favorite fish and seafood dishes. Manufacturers sell a wide range of fish alternatives, and people can use plant-based ingredients to make recipes. Tofu, banana blossom, and jackfruit are popular substitutes for fish due to their texture. In addition, seaweed, soy sauce, and mushrooms can help to give an authentic taste. Plant-based fish alternatives can provide essential nutrients such as protein and minerals to someone eating a vegan or plant-based diet. In some dishes, such as sushi, a person can substitute fish for other animal or plant-based protein sources such as chicken, tofu, or tempeh. To supplement some of the foods on this list that are lower in protein, such as carrots, banana blossoms, jackfruit, and mushrooms, a person may wish to serve them alongside more protein-rich foods such as legumes, pulses, or a protein shake. For beneficial omega-3 fatty acids that people might usually obtain from fish, a person may wish to take an algae-based supplement.

Healthy Fish Recipes

1-low carb salmon with salsa  (1 serving – 280 calories)

low carb salmon with salsa

  • 1/4 medium red onion
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • 1 oz corn
  • salt and black pepper
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 4 oz salmon fillet

2-cod and bean mash  (4 serving – 390 calories)

cod and bean mash

  • 5 red grape tomatoes
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 5 oz cod or sole
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 5 oz white beans boiled
  • 1 garlic
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 6 basil leaves

3-baked sole with potatoes  (1 serving – 360 calories)

baked sole with potatoes

  • 7 oz baby potatoes
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 6 oz sole
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

4-hummus with salmon recipe (5 serving – 430 calories)

hummus with salmon recipe

  • 4 oz salmonfillet
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • salt and black pepper
  • 2 lemon slices
  • 4 oz chickpeas, boiled
  • 2 oz peas, boiled
  • salt and black pepper
  • 7 mint leaves
  • 1 oz greek yogurt
  • 1 oz spinach
  • 2 radishes
  • 1 tbsp lemon

How to Make Thoughtful Fish Substitutes?

Stick to the Size and Weight
Luke Davin, manager of Osakana fish market in Brooklyn, says that “the size of the portion is much more important to how a fish cooks than whether it is porgy or Amberjack.” Does the recipe in question call for 1-inch-thick fillets? 4-ounce fillets? A whole fish? You’ll want to buy something similarly portioned to maintain approximate cooking times and methods. While you might notice variables in flavor, you’re less likely to wind up with over- or under-cooked fish.
Keep It Skinless (or Skin-On)
If your recipe calls for skin-on fish, you’ll want to make sure you select something with edible skin. If the fillets in your local case still have their skin intact, it’s safe to assume it’s edible. Davin notes that lately he’s been recommending striped bass for pan-seared salmon recipes because he actually prefers bass skin over salmon skin.

Fish Substitute Cheat Sheet

Remember: the best move is to chat up your fishmonger, but if that isn’t an option, here’s a list of common fish and their no-brainer substitutes. Look to these if the fish counter doesn’t have the fish, you were looking for, or if you’re looking to avoid common fish that aren’t particularly sustainable. Never heard of some of the fish on this list. That’s a good thing. Branching out to whatever’s freshest that day could give you a much tastier dinner. For example, the general manager of Greenpoint Fish & Lobster Co., Peter Juusola, told me that all he really wants is for more people to just “give monkfish a chance.” He says, “it’s so underrated—and such a delicious and easy fish to cook at home.” Plus, those lesser-known fish are also less likely to be overfished and could be the more sustainable option.
One final point: When considering any fish substitute, it’s a good idea to consult Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch. Depending on the season, the year, and rise and fall of a particular fish breed’s popularity, the availability and sustainability of any type of fish can fluctuate—plus, they list the official name of the breed along with all the colloquial names they might be labelled at the market. That means you might really, actually know what it is you’re bringing home.
What to Substitute for Tilapia
Best Options: Branzino, Bream, Catfish (fillets only), Dorade, Flounder (fillets only), Lake Trout, Mullet, Perch, Skate Wing, Snapper, Sole (fillets only), Trout, Turbot (fillets only) Alternatives: Dory, Fluke (fillets only), Porgy Avoid: Roughy, Pike, Swai
What to Substitute for Cod
Best Options: Black Cod, Cod, Mahi Mahi, Sea Bass, Stripped Bass, Whiting Alternatives: Grouper, Haddock, Hake, Monkfish, Pollock Avoid: Halibut
What to Substitute for Salmon
Best Options: Amberjack/Yellowtail, Arctic Char, Bluefish, Mackerel, Mahi Mahi, Ocean/Sea Trout, Steelhead Trout, Stripped Bass, Tilefish, Wahoo
Alternatives: Milkfish, Triggerfish
What to Substitute for Tuna
Best Options: Amberjack/Yellowtail, Salmon Steaks, Swordfish
Alternatives: Marlin, Shark
What to Substitute for Anchovies
Best Options: Herring, Jack Mackerel, Smelt Alternatives: Anchovy

Health Benefits of Eating Fish

1.  It Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Doctor holding heart
According to a review published in the American Journal of Cardiology, fish consumption is associated with a lower risk of fatal and total coronary heart disease. Fish is high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids which can reduce inflammation, help protect your heart, and stave off chronic diseases.

2.  It Reduces Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

Woman thinking
Fish is also a dietary essential for your brain. According to a 2016 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, moderate seafood consumption was linked with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s Disease. The study found that those who consume fish regularly had more grey brain matter, which reduces brain shrinkage and deterioration that can lead to brain function complications. Although they noted that seafood consumption was also correlated with higher levels of mercury in the brain, it was not correlated with brain neuropathy.
This seafood is also amazing for your mental health. The Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience found that fish oil can help improve symptoms of depression when taken with a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), a type of antidepressant. Although there are reports of fish oil decreasing symptoms of depression on its own, there still needs to be more research conducted to prove this claim.

4.  It’s a Great Source of Vitamin D

According to The National Institutes of Health, fish are high in vitamin D, and are considered one of the best dietary sources for this essential nutrient. According to the NIH, vitamin D is beneficial for calcium absorption for bone health and growth. Because 70% of the U.S. population does not meet the Estimated Average Intake (EAR) of vitamin D every year, it will certainly be helpful if you add more of this nutrient-dense food to your diet.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found that omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial to improving vision and eye health. This is because the brain and eyes are heavily concentrated in omega-3 fatty acids and need them to maintain their health and function, according to the AHRQ’s findings. Fish is one of the best sources of these good fats.

6.  It Can Help You Sleep Better

If you have trouble falling or staying asleep, eating more fish may do the trick. According to a study published by The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, increased consumption of fish improved quality of sleep for most subjects. Researchers suspect that this is due to fish’s high concentration of vitamin D, which aids in sleep, according to the study.

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