Sublime Seafood Swaps
Let’s talk seafood. I have been in the throws of seafood heaven and never gave eating it a second thought. I still remember picking pin bones out of my teeth from my first McDonald’s fish fillet sandwich in childhood. Shooting oysters on Bourbon Street with my dearest BFFs. Fish Fry’s my entire life growing up in northern Wisconsin when not eating meat on Friday’s during Lent. Living the Alaskan fisherwoman’s dream, pulling crab pots full of King and Dungeness crab from the serene waters of the Gastineau Channel and catching salmon and halibut under grey and moody skies for a fresh seafood feast.
While on my journey to regain my health, I learned that even seafood can be detrimental and counterproductive to my goals. Chock full of heavy metals and saturated fats, even a food highly promoted as ‘healthful’ can be less so than we're led to think.
The GREAT news is that there are countless ways to get my seafood fix while letting the fish, and other sea creatures, swim happily in the lakes and oceans while I skip merrily in search of my wildest dreams.
One of my life’s greatest pleasures was sitting at the Seafood Bar in London’s Heathrow Airport-Terminal 4 with my BFF Lona! Always on the way to somewhere fabulous, I have NEVER tasted anything so incredible in my life and I’d fly thousands of miles every chance I got for that taste and that mesmerizing experience. Food is so much like that for all of us. So much of it is the taste but so much of it is also the memories conjured up of the people and places we love most.
There are some simple secrets to achieving perfectly flavored and textured seafood imposters, and incredible recipes online are growing daily. The creative souls that concoct this magic have my utmost respect.
The easiest way to a fish-less fix, is to grab a package of frozen Gardein Golden Fishless Filets from the freezer section and you won’t believe it’s not actual breaded and deep-fried fish filets. While this version is tasty and easy, a much healthier, and much wilder, idea is to make your own from whole plant foods and summon your creative spirit!
I have made smoked salmon out of tomatoes, carrots, zucchini and tofu; fish sticks from zucchini; crab cakes from artichoke hearts, chickpeas or jackfruit; tuna from tofu, chickpeas and even watermelon; calamari from hearts of palm; scallops from King Oyster mushrooms and sushi bowls out of all the above. Secrets that transform vegetables into seafood imposters lie in the way each is marinated, spiced or sauced, sometimes the way it’s prepared or sliced, but always mind-bogglingly delicious and satisfying!
Another secret is adding a bit of kelp, nori or dulse flakes to the marinade, which are all types of sea vegetables and add briny, oceany flavor and are incredibly full of vitamins and minerals and a great source of iodine. If you’ve had sushi rolls, you’ve probably eaten nori and this seaweed/sea vegetable thing is a whole other world of mind-blowing nutrition to explore that I’ll dive into (see what I did there?) soon!
So much of food joy for me comes from the textures, as much as the flavors of my food. The plant world provides a plethora of both and that propels me into the most exciting universe that I’ve ever explored in my culinary adventures. I hope you’ll join me and try some sublime seafood swaps.
For your Wild Meatless Monday Adventure, the sky’s the limit and really depends on your favorite go-to seafood lusts. An easy and tasty place to start is making a “no” tuna salad, like this one, from Hummusapien. It makes a delightful sandwich or wrap filling, leafy green salad topper, mix it into cooked small pasta shells and peas (like the cold tuna salad of my childhood!), also great in lettuce wraps or eaten straight out of the bowl. It’s so yummy and versatile that I bet you’ll make it again and again, like I do! Take it over-the-top by adding sliced red grapes, golden raisins or Craisins, chopped toasted pecans or walnuts and curry powder to taste! O.M.G.
If eating out, I ask for a tofu or mushroom swap! Sea…I mean SEE! There’s no reason not to indulge our “Meatless Monday” spirit of adventure when dining out in the wild!
Love + Lentils,