While vegetarians have a variety of options to choose from to replace chicken, pork and beef, finding an alternative for fish that has a palatable taste can be extremely difficult. Fish has a very distinctive taste that is difficult to mimic--and therefore, most companies have shied away from trying to do so. Below are three great, natural vegetarian substitutes for fish that are as healthy as they are delicious. Try them out today!
Tofu is a great alternative for fish if you are vegetarian. Tofu is extremely healthy--it is low in saturated fat, and has none of the mercury concerns associated with fish consumption. When using tofu as a replacement for fish, it is important to start with the right type of tofu. Tofu typically comes in a variety of different textures, ranging from "soft" to "extra firm." For best results when trying to mimic the texture of fish, choose a variety that is medium to firm.
One of the reasons that tofu is such a great product is that tofu, in and of itself, is flavorless. This means that you can add any flavor that you want, and the tofu will adapt to this taste. If you are trying to mimic a fish filet or steak, you may want to fry the tofu in a fish broth, and season it with fresh herbs. Chop the tofu into small bits and combine with the broth if you crave a stew. Or, for an unique touch, wrap the tofu in rice and seaweed, making tofu-sushi.
Mashed Chickpeas are another great alternative for vegetarians that are craving fish--and while this can't actually provide you with the same "fishy" flavor, it can still satisfy the basic need. Chickpeas not only make a great alternative to fish, but they are extremely healthy. In fact, chickpeas provide a healthy source of dietary protein, which is essential in maintaining muscle mass. In addition, chickpeas contain high amounts of complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are slow digesting, meaning that it takes them a long time to move from the stomach to the digestive system, and therefore help to keep you feeling fuller, longer.
The best way to use chickpeas as an alternative to fish is to make a "faux-tuna fish salad." Combine the mashed chickpeas with celery, walnuts, and the herbs and spices of your choice. Place this mixture onto a bed of lettuce, and serve with a variety of breads and crackers. Your friends won't be able to guess the secret ingredient!
Sea vegetables won't necessarily provide you with the same texture as fish, but the flavor is a bit closer than that of the mashed chickpeas. While you may be able to find some sea vegetables at specialty grocery stores, you may have to visit a local Asian market. Be aware that recent research has found that vegetables that have been frozen contain the same amounts of vitamins and minerals as those in the fresh state--therefore, if you can find frozen sea vegetables, go ahead and buy them! You'll be getting the same benefit.