8 Companies Revolutionizing Plant-Based Seafood
The ocean is so vast and teeming with life that it seems indestructible, but this natural wonder is being pushed to the brink. Pollution, plastics, climate change, and deep-sea drilling all contribute to the destruction of our oceans, but one of the greatest threats to ocean life is overfishing.
Commercial fishing disrupts the fragile balance of the marine eco-system by destroying ocean habitats, depreciating the water quality, being a major source of plastic pollution, and incidentally catching non-targeted species (bycatch). In addition to the ecological damage, the increasing demand for seafood has resulted in many commercial fishing expeditions employing questionable labor practices and exposing workers to hazardous conditions that often put their health at risk.
Plant-based seafood alternatives play a crucial role in preserving the environment and mitigating the effects of commercial fishing. And that’s why Meatless Monday is thrilled to bring attention to innovative brands pushing the envelope of what can be created out of simple plant-based ingredients like seaweed, peas, lentils, tomatoes, and soy.
This Monday, consider how you can add some delicious seafood alternatives to your weekly menu.
Gardein offers a whole range of plant-based meat and seafood alternatives. Their fishless filets and crabless cakes look and taste like traditional fried seafood products, especially when paired with tartar sauce, malt vinegar, or a squeeze of fresh lemon.
Good Catch Foods
Good Catch Food’s signature product is fish-free tuna made from their trademarked six-plant protein blend, which includes pea, soy, chickpea, lentil, fava, and navy bean. Available in water or flavored with Mediterranean spices, oil, and herbs, Good Catch is a sustainable seafood alternative that’s easy to transform into tuna melts, sandwiches, croquettes. Good Catch has also recently released a line of frozen entrees and appetizers, so stay tuned for their plant-based crab cakes, sliders, and burgers.
IKEA’s “SJÖRAPPORT” Seaweed Pearls
As well as being a leader in paper lamps and inexpensive futons, IKEA is also a leader in…vegan caviar? Yes, you heard correctly. IKEA’s Seaweed Pearls mimic the texture and taste of traditional caviar — minus the fish eggs — by using kelp (a variety of seaweed). At $4.50 a jar, it’s a cheaper alternative to sturgeon. Check with your local IKEA before looking for these vegan gems; they are only available in select stores.
New Wave Foods makes a plant-based shrimp alternative using seaweed. Using this aquatic ingredient imparts a natural umami ocean flavor and chewy texture that mimics the taste and mouthfeel of traditional shrimp. Add them to scampi, shrimp tacos, or a plant-based Po’Boy. Although only available in foodservice, you can find New Wave products in restaurants and cafeterias.
Ocean Hugger Foods
Ocean Hugger Foods has managed to capture the taste, mouthfeel, and aesthetic of sushi without harming fish or oceans. This “farm-raised” sushi is made from a range of vegetables; their “tuna” is made from tomatoes and their “eel” is from eggplant. Packed with umami, these plant-based bites are definitely worth trying, and thanks to a recent partnership with a multinational food manufacturer, the company is preparing a 2021 roll out that includes both foodservice and retail markets.
If you’re looking to introduce your family to plant-based seafood, then Quorn’s fishless sticks are a good place to start. Breaded like any other fish stick, these totally vegan alternatives look, smell, and taste the part. Dip them in some tartar sauce, and you won’t even be able to tell the difference.
Sophie’s Kitchen sells a lineup of fishless seafood that will rival your grocery store’s seafood counter (well, almost). They have everything: crab cakes, shrimp, breaded fish fillets, coconut shrimp, “toona,” and even smoked salmon, whose primary ingredient is konjac, an edible tuber similar to a yam. Toast some bagels and smear the tofu cream cheese, and you’re ready for brunch.
Fish sauce is a staple of Southeast-Asian cuisine, which means you’ve likely tasted it in your Pad Thai. The real stuff is made from fermented fish; Tofuna makes their Fysh Sauce with tamari, rice vinegar, pineapple juice, seaweed, and wasabi. If you want to explore the vegan fish sauce market or just add a pop of umami to your plant-based cooking, Ocean’s Halo No Fish Sauce and Yondu Vegetable Umami are good alternatives.
Recipe ideas for plant-based seafood on Meatless Monday