Tuna is a fish with a wide range of culinary variations. This fish may be found on many midweek menus in homes, whether you prefer flaked tuna in a sandwich or pasta bake or juicy tuna steaks! But what if your family doesn’t like tuna or if your preferred seafood is hard to find?
What alternatives to tuna are best? Other fresh fish with a comparable texture and flavor to tuna, such as halibut or salmon, or other types of tinned fish work best as substitutes (ex. sardines and salmon). You may cook vegan substitutes like jackfruit and cauliflower like steaks, and you can use crushed chickpeas in place of canned tuna.
We have all the bases covered for you right here, whether you’re looking for a fish to replace tuna or a vegan or vegetarian substitute. Now let’s look at the greatest alternatives to tuna.
What Is Tuna?
Tuna is a popular fish in many families due to its flexibility and flavor. These magnificent fish, which can be found in many different oceans all over the world, have a very distinct taste and texture. Although there are numerous tuna species, only a few are frequently harvested for human consumption. If you enjoy tuna steaks or sushi, it is very likely that these were created from bluefin tuna. Albacore tuna is typically collected for canning, though skipjack and yellowfin tuna may also be found in cans.
Tuna fish are one of the ocean’s true giants, weighing up to 1,500 pounds. This means that a single tuna can feed a lot of people! So, in the past, a number of methods were used to preserve this fish for extended periods of time, as it was rare that a family could eat a whole fish before it went bad. Today, we eat tuna in many of the same ways, and both fresh and tinned tuna are often accessible.
Fresh tuna is usually available at your local fishmonger or at the grocery store’s fish counter. When purchasing tuna steaks, make sure they are as fresh as possible and keep them cold on ice until ready to cook. a bowl of canned tuna (detailed close-up shot) Canned tuna is a terrific, low-cost method to provide a healthy amount of protein to your family.
Canned tuna comes in a number of formats, including substances such as brine, oil, or spring water. These cans have a rather lengthy shelf life and are an excellent last-minute supper addition. Nutritionists are always pushing people to consume more fish, and tuna is a good option.
It is high in healthy fats and protein while being low in calories. Tuna also contains omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and selenium. However, because of the high mercury concentration, some people are concerned about eating tuna on a daily basis. This is caused by contaminated saltwater and is more prevalent in larger tuna species such as albacore.
Food safety experts recommend consuming albacore tuna no more than once per week. Skipjack tuna has a reduced mercury content but is typically only available in canned form. Don’t worry if you’re concerned about the mercury levels in tuna or seeking for a vegetarian alternative. We’ve got some fantastic tuna replacements that will satisfy any palate.
What Does Tuna Taste Like?
The type of fish, the location where it was caught, and the method of preparation all have a slight impact on the flavor of the tuna. The sweetness and mild fish flavor of tuna is one of its distinguishing qualities. Because of this, many individuals who ordinarily dislike fish will cheerfully consume a tuna lunch. The texture of tuna is just as crucial as the flavor when it comes to eating it.
While many fish can compete in flavor with tuna, these other options frequently disintegrate while cooking. The ability to cut tuna into steaks or thinly slice it for sushi is due to its robust, meaty texture. The texture of tuna in cans is very important. When torn apart with a fork, high-quality canned tuna should have a hard texture but flake readily. It will easily combine with other ingredients, such as salad dressing or mayonnaise.
While tuna is firm and keeps its shape nicely when cooked, eating it is a different story. This delicious fish practically melts in your tongue and is not at all chewy. It has a rich, meaty, somewhat creamy, and remarkably moist texture.
How Is Tuna Used?
One of the reasons tuna is so popular is because it can be prepared and consumed in a variety of ways. Tuna steaks can be grilled, roasted, broiled, or chopped into skewer kebabs. They can be thinly sliced for sushi or grilled and put on a salad. Tuna is one of the few fish that can be eaten raw, and many people prefer to dish it rare. Canned tuna can be used in salads, dips, or as a sandwich filling when blended with mayonnaise. It also works great in cooked recipes like tuna pasta bake.
The Best Substitutes For Tuna
Now that we’ve got your interest peaked in tuna, it’s time to consider alternatives to this mouthwatering fish. Don’t be discouraged if you have trouble finding tuna at your neighborhood grocery shop; there are lots of other fishy options available! Fish substitutes that are suitable for vegetarians or vegans can be challenging to find. Fortunately, we have not just one, but three excellent suggestions for you to select from! Here are the top tuna alternatives without further ado.
1. Halibut Steaks
If you enjoy a fantastic seared tuna steak but want to try something different, halibut steaks are a great option. Because it contains strong meat that holds its shape well over a number of cooking processes, halibut is an excellent substitute for tuna. It has a fantastic meaty texture that rivals quality tuna steak and can be grilled, roasted, or pan-fried. Halibut has a fantastic fishy flavor and has similar amounts of sweetness to tuna. It goes well with tuna sauces and marinades and holds up well to spice. One thing to know with halibut is that it must be properly cooked, thus it cannot be served rare like a tuna steak.
2. Canned Sardines
Sardines in a can may be unappealing to some people, but they make a terrific alternative to tuna in a can. Sardines are a small fish that are often canned whole, including the skin and bones. The firm and flaky flesh can be substituted for tuna in a variety of ways. Sardines have a strong fishy flavor and aroma, so you might want to start by substituting them for tuna with a reduced quantity.
Sardines are canned in a variety of liquids, including tomato juice, oil, and water. If you want a flavor that is close to tuna, we advise against using the tomato version. Smaller cans of sardines are preferable if you can locate them because they are simpler to flake. Larger sardines can be fairly meaty and dense, and many people don’t like how crunchy the skin and bones are.
The adaptable jackfruit is our first vegetarian substitute for tuna. This odd fruit is available in cans and has a flaky feel akin to tuna. It absorbs other flavors nicely and can be marinated to make an excellent tuna substitute. Using substances such as nori or soy sauce, jackfruit can be given a fishy flavor. It’s a tasty substitute for tuna sandwich filling when combined with vegan mayonnaise.
Although salmon is frequently thought of as a delicacy, it actually serves as a reasonably priced substitute for tuna. The wonderful thing about salmon is that it can be found in all the same formats as tuna, so salmon steaks and canned salmon are both options! Salmon has a little sweeter flavor than tuna, but both fish have a similar solid texture that keeps its shape when cooked. It can be used as a substitute for tuna without requiring major recipe modifications because it uses similar ingredients and seasonings.
Our second vegetarian tuna substitute on the list requires a little more time to prepare, but it is well worth the effort! Chickpeas are a high-protein, high-nutritional-value alternative to tuna. Chickpeas do not taste like tuna on their own, but with a few easy adjustments, they can be utilized to make a great alternative to tuna salad.
Simply softly crush some cooked chickpeas and combine them with finely chopped onions, celery, and vegan mayonnaise. Nori flakes or soy sauce can be used to give seafood taste. Load the mixture into a new baguette along with some salad leaves and sliced tomato for the perfect vegan tuna salad sandwich!
Trout is a terrific option if you’re seeking for a fish with a flavor that is as similar to tuna as possible. Both freshwater and saltwater trout can be used in place of tuna, while saltwater trout often has a richer flavor. When substituting trout for tuna, the texture of the fish is significantly more delicate and softer. If you are pan-frying this fish, it is recommended to cook it whole because trout steaks are quite likely to come apart. In addition to flaking easily when cooked, fish makes a great sandwich stuffing.
Our final tuna alternative is also suitable for vegans and vegetarians. Cauliflower rice has long been a favorite of ours, but cauliflower steaks take this versatile food to the next level! Cauliflower steaks can be prepared several ways, including pan-frying and roasting. These ways bring out the delightful, sweet, nutty flavor of cauliflower, as well as its ability to absorb other tastes. Cauliflower steaks can be prepared and served in the same way as tuna steaks if you need to serve a vegetarian option at a dinner party.