Giving up seafood can be an incredibly difficult part of going vegan – sushi! Crab dip! Lobster with butter! Is it gone forever? Luckily, the answer is no! There are amazing plant-based options for seafood lovers. The plant kingdom is miraculous in its ability to mimic the tastes and textures found in the animal world – you just have to know where to look. Some favorites:
Want CRABCAKES? Get LION’S MANE MUSHROOMS!
Lion’s mane mushrooms not only have an impressive array of health benefits; they mimic the texture and consistency of crabmeat. They can be used in lieu of crab for everything from vegan crab dip to vegan crabcakes with delicious abandon! Some examples:
Crabcakes Recipe: https://www.yummymummykitchen.com/2021/03/lions-mane-mushroom-recipes-crab-cakes.html
Crab Dip Recipe: https://www.eatyourbooks.com/library/recipes/2070562/lions-mane-mushroom-mornay
**Another favorite crab dip recipe - a decadent one perfect for a fancy cocktail party - is at the very end of this blog post! Scroll down. **
Want SCALLOPS? Get TRUMPET MUSHROOMS!
The stems of trumpet mushroom, cut into slices, not only look just like scallops, they taste like them, too. You’ll get all the taste without killing anyone and you’ll get a way healthier dish. Win! Plus, for anyone who has over cooked a deceased scallop into a rubbery mess, you can relax with trumpet mushrooms. They can handle way longer cooking times with aplomb.
I like to chop garlic and put it in a bowl with white wine and vegan butter or olive oil, dulse, and crushed black pepper and then pop in the sliced trumpet mushroom stems and soak them overnight and then pan fry them the next day. If you're feeling really indulgent, you can even wrap them in vegan bacon. I like the vegan bacon from Herbivorous Butcher or Upton's Naturals (available at Whole Foods). There are many other recipes and options. Here is one:
Scallops Recipe: https://www.cookinglight.com/recipes/vegan-mushroom-scallops
Want SUSHI? Get yourself some veggies, fruits, rice, and seaweed wrapper!
Vegan sushi is now at many restaurants and you can make your own, too! Here are recipes for everything from spicy tuna rolls to dynamite rolls:
Want OCTOPUS? Get DRIED SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS!
Dried shiitake mushrooms can replicate the chewy texture of octopus without slaughtering one of these amazingly intelligent and creative creatures (have you seen My Octopus Teacher? If not, stop! Go see it right now! It's on Netflix).
You just need to google "vegan octopus recipes" for a ton of options, but here is my all-time favorite:
Want SQUID (CALAMARI)? Get OYSTER MUSHROOMS!
Oyster mushrooms can make you some mouth-watering cruelty-free calamari. Here's my favorite recipe:
Want CEVICHE? Get some AVOCADO, some JICAMA - the options are endless!
Ceviche has many variations you can play with. The marinade is, in my experience, the most important part. Here's one of my favorite recipes, which takes only 20 minutes (!) and focuses on the lime and avocado components:
Now, for the stuff that’s hard to make yourself, there are great options for buying plant-based tuna, salmon, shrimp, and other seafood dishes. Some of my favorites:
WANT LOBSTER? Buy it online from May Wah or NoPigNeva:
I’ll just quote from their website:
“Vegan lobster ready for your homemade lobster roll. Just add lemon juice, hearts of palm, and a dash of Old Bay for the summer favorite you’ve been dreaming about. No animal products whatsoever, just a little taste of Maine without a trip to the ocean.”
Caviart makes both black and orange plant-based caviar delicacies from seaweed which means no whales or other animals were butchered AND you get all the many health benefits of seaweed. You can buy this incredibleness at specialty stores or online. It's even on Amazon:
See also: https://caviart.com/products/
Want FISH, SHRIMP, FISH STICKS, FISH FILLET, TUNA, SALMON, ETC.?
One word for online ordering: NOPIGNEVA! Check out all their plant-based seafood options at https://nopigneva.com/product-category/seafood/
For in-store shopping, both Sophie’s Kitchen and Good Catch have wonderful vegan seafood options as well.
"Crab" Dip - The Fancy Version
As promised above, a cocktail party favorite fancy version of crab dip that you can make in 20 minutes (yes, truly!):
1. Combine 1 cup of raw cashews, 2 cups water, 1/2 a fresh squeezed lemon, 1 T chickpea miso, 1/3 cup nutritional yeast in your blender and blend until it's a creamy dip.
2. In a saute pan, heat a little olive or avocado oil and add a clove or two (to taste) of chopped garlic and about 1/2 cup minced shallots and sauté for 5 minutes. While it's sautéing, take 16 oz Lion's Mane mushrooms and tear them into bite-some morsels - this is your "crab." Pop the Lion's Mane mushrooms (if you're lucky enough to have access to Smallhold Lion's Mane mushrooms, these are what I use) along with 2 T of flour (I use cassava flour but you can really use any flour) into the pan and sauté another 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of a good dry, white wine (like your favorite Pinot Grigio) and an optional T of good sherry and sauté a final 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and pour in the blended dip you made first, very slowly, while stirring. The mixture should be thick and a little chunky. Pour it into a pretty serving bowl and garnish with a bit of parsley or green onions or both! You can season with salt or dulse and pepper, as well, if you like. You can also add vegan bacon bits. My favorite for melt-in-your-mouth are Foreal Foods coconut bacon, however, there are many, MANY vegan coconut bacon bits that are all wonderful.
Happy eating! Let me know if I missed your favorite seafood dish! I'll add it in! :)