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5 Shrimp Substitutes for Vegans

Shrimp Substitute
Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / Shutterbug75

If you have been searching for vegan shrimp substitutes, look no further! We’ve put together a list of 5 shrimp swaps, all of which are suitable for vegans.

Shrimp is one of the most consumed seafood items in America, with the average person eating more than four and a half pounds of shrimp per year. When cooked, they have a mild fishy taste and are quite sweet. Juicy and versatile, it’s no wonder shrimp are so loved. However, just over half of the shrimp we eat is farmed, and the majority is imported from overseas aquaculture farms. Many of these farms pollute the ground water and agricultural land, and can harm wild marine populations. Wild shrimp are also fished but the nets damage the seabed, marine habitat,s and results in unavoidable by-catch. With this in mind even the non-vegan among us might be looking for more environmentally friendly shrimp alternatives.

If you are following a vegan diet or have a seafood allergy, or maybe you would simply like to reduce your seafood consumption to make more sustainable choices, we have five suggestions for you. Keep in mind that not all shrimp substitutes are suitable for all recipes, so select the best one for your vegan shrimp needs!

1. Seitan Jumbo Shrimp For Dipping

Vegan shrimp substitute made from seitan, carrot and rice paper.
Vegan shrimp substitute made from seitan, carrot and rice paper. (Foto: Amy Mason / Utopia)

Seitan as a vegan shrimp substitute is perfect for dipping, breading, or coating, and would be great added at the end of a stir fry or chop suey. Tender on the inside, with a satisfying rice paper ‘skin’, these are simple and fun to make.

Yields approximately 14 jumbo vegan shrimp

Ingredients:

For the shrimp

  • 1 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 2 tbsp. chickpea flour
  • 1 tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powde
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. miso paste
  • 1 tsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup finely grated carrots
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. dried nori flakes
  • rice paper, for wrapping

For the cooking liquid

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 sheet of nori
  • a piece of dried kelp
  • 1 tsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. salt

Instructions:

  1. Add the vital wheat gluten, chickpea flour, nutritional yeast, onion powder, garlic powder and salt to a medium sized bowl and mix together.
  2. Mix the miso, tomato paste and soy sauce with 4 tablespoons of water together in a cup.
  3. Stir the carrots and nori flakes into the flour.
  4. Add the wet mixture to the flour and mix to combine. Add more water, a tablespoon at a time until a dough is formed.
  5. Knead the dough for a few minutes on a clean work surface. Return it to the bowl and cover with a clean tea towel and let it rest for 10 minutes.
  6. Add the cooking liquid ingredients to a small pan and bring to a boil. Flatten the dough a little bit so that it resembles a large burger patty. Add to the pan and turn the heat down. Simmer the dough for around 30 minutes, turning it over half way through.
  7. Remove from the pan and allow to rest until cold.
  8. Slice the dough into strips for the shrimp.
  9. Soak a sheet of rice paper in water, and wrap each strip of seitan. Trim one end at the ‘head’, and leave a little extra on the other end for the ‘tail’. Curl slightly to resemble a shrimp and secure with a tooth pick. Repeat until all the strips have been wrapped
  10. Heat a little oil in a pan and fry for 2 minutes on each side until crisp, and dip into your favorite vegan sauce. They taste great dipped into  vegan sriracha mayo.

2. King Oyster Mushroom For Panko Shrimp

King oyster mushrooms can make an excellent substitute for shrimp, especially if the recipe you are following requires breaded shrimp.
King oyster mushrooms can make an excellent substitute for shrimp, especially if the recipe you are following requires breaded shrimp. (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / peter-facebook)

King oyster mushrooms are firm yet tender and have a fantastic ability to soak up flavor. They make an excellent shrimp substitute, especially when coated in panko breadcrumbs and fried.

Simply slice and prepare the stalks of two king oyster mushrooms into ‘c’ shapes to resemble small shrimp. Marinate for an hour in 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, a tablespoon of nori flakes, and half a teaspoon of maple syrup mixed with half a cup of water.

Remove the mushrooms from the marinade, dip in to a little home made oat milk, coat in panko breadcrumbs and fry in hot oil until crisp.

3. Firm Tofu For Dumplings

Tofu is nutritious and can easily mimic the texture of minced shrimp.
Tofu is nutritious and can easily mimic the texture of minced shrimp. (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / PerfectLinks)

Tofu can make an excellent shrimp substitute when a recipe calls for ground or minced shrimp, for example in a recipe for dumplings or pot stickers. For the best dumpling results, make sure to use firm tofu. Press out the excess water and then crumble before adding herbs and spices so that it can absorb all the flavors.

5. Silken Tofu As a Shrimp Cocktail Substiute

Juicy and soft, silken tofu is great in a vegan shrimp cocktail.
Juicy and soft, silken tofu is great in a vegan shrimp cocktail. (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / waichi2021)

For a quick and easy vegan shrimp cocktail, considerg silken tofu as a shrimp substitute. Silken tofu has a completely different texture to the firm sort, and has a higher water content. Remove a block of organic silken tofu from its packaging and chop into uneven chunks. Mix into some vegan thousand island dressing, and layer with chopped cob salad. Serve with fresh lemon wedges, a sprinkle of smoked paprika and homemade soda bread.

5. Asparagus As a Vegan Prawn Taco Filling

Asparagus makes for a simple and delicious shrimp alternative i a sandwich or a taco.
Asparagus makes for a simple and delicious shrimp alternative i a sandwich or a taco. (Foto: Amy Mason / Utopia)

Although it won’t have the same taste as shrimp, asparagus is juicy and has a satisfying snap to it when you eat it — just like shrimp! Plus it’s high in folate and a great source of vitamin K. Easy to prepare, asparagus would make a good shrimp substitute in a sandwich or a taco.

Allow 2-3 spears of organic or wild asparagus per sandwich or taco. Wash well, and either barbecue or grill whole, or cut into 1 inch pieces and fry for a few minutes. Once cooked, allow to cool and season with chilli lime salt, black pepper, a little garlic powder, a squeeze of organic lime juice and some smoked paprika. Serve with salsa and fresh cilantro — or whatever fillings you like!

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