Fish-free recipes


So what do you eat instead for a bit of ocean-style nutrition and flavour? Well, Viva!Health has created some fish-friendly alternatives to favourites old and new. While nothing tastes identical to fish, sea vegetables have a definite sea-tang and are very tasty! Such foods may be unfamiliar to you but were eaten regularly by UK coastal-dwellers until quite recently and are still consumed in huge quantities throughout the rest of the world – Japan and China in particular.

Sea vegetables are the true ‘fruits de mer’ or fruits of the sea, not shellfish. Not only do they add flavour to food, each variety is a nutritional powerhouse, crammed with vitamins and minerals in an easily digestible format. Indeed, they are one of the main components of the Okinawan diet, responsible for more healthy nonagenarians and centenarians than anywhere else in the world. Go sea veggies!

For those of you who want a quick and convenient alternative to fish there are products on the market that are similar but vegan – they contain no fish or any other animal product (eg Redwoods Vegetarian Fish Style Fingers and Fillets). You can keep these in the fridge for those evenings when you’re late home and just want a really quick supper. For the more adventurous, try these fabulous easy-to-follow recipes.


Tofu Chowder

Serves 6-8
clock Prep time: 30 minutes
Chowder is a traditional recipe from New England, USA and is a
delicious dish somewhere between a soup and stew – very filling!
Often made with clams (seafood), this fish-friendly variation is a great
alternative. Kombu and nori, two varieties of sea vegetable, add a
gentle taste of the ocean as well as providing important nutrients (see
nutritional content of selected sea vegetables on page 49).



1 tbsp oil


1 medium onion, chopped


2 carrots, chopped small


3 celery stalks, diced


500ml/18fl oz vegan stock (eg Marigold Swiss Vegetable Bouillon in red or purple tub, available from good supermarkets or health stores – or use equivalent Oxo Vegetable)


450ml/16fl oz soya milk


225/8oz tofu, crumbled


Salt to taste (remember stock will be salty)


½ tsp black pepper


½ tsp celery seed (use celery salt if not available)


2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed


1 strip kombu (sea vegetable, available from health and Oriental



2-3 tbsp nori flakes, according to taste. Plus more for serving (available

from health stores OR make equivalent from a sheet of whole nori

(also available from health and Oriental stores and some larger

supermarkets). Just toast the sheet over a cooker ring or gas ring for a

few seconds until it turns crispy, then crumble with your fingers)


Small pinch allspice powder

1 Heat the oil in a large cooking pot.
2 Add the onion, carrots and celery and sauté for 15 minutes.
3 Add the stock, kombu, soya milk and stir.
4 Add the tofu, salt, pepper, nori flakes, celery seed and allspice and bring
to a boil.
5 Add the potatoes, reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes
are soft.
6 If desired, blend 2-3 ladles of the soup along with the kombu then
return the mixture to pan and stir into rest of soup. Otherwise,
discard kombu and don’t blend.

Serve with a sprinkling of nori flakes in each bowl.



Veggie Sushi

Makes 6-8 pieces
clock Prep time: 30 minutes
This is a fun recipe to make – don’t be put off by the instructions as you prepare everything while the rice is cooking so it’s pretty quick to do! It’s also just as easy to make a larger batch (for a party, for example) as the rolling up process doesn’t take very long.
Wasabi is a very hot green powder that is made to a paste by adding a little water. Known as ‘Japanese horseradish’, it has an extremely potent kick rather like very strong mustard. You only need a minute amount – about the head of a match! – but it does give a very special taste to the sushi, along with a dash of good quality soya sauce, such as Essential, Suma, Kikkoman or Clearspring brands. These products are available from large supermarkets and good health stores.


o 115g/5oz short grain brown rice
o 230-300ml/8-10fl oz cold water
o 1 tsp vegan low-salt bouillon powder
o 1 sheet nori (check packet to see if it’s ready-toasted or not)
o 1½ tsp tahini
o 1 tbsp shoyu soya sauce
o 1 medium carrot, grated
o 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
o A small handful dried arame, soaked in water for 10 minutes then rinsed and drained
Plus any one of these options:
o Thinly sliced cucumber
o Thin strips of avocado
o Sauerkraut (pickled cabbage in a jar)
o Toasted sesame seeds
o Spring onion greens, chopped
To serve: Wasabi to taste (see above) 2 tbsp soya sauce and 2 tbsp cold water, mixed together (preferably shoyu or tamari type)





o Select from these: 2 handfuls of Pak Choi, Cos, Lollo Rosso, Lamb’s lettuce plus 1 handful of watercress and/or rocket
o Beansprouts
1 Cook the rice in the water and bouillon powder until it is wellcooked and slightly sticky – about 25-30 minutes. (Add a little more water if necessary but don’t drown it. You want all the liquid to be absorbed by the end of the cooking process.)
2 Meanwhile, grate the carrot and ginger and soak the arame. Prepare one ingredient from the list of options and make the salad now if you have time.
3 If you don’t have a sushi mat, wet a clean teatowel and wring it out well so that it’s just a little damp.
4 Let the rice cool. It should be fairly sticky and just slightly warm – this makes it easier to roll. Mix in the shoyu soya sauce and the grated ginger and stir thoroughly.
5 If the nori isn’t ready-toasted, do this now – simply toast it carefully by holding it by a corner over a gas flame or hot electric ring until it turns green.
6 Place the nori sheet carefully on sushi mat/damp teatowel.
7 Spread the rice thinly on the nori sheet, leaving a 1cm/½ inch gap at the top and bottom.
8 With a chopstick or handle of a wooden spoon, make a horizontal indentation in the middle of the rice.
9 Spread the tahini in the gap and then add the grated carrot and arame.
10 Add your chosen option from the list.
11 Using the mat/teatowel, roll the nori up into a mini Swiss roll, making sure you keep pulling the leading edge of the mat/ teatowel back so it doesn’t get rolled into the sushi.
12 Continue rolling tightly until the uncovered top edge of the nori is reached.
13 Wet this edge with a little cold water and complete rolling – this will seal the sushi.
14 Slice the roll in half with a sharp knife, making sure you cut through all the nori.
15 Then slice each half into 3 or 4 pieces.
16 Serve on the nicest plate you have, preferably plain white, with the soya sauce dip, a dab of wasabi and the green salad.


Rice, Carrot and Arame Salad

Serves 4
clock Prep time: 30 minutes (less if you have pre-cooked rice)
This isn’t a fish replacement as such but has a lovely simple, fresh taste with a hint of the sea! Arame is a fantastic source of protein, calcium, iodine and potassium.
rice carrot and arame salad


o 170g/6oz brown rice
o 1 tsp vegan bouillon powder or ½ a stock cube (eg Marigold, Kallo or Oxo Vegetable)
o 600ml/21fl oz water
o 1 large carrot, grated finely
o 1 handful arame, soaked in water for 10 minutes, then drained (the liquid can be put aside for soup stock)
o 4 tbsp sesame oil (use cold-pressed sunflower if you can’t get sesame)
o 2 tbsp cider vinegar
o 2 tbsp fresh orange juice
o 2 tsp soya sauce
1 Put the brown rice, bouillon powder and water on to heat.
2 Bring to boil then reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes, adding a little more water if rice starts to stick.
3 Meanwhile, soak the arame.
4 Grate the carrot and put aside.
5 Make the dressing by mixing all ingredients together in a jar.
6 When the rice is cooked, leave it to cool.
7 Add arame and carrot and mix in well with rice.
8 Add some of the dressing, coating ingredients well.
9 Serve with a wholemeal roll or with other salads as part of a buffet.
Options: Add ½ cup of cooked wild rice, unsalted peanuts or cooked pulses, such as whole lentils or adzuki beans.


Tofu ‘Fish’ Fingers

Makes 8-12 sticks (about 4 servings)

Prep time: 45 minutes

15 minutes preparation

30 minutes cooking

This recipe is adapted from the Vegan Lunch Box
tofu fish finger


Nori is a sea vegetable more commonly used to wrap round sushi, so you may already have tried this wonderful product. It’s a good source of protein, calcium and vitamin A.
o 450g/1 lb firm tofu, drained
o 120g/4oz fine cornmeal (polenta) OR 75g/2½ oz white flour
o 60g/2oz flaked almonds
o 2 tsp paprika
o 2 tsp nori flakes
o 1 tsp salt
o ½ tsp onion powder
o ½ tsp garlic powder
o ¼ tsp dried dill
o Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
o 80ml/3fl oz unsweetened soya milk
o Juice of 1 lemon
o Olive oil or olive oil spray
1 Preheat the oven to 200ºC/100ºF/Gas Mark 6.
2 Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper and lightly coat with olive oil.
Set aside.
3 Make the coating mixture by blending the cornmeal or flour, almonds,
paprika, nori, salt, onion and garlic powder, dill, and black pepper until
most of the almonds have been turned into a coarse meal, with a few
larger pieces of almond remaining.
4 Pour the mixture into a wide baking dish or similar.
5 Place the soya milk in a bowl next to the coating mixture.
6 Cut the tofu into fish finger-shaped slices – they should be about 1cm/just
under ½ inch deep.
7 Working with one piece at a time, dip the tofu into the soya milk, then toss
gently in the coating mixture until evenly covered.
8 Place tofu fingers on the prepared baking sheet. When they are all done,
sprinkle them lightly with olive oil or oil spray.
9 Bake for 15 minutes, then turn and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until crispy.
10 Transfer to a plate, and squeeze some fresh lemon juice evenly over the tofu fingers.
11 Serve with mashed potatoes, peas and/or salad. Try them with our Tasty Tartar Sauce (see page 43).


Faux Fish Fillets

Serves 4-6
clock Prep time: 30 minutes
This makes a great fish-free supper.
fish fillets


o 450g/1 lb plain, firm tofu
o 1 tsp egg replacer made as directed on packet (eg 1tsp Organ brand, available from large supermarkets and health stores, mixed with 2 tsp water)
o 2 tsp nori flakes n 2 tbsp soya sauce
o 30g/1oz wheatgerm OR fine breadcrumbs
o 30g/1oz white flour n ¼ tsp paprika
o ¼ tsp dried basil n Pinch of dried thyme
o Oil for frying (use oil spray if you are watching your fat intake)
1 Cut the tofu into ¾ cm/¼ inch thick slices so you have several thin ‘steaks’ or fillets.
2 Wrap the slices in a clean tea towel or thick paper towels and pat to remove excess moisture.
3 Beat the egg replacer, soya sauce and nori flakes together in a small bowl and set aside.
4 Combine the wheatgerm or breadcrumbs, white flour, paprika, basil and thyme on a plate.
5 Heat the oil or oil spray in a large non-stick or heavy frying pan.
6 Dip each slice of tofu into the egg replacer mixture, and then coat both sides in the wheatgerm mixture.
7 Fry the slices until golden brown on both sides.
8 Serve with new potatoes and salad or green vegetables and Tasty Tartar Sauce (see page 43).


Tasty Tartar Sauce

Makes 1 jar – halve or quarter the quantities if you just want enough for one meal.
clock Prep time: 5 minutes
This tangy sauce enhances any faux fish dish.
tartar sauce


o 225g/8oz soft or medium-firm tofu
o 4 tbsp sunflower oil n ½ tsp salt
o 2 tsp prepared English mustard
o 2 tbsp sweet pickle (if large lumps, chop fine)
o 2 tsp capers, drained and rinsed n 1 tsp fresh chives, chopped (optional)
1 Blend together the tofu, oil, salt, and mustard in a food processor until smooth.
2 Stir in the pickle and capers top with chives (optional) and serve.
For a quick and simple alternative version, combine 1 tbsp vegan mayonnaise (eg Plamil or Granovita brands) with 2 tsp good quality capers, chopped. Serves two.


Veggie Fish Sauce

Serves 2-4
clock Prep time: 5 minutes
Veggie versions of fish sauce are available in some health stores, but this version is fast and cheap to make! The recipe makes a very small jar’s worth (it will keep for a couple of weeks in the fridge) and is suitable for use in veggie Thai/Vietnamese dishes instead of standard fish sauce. Alternatively, use it as a sauce with tofu – just fry the tofu pieces in the usual way until golden brown, then add a little of the sauce at the end so it sizzles into the tofu, making it a deeper colour.
fish sauce


o 1 tbsp brown sugar
o 2 tbsp good quality soya sauce (eg Kikkoman, Essential or Suma brands)
o 2 tbsp water
o 1 tbsp roasted peanuts
o 2 tsp nori flakes
o Pinch of chilli powder or more to taste
1 Blend all the ingredients together until smooth.
2 Thin with a little more water to soya sauce consistency.
3 Store in the fridge in a bottle or screw top jar.



Serves 4-6
clock Prep time: 40 minutes – put the rice on first and prepare and cook everything else meanwhile.
Kedgeree comes from ‘Kitcheree’, a traditional Indian dish of rice and lentils which the British Raj somehow converted into a posh breakfast dish containing smoked fish and hard-boiled egg! Our delicious veggie version contains no fish or eggs, of course, but does include nutty brown rice, smoked tofu and a few other magical ingredients. It’s good for brunch, lunch or dinner and nice served with a large green salad – or steamed greens in the winter.


o 400g/14oz long grain brown rice, rinsed well (use brown basmati if you can afford it!)
o 600ml/21fl oz cold water n 1 heaped tsp vegan bouillon or ½ stock cube (eg Marigold or Kallo brands, otherwise use Oxo Vegetable)
o Large handful of arame
o 1 tbsp vegetable oil
o 1 large onion, peeled and chopped quite small
o 3 large cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
o 1 red or orange pepper – de-seeded and chopped quite small
o 2 tsp paprika
o ¼ tsp chilli powder
o 1-2 tsp mild curry powder, according to taste
o 1 packet smoked tofu (eg Taifun or Cauldron brands), chopped into bite-sized pieces
o 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
o Half a tin of low-fat coconut milk
o 2 tbsp nori flakes
o 2 tsp vegan bouillon or 1 stock cube (see above for brands)
o 110g/4oz cooked whole green or brown lentils (about ½ a tin, drained and well rinsed)
o Large handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
o Lemon wedges n Optional: hot pepper sauce on the side for those who like their food spicy!


1 Cook the rice in a heavy, covered pan with the water and bouillon/stock cube.
2 Bring the rice to the boil then reduce heat and simmer with lid on for 40 minutes. Check 10 minutes before the end of cooking that all the water has been absorbed – add a little more hot water if the rice is still very chewy. By the end of cooking you want the rice tender and dry.
3 Soak the arame in cold water and set aside.
4 Chop the vegetables then fry the onions and crushed garlic in the oil for about 5 minutes.
5 Add the peppers, chilli, curry powder and paprika and cook for a further 5 minutes or so, stirring continuously.
6 Rinse and drain the arame.
7 Add the smoked tofu and black pepper to the onion mixture, then the coconut milk, nori, arame and 2 tsp bouillon/1 stock cube.
8 Stir until all is heated through and then add the hot cooked rice, lentils and parsley, gently stirring everything well to distribute all ingredients evenly.
9 Serve with more parsley on top of each plate and a wedge of lemon per person to squeeze on the kedgeree.


Sweet & Sour Veggie King Prawns with Steamed Oriental Vegetables and Brown Rice

Serves 4

Prep time: 35-40 minutes

10 minutes preparation

25 minutes cooking



This is both delicious and quick, as the vegetable and sauce preparation can be done while the rice is cooking. Check your local Oriental supermarket as they may sell veggie prawns in the freezer cabinet (we found them at Wai Hee Yong in Bristol). Otherwise, you can buy the tasty king ‘prawns’ by mail order from (item no. KC29). This company sells an amazing range of vegan and vegetarian faux fish and meat products and also has a restaurant near Milton Keynes!
o 225g/8oz short grain brown rice
o 1 tsp reduced salt vegan bouillon powder or ½ a reduced salt vegan stock cube (eg Marigold or Kallo brands)
o 2 carrots, cut into thin strips n 2 courgettes, cut into thin strips n 1 small head broccoli, cut into thin pieces (peel the stalk, discard the peelings and use the rest of stalk cut into sticks)
o 225g/8oz mange tout, halved n Large bunch spring onions, sliced
o 1 pack of veggie prawns, defrosted, plus a little oil to fry (about 1 tbsp)
o 3 tomatoes, chopped fine n Large carrot, grated n ½ an onion, roughly chopped
o 2-3 tbsp date syrup or other natural sweetener, to taste n 30g/1oz sun-dried tomatoes (not in oil), chopped
o 2 tbsp cider OR white wine vinegar
o 2 tbsp Aminos (eg Braggs or Marigold brands available from health stores) OR 1 tbsp soya sauce
o 1 tsp plain or sunflower oil n 1cm/½ inch piece fresh ginger, grated fine
o 1 clove garlic, crushed n Quarter of a red chilli, de-seeded (unless you like very hot food) and finely chopped OR a pinch or two of chilli powder, to taste


1 Put brown rice on to cook first in a heavy-bottomed pan.
2 Cover rice with about 2 inches of water covering it and add bouillon/stock cube.
3 Bring to boil then reduce heat and simmer – top up with a little hot water if it gets too dry before being fully cooked.
4 Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables.
5 Steam all the vegetables until just cooked – 5-10 minutes.
6 Now fry the ‘prawns’ in a little hot oil for a couple of minutes – when cooked, set aside and keep warm
7 Heat the sauce ingredients (but don’t boil), then blend.
8 Drain any surplus liquid from rice and serve, placing vegetables then ‘prawns’ on top.
9 Pour sauce in a serving bowl and serve separately, alongside the main dish.



Serves 6
clock Prep time: Allow 60 minutes for the first time you cook this; it will be quicker next time!
This is a wonderful alternative to traditional Paella, and great for dinner parties. Don’t be put off by the length of the recipe – the Paella ingredients can be measured and prepared while the Pilaf rice (the basis) is cooking, or you can cook the Pilaf in advance. Leftover Pilaf freezes well, also.


Saffron Basmati Pilaf:
o 1 medium onion, finely chopped
o 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
o 1 tsp olive oil n 1½ tsp ground cumin
o 1 tsp fennel seed n ¼ tsp ground pepper
o ½ tsp salt n 450g/1lb brown basmati rice
o ½ tsp saffron, steeped in 4 tbsp warm water
o 840ml/30fl oz vegetable stock
1 In a medium-sized heavy saucepan, sauté the onion and garlic in oil over a medium heat until just softened.
2 Add the cumin, fennel seed, pepper and salt.
3 Sauté for 1 minute.
4 Add the rice and stir constantly for about 2 minutes or until the rice smells fragrant.
5 Add the saffron and stock; bring to the boil and cover.
6 Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20-25 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed.
7 Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes.



o 2 medium onions, cut into 1cm/½ inch pieces
o 4 cloves garlic, crushed
o 2 red peppers, chopped
o 1 tbsp olive oil
o ½ tsp dried oregano
o ¾ tsp red chilli flakes
o ½ tsp grated orange zest (about half an orange’s worth)
o ¾ tsp cumin seeds
o 25g/1oz dried arame (sea vegetable available from health stores), soaked in warm water for 10 minutes
o 1 tin chopped tomatoes
o 6oz smoked tofu, cut into 1cm/½ inch cubes (eg Cauldron brand available from large supermarkets, Taifun, Clearspot, Dragonfly etc from good health stores)
o 2 courgettes, halved lengthways and cut into 1cm/½ inch slices
o 2 tsp capers, drained
o ¼ cup pitted black olives, chopped
o Greens for 6: choose from curly kale, green cabbage or purple sprouting broccoli
o 225g/8oz mushrooms, sliced if big, halved if small
o 4 cups Saffron Basmati Pilaf (see recipe 47)
o 2 tbsp parsley, chopped


Aioli (Garlic Mayonnaise):

1 2 tbsp Plamil vegan mayonnaise thinned with 1 tbsp soya milk
2 1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
o Lightly fry the onions, garlic and peppers in olive oil in a paella pan for about 5 minutes.
o Add the oregano, chilli flakes, orange zest and cumin seeds and continue to sauté for 1 minute.
o Drain and rinse the arame.
o Add the tomatoes, smoked tofu, courgettes, arame, capers and black olives.
o Steam the greens for 5 minutes in another pan.
o Reduce the heat under the paella to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes while the greens are cooking.
o Add the mushrooms to the paella and sauté for another minute or two.
o Stir in the Saffron Basmati Pilaf and parsley.
o Heat through.
o Adjust seasoning if necessary.
o Drain the greens.
o Mix the mayonnaise, soya milk and garlic together to make aioli.
o Serve the paella in middle of large plate, arrange the greens around the edges and put a dab of the Aioli in the middle.
Top Tip: If you don’t have a paella pan you can use a large frying pan or wok.


Sea Vegetables

Sea vegetables have been used in the UK for thousands of years – we’re island folk after all, and our ancestors valued them as a delicious and nutrient-rich part of their diet. Laver bread – made from dulse – is a well-known Welsh dish, but other types of sea vegetables, such as kelp, were also eaten throughout England, Scotland and Ireland. If you like to buy local food, choose Atlanticfarmed varieties. However, the Japanese types are well worth investigating – and overall have a very low carbon footprint compared to fish or other animal foods!

Sea vegetables vary in their nutrients, but their riches include generous quantities of iodine, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin K and some B vitamins. Indeed, nearly all of them are far higher in calcium than cow’s milk – arame contains a staggering 1,120 milligrams per 100 grams, compared to 118 milligrams per 100 grams in cow’s milk. In addition, sea vegetables contain good amounts of lignans, plant compounds reported to have cancer protective properties.

Regarding iodine, while many of us in the UK have iodine levels that are too low, as with all minerals and vitamins, it’s also important not to have too much! Just check the packaging for recommended intake. The RDA for adults is 140 micrograms per day – children need much less.

And of course, not only are sea vegetables kinder to animals and the planet, but their nutrients are more easily absorbed by the body. Being lower down the food chain also makes them far less polluted than fish.

Sea vegetables are available from good health and Oriental stores and (mainly nori sheets) in some larger supermarkets. Most require soaking in water before cooking, except for nori. If using kombu or wakame as part of a soup, you do not need to soak it, just add it to the pan and let it cook in the soup. While most people love nori, arame and hijiki, if you aren’t keen on the texture of kombu and wakame, simply add during cooking and remove before serving, or blend with the food you’ve cooked them in.

Getting to know your sea vegetables

Arame (pronounced ‘ahrahmay’) thin black slivers that look a bit like dry tangled string until hydrated. It has a fairly mild, sweetish flavour and can be added to stews, soups, salads and is very good with rice. It is an excellent source of protein, calcium, iodine and potassium.

Hijiki looks very like arame, but with a milder taste. Kombu (kelp) dried strips, often used to make stock for Japanese miso soup. Also excellent when cooked with pulses – a strip of kombu reduces the ‘flatulent’ qualities of beans and lentils! Remove from the pan before serving – or else blend with stock for future use.

Kombu is very rich in iodine and calcium, so much so that people in Eastern countries who use a lot of kombu in cooking don’t need to use iodised salt. Kelp powder is another good way of using this superfood (don’t overdo it though as the iodine level is quite high).

Wakame looks rather like kombu until hydrated, when it fans into large leaves. Also used for soup stock, amongst other things. It’s even richer in calcium than kombu, though much lower in iodine.

Nori paper-thin sheets of black-coloured compressed sea vegetable, used to make sushi wraps. Dulse is its wild relative found around the British Isles, whereas nori is farmed in Japan and has a milder taste. Nori is sold in thin, pre-toasted sheets, but also comes in flakes (eg Green Nori Sprinkle from Clearspring) as a condiment to sprinkle over soup, rice and salads.

Dulse very rich in iron and protein. (See Nori).

Agar-agar a vegan alternative to gelatine, can be used to set jellies and so forth.

Nutritional content of 100 grams of selected sea vegetables







 Fat -

of which










































































































Too much iodine can be harmful, see packaging for recommended weekly intake