Vegetarian Substitute for Fish: What Can You Eat Instead?

You don’t have to miss out on your favorite seafood dishes if you’re not eating fish. There are many ways to replicate the distinctive taste of this delicious food.

First, you can always count on vegetarian staples like tofu and mushrooms to create a convincing fish replacement.

Also, some less common ingredients like hearts of palm, jackfruit, and banana blossom can create uncanny replicas of specific fish recipes.

Keep reading to learn more about your options and find what vegetarian substitute for fish works best for you.

vegetarian substitute for fish

Why Choose a Vegetarian Substitute for Fish?

The fishing industry has a devastating effect on the ocean ecosystems worldwide. Excessive fishing is depleting the fish population while severely polluting the waters.

What’s worse, the fish aren’t the only animals affected by these large-scale fishing operations. Animals like sea birds, turtles, seals, and whales often fall victim to the fishing industry.

People also avoid eating fish due to health concerns. However, most foods we eat can be affected by pollutants, and fish is no different.

For example, ocean fish can be contaminated with mercury. When consumed in larger quantities, mercury can damage nerves in adults and disrupt the brain development in children.

While some people chose to stay away from fish, others had the choice made for them—namely, fish or seafood allergies are a common reason for finding a worthy fish alternative.

What Is a Good Vegetarian Substitute for Fish?

If you’re a fish-loving vegetarian, you’ll be happy to know there are many excellent choices in the vegetarian substitute for fish department.

Thanks to the rising popularity of plant-based foods, manufacturers offer a wide range of fish alternatives.

You can choose a store-bought option or pick up ingredients to make your favorite fish dish at home.

When looking for a believable fish substitute, choose ingredients that can be easily packed with flavor.

The fish flavoring is relatively easy to replicate with soy sauce, tamari, mushroom sauce, or seaweed so that the result will be just like the real deal.

This way, you’ll be able to enjoy the taste of fish without compromising your vegetarian lifestyle, health, or personal beliefs.

Thankfully, you don’t have to worry about your choices when looking for a vegetarian substitute for fish.

Whatever your favorite fish or seafood recipe is, you’ll almost certainly find an incredibly accurate replacement ingredient.

Let’s take a look at my recommended vegetarian alternatives for fish.


Due to its versatility, tofu is a staple ingredient in almost all vegetarian kitchens.

The best thing about tofu is how well it absorbs spices and dish flavors. As a result, it can be transformed into various fish dishes.

In addition, tofu’s white color can somewhat emulate the fish’s appearance.

Therefore, you’ll have a highly believable vegetarian substitute for fish with the right seasoning mix and cooking technique.

One of the most popular methods of preparing tofu as fish is a dish called tofish. You can make tofish by pan-frying battered tofu fillets wrapped in nori sheets.

The result closely resembles the taste of fish, especially when served as a part of the beloved U.K. dish­ – fish and chips.

Banana Blossom

Although banana blossom is somewhat of a newcomer to vegetarian diets, it’s undoubtedly a game-changer for meat and fish substitutes.

Due to its texture and versatility, you can use it as a perfect vegetarian substitute for fish in all your favorite seafood recipes.

Banana blossoms are the fleshy flower growing on the banana plant. It has a soft and flaky texture that lends itself well to various fish dishes.

The most popular choices include battered fish, fish tacos, and seafood linguini.


Mushrooms are an all-star ingredient in vegetarian kitchens.

They’re available in various shapes and textures, so you can use them to replicate a range of animal ingredients.

For your fish substitute needs, consider using Shiitake or King Oyster mushrooms.

These mushrooms resemble scallops, shrimp, and tuna in texture. Moreover, they have a subtle flavor that can be easily enhanced with a marinade to resemble fish sauce or shrimp paste.

Hearts of Palm

As the name suggests, heart of palm is a vegetable harvested from a palm tree’s core or heart.

As a result, they have a soft and stringy texture, similar to smaller seafood. For that reason, it works best as a vegetarian alternative for lobster rolls, crab cakes, and crab dips.

As always, seasoning is essential. Luckily, the heart of palm has a neutral flavor, thus perfectly pairing with sauces and more robust seasoning.

Vegetarian Substitute for Salmon

Salmon is one of the most sought-after delicacies, much loved for its versatility, nutritional benefits, and taste.

However, it has a distinctive flavor and texture, which may be challenging to replicate.

Although it might seem odd, carrots can be an excellent vegetarian substitute for salmon.

Their most popular use is in place of smoked salmon, as they check many of the boxes for a convincing alternative.

First of all, you can slice them into long, thin strips resembling the smoked salmon’s appearance.

Then, when you consider their similar colors, you can see why carrots have no problem replacing salmon on top of bagels and in sushi.

Also, when appropriately cooked and marinated in the proper seasonings with a dash of liquid smoke, carrots can successfully imitate salmon’s delicious taste. 

Vegetarian Substitute for Tuna

Suppose you’re a big fan of tuna salads and sandwiches. In that case, you don’t have to give up these delicious meals once you become vegetarian.

Jackfruit has a thick rind and stringy flesh that you can eat raw or cooked. The stringy and flaky texture is what makes it a perfect tuna substitute.

Like tuna, you can buy it canned. Just make sure you purchase those canned in water and not brine.

The brine is sweet, which isn’t ideal if your final goal is to replicate tuna’s taste.

You can achieve the taste in question by cooking jackfruit in soy sauce or nori. After that, add vegan mayonnaise and enjoy your tuna meal of choice.

In Summary

There are many reasons to avoid eating fish, including ethical, ecological, and health concerns.

But finding a vegetarian alternative for fish can be a bit tricky. If you’re looking for a good protein source, substituting whey protein is much easier for vegetarians.

That being said, you can’t only drink smoothies for every meal. Hopefully my solutions in this article will help you find your favorite go-to vegetarian fish recipe.

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