Easter is almost here but first, people will celebrate Good Friday by making fish dishes. Many Catholics abstain from meat each Friday during Lent and on Good Friday, fish is the traditional main course at dinner time.
The good news is, you don’t need to use fish to make awesome seafood dishes. It’s totally possible to replicate the taste, texture and flavor of your favorite fish dishes without the fish. One of the best rules to follow is to use plant proteins like tempeh and tofu. Even mushrooms and hearts of palm are great for replicating the textures of seafood. After you have the right base, it’s all about the seasoning and the way you cook it. For seasoning, lemon, Old Bay Seasoning, and seaweed and the key to achieving that fishy flavor you know and love. Once you know all the tips and tricks, try these fish-free seafood dishes for your Good Friday dinner.
1. Trumpet Mushroom ‘Calamari’
Forget the squid and make this Trumpet Mushroom ‘Calamari’ instead. Mushrooms are an amazing substitute for meat in recipes, due to their satisfying taste and texture. Use flavors like lemon and Old Bay Seasoning to give it that familiar flavor. Serving the mushrooms in lettuce wraps is just one way you could enjoy this vegan calamari, but you could also enjoy the mushrooms by themselves as an appetizer.
2. Faux Fish Sticks with Coconut Basil Crema
Remember those frozen fish sticks your mom used to throw on a sheet pan and heat up in the toaster oven? We loved them. but these Faux Fish Sticks with Coconut Basil Crema are way better. Hearts of palm are the secret ingredient in these “un-fish” sticks, and you will be amazed at how similar they look and taste to traditional fish sticks! Vegetables – what can’t they do?
3. ‘Fish’ Pie with Tofu and Oyster Mushrooms
This ‘Fish’ Pie with Tofu and Oyster Mushrooms is a vegan version of the classic British dish. A good fish pie has different textures and flavors in it. The oyster mushrooms in this pie are chewy, while the tofu is soft, and the vegetables are crisp. The sauce is rich, thick and creamy, and the thick layer of cheesy mash on top is pure heaven.
4. Not Smoked Salmon Scramble
If you liked lox for breakfast, you’ll love this Not Smoked Salmon Scramble. Smoked carrot slivers look just like smoked salmon it and goes perfectly with a flavorful tofu scramble. You can also serve it with vegan cream cheese on a bagel. It just shows that we can make plant-based versions of anything! This may be intended for breakfast, but why not try something new and have brunch for dinner on Good Friday? This recipe is too good to pass up!
5. Baked ‘Fish’ Cakes with Lemon Herb Mayo
Chickpeas are a great substitute for fish, as in these Baked ‘Fish’ Cakes with Lemon Herb Mayo. Ingredients like miso, nori, and lemon give them that familiar flavor of the sea. They’re baked instead of fried, for a healthier version. Serve them with the lemon herb mayo that’s flavored with fresh parsley.
6. ‘Fish’ Style Parsnip Fillets
If you miss fried fish, you can have it again with only a few ingredients, and guess what? None of them are fish! These ‘Fish’ Style Parsnip Fillets may look like fish, but they are actually slices of parsnips. Lemon pepper, bread crumbs, remoulade, lemon juice, and dill turns these root veggies into a fishy dish that you will love.
7. Tempeh Fish n’ Chips with Tartar Sauce
The flakiness of tempeh makes it a perfect stand-in for fish in this Tempeh Fish n’ Chips with Tartar Sauce. Kelp flakes, lemon, and Old Bay Seasoning bring back the flavors of the sea. The “fish” is crunchy on the outside but tender and flaky on the inside. The fries are so crispy and flavorful and the tartar sauce is so perfect for dipping, you’ll feel like you’re dining in an Irish pub.
8. Vegan Tofu Scallops
These Vegan Tofu Scallops look just like sea scallops and the taste is so close, they might fool your guests into thinking that they’re really from the sea. These are so delicious and they make a beautiful presentation, no matter how you serve them. Try them over pasta or in a scampi or just make a bunch to serve as an appetizer or hors d’oeuvres.
9. Vegan Fish and Chips
In this recipe for Vegan Fish and Chips, marinated tofu gets seasoned and wrapped in nori to stand-in for fish. Instead of fried, these fillets are baked, so they are much lighter with next-to-no fat, less mess, and none of that “fried fish” aroma hanging in the air.
10. Battered Hearts of Palm ‘Crab’ Cakes With Tartar Sauce
In this recipe, hearts of palm are mashed up into a meaty texture and seasoned in a way that perfectly mimics the taste and texture of the Maryland classic. These Battered Hearts of Palm ‘Crab’ Cakes With Tartar Sauce are fried until crispy, then served with a dollop of creamy tangy homemade tartar sauce. These are best served on a bed of lettuce with fresh tomatoes.
11. ‘Fish’ Flavored Eggplant
No, there’s no fish in this Fish-Flavored Eggplant. It’s actually an authentic Chinese dish that is flavored with chili bean paste and soy sauce to give the eggplant a deceptively “fishy” taste. One bite of this sweet, sour, and spicy vegan fish-flavored eggplant is sure to make you feel like you’re eating an authentic Chinese seafood dish.
12. Vegan Cioppino (Italian-Style ‘Fish’ Stew)
Cioppino is a classic Italian-American recipe, and this Vegan Cioppino is a compassionate take on the hearty and rustic “fish” stew. Tofu stands in for the fish, but the rest of the recipe stays classic, with lots of vegetables and herbs simmered in a flavorful tomato broth.
13. Adobong Pusit (Filipino Squid)
Adobong pusit is a Filipino delicacy: “adobo” means to cook in garlic, soy sauce, and vinegar, and “pusit” means squid. The actual squid version has a black appearance, due to the squid ink. This vegan Adobong Pusit has the same look, thanks to mashed black beans, while chewy trumpet mushrooms replace the squid in this very flavorful dish.
14. Hearts of Palm Lobster Rolls
Lobster rolls are a classic New England dish you’ll find in many Massachusetts restaurants. These Hearts of Palm Lobster Rolls replicate the favorite by combining hearts of palm with vegan mayonnaise and all the right seasonings. This hearty sandwich has all the right flavors and textures that many of us know and love!
15. Vegan ‘Crab’ Cakes
Crab cakes are great for dinners and if you make them small, they’re the perfect party food. These ‘Crab’ Cakes are made with hearts of palm instead of crab with seafood seasoning that gives you the familiar crabby taste. They come together pretty fast and are easy to bake, so there’s no frying mess here!
16. Vegan Gefilte Fish
Forget the jarred fish. This Vegan Gefilte Fish looks and tastes just like it, but so much better. It’s made with chickpeas and sautéed vegetables. The fishy flavor comes from the seasoning – kelp and dulce flakes, Old Bay Seasoning, and lemon. They look just like Gefilte fish, the texture is spot on, and they taste like a much yummier version of the original.
17. Chickpea ‘Tuna’ Salad Sandwich
If your family craves tuna sandwiches, you have to make them this Chickpea ‘Tuna’ Salad Sandwich. Instead of tuna, these bad boys are made from chickpeas with seaweed flakes to give them that scent and taste of the sea. If you’re looking to keep it traditional, but simple on Good Friday, then this recipe will satisfy all of your cravings.
18. Vegan Nicoise Salad with Avocado
This hearty Vegan Nicoise Salad with Avocado is a delicious dish packed with fresh ingredients and intense flavors. The potatoes, green beans, vegan “tuna,” and avocado make this filling and satisfying. With romaine, tomatoes, and olives, you can enjoy all the flavor of the classic seafood salad without the fish.
19. Tofu ‘Shrimp’ Scampi
Scampi sauce is rich, luxurious and packed with butter. This Tofu Vegan “Shrimp” Scampi uses tofu in place of the shrimp and vegan butter but has all the classic flavors of the original. This is an elegant dish that’s perfect for the holidays, yet is very fast and easy to make.
20. Vegan Chickpea Tuna Melt Sandwich
Tuna melts can move over because this Vegan Chickpea Tuna Melt Sandwich is the new classic. The chickpeas are mixed with garlic, sweet pickle, celery seeds, mustard, and white miso. The combination of flavors makes this one of the most deliciously simple meals you’ll ever have. Spread the salad on bread with fresh tomatoes and then melt vegan provolone on top. This will be a go-to favorite in your house.
21. Eggplant Filet n’ Chips
In this vegan version of the classic dish, eggplant stands in for the fish. This Eggplant Filet n’ Chips has thin slices of eggplant marinated in seaweed, battered, and then baked until crisp. On the side are oil-free fries. It’s vegan, gluten-free, and fish-free. Incredible!
22. Creamy Vegan Not-Clam Chowder
When you want comfort food, reach for this Creamy Vegan Not-Clam Chowder. Made with cashews and potatoes and flavored with seaweed and lemon, this vegan, smoky mushroom clam chowder is ultra-creamy, and super thick, making it very rich and hearty.
23. Vegan Crab Cakes with Sweet Balsamic Mayo
These Vegan Crab Cakes are made from chickpeas and taste very similar to those made with fish, but they are so much better. Serve them on a bun with a homemade sweet balsamic mayo for the ultimate “fish” sandwich. Don’t forget an extra squeeze of lemon juice and a side of crispy fries!
24. UnTuna Wraps
Say so long to your classic tuna salad. These UnTuna Wraps look just like tuna and they taste just like tuna, but there is no tuna in them. In fact, what is in them are walnuts, olives, celery, relish, and some sea veggies. Try these and you’ll see for yourself that untuna is unbelievable.
25. ‘Crab’ Cakes with Green Tartar Sauce
Artichokes and chickpeas combine to make these vegan Crab Cakes that are baked instead of fried. Serve them with a green tartar sauce made from vegan mayo and avocado. These make a lovely light lunch or make them smaller for a delicious appetizer.
The holidays that fall in spring are all about renewed life so celebrate them with dishes that are the epitome of valuing life. These plant-based fish dishes are perfect for your Good Friday dinner.
Lead image source: Faux Fish Sticks with Coconut Basil Crema