Make your own vegan dishes starting with this basic seafood staple

Like many during the height of the quarantine era, I started binge-watching Netflix.

Bored with my normal cooking contest shows, I started looking for meaningful documentaries to occupy my time. And in 2021, I watched “Seaspiracy”.

This documentary covers issues ranging from plastic pollution and microplastics to the dreaded fishing industry. This highlights how many environmental groups fail to state the basic fact that eating seafood is bad for the environment.

If you go to, you’ll find an article titled “Eating seafood can reduce your carbon footprint, but some fish are better than others.” Most ocean pollution comes from fishing gear. Commercial fishing causes the destruction of ocean ecosystems and kills many species, such as turtles and seals, not just the ones they choose to fish.

Yet environmental groups are hesitant to suggest reducing or even eliminating fish consumption. If you want to understand hesitation, follow the money. If you haven’t watched “Seaspiracy” produced by Kip Andersen, the same producer of “Cowspiracy” and “What the Health,” I urge you to do so.

A can of chickpeas is the perfect start to this vegan seafood base.

This documentary will allow you to better understand the direct effects of our food system on the environment.

Vegan food can get a bad rap. Society often pushes the idea that plant-based meals are either “fake,” expensive, or lacking in flavor, and I’m here to assure you that’s not true. Whether you’ve chosen to switch to a plant-based diet for health, animal or planetary reasons, you deserve delicious meals.

And, while there are some amazing fake meats on the market, such as Gardein’s Fish Fillets, Good Catch’s Fishless Tuna and Quorns’ Fishless Sticks, making your own alternatives is just as delicious and affordable. half price. Below is my seafood base. I use it as “fake tuna” or “crab cake base” or my seafood substitute for sushi.

Although I add additional ingredients to match the meal I’m making, it’s the base of all of these meals and is easy to adapt or eat as is.

Seafood base

  • 1 can of drained chickpeas
  • ¼ of a large onion, diced.
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (amino acids)
  • 1 tablespoon Frank’s hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

To make this “seafood” base, drain and rinse a can of chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans). Then, using a fork, squeeze the chickpeas to create a “tuna” type texture.

If you find it difficult to squeeze the chickpeas, start adding your liquids (soy sauce, hot sauce, and olive oil) to your chickpeas. Make sure the liquids are evenly distributed throughout the chickpea mixture and continue squeezing until desired texture. Once most of the chickpeas have been squeezed, stir in the diced red onion and old-berry seasoning.

Some ingredients I recommend adding to enhance your experience include:

  • lemon juice
  • thinly cut nori/seaweed strips (for extra sea flavor)
  • pickles or jalapenos for a crunch factor
  • vegan mayonnaise

Feel free to adjust the seasonings to your liking. And There you go ! This is your staple seafood staple. Enjoy as is with crackers or as a substitute for seafood in a recipe. I’ve listed two recipes below that used this base as fake meat to help your creativity flow.

Basic sushi rolls, all wrapped.

basic sushi roll

  • 1 sheet of sushi sheet (nori)
  • 3 tablespoons sushi rice
  • 3 tablespoons seafood base
  • ½ tbsp sriracha
  • 1 teaspoon of any bagel seasoning

To start your sushi roll, take a sheet of nori, place the shiny side towards your surface.

Place your sushi rice in the center of the nori sheet and start spreading the rice evenly over the bottom ⅔ of your nori sheet.

You will roll away from yourself. Placing all the contents of the sushi closer to you will make the rolling process easier; think of a burrito.

Then place the seafood substitute on the rice. Repeat the process of spreading the seafood base evenly as you did for the sushi rice.

Now, using water on your fingers, wet the sides of the nori sheet; this will help seal the roll.

Take your sriracha and generously top your roll in a zigzag pattern and top with a few shakes of the all bagel seasoning.

Cut the roll using a sharp, non-serrated knife at a 45 degree angle with a spacing of about 1 inch.


Tuna melt

  • 1 roll of your choice
  • 2 slices of vegan cheese
  • ¾ cup seafood base
  • handful of spinach

To create the “tuna fondant”, cut the bread of your choice in half and toast it. If using an air fryer, air crisp at 390 degrees for 3 minutes.

Then add vegan cheese. I used the smoked provolone slices from Violife. Air crisp for an additional 2 minutes. You can also cook it the same way as a stovetop grilled cheese if you don’t have an air fryer.

This will melt the cheese enough for the seafood base to stick to the bottom toast slice.

Bake for an additional 2 minutes or until the seafood filling is hot.

Then remove the slices and garnish with spinach or other toppings.

Enjoy your lunch!

Celeste Schuveiller holds a culinary degree and a certificate in nutrition. In 2018, she began eliminating animal byproducts from her life after completing an internship at an animal sanctuary in Colorado and discovering the pain and suffering that came with these products. She volunteers at Hercules’ Haven, a local animal sanctuary.

For questions or comments, email [email protected] Visit the VCEI website at or join the group on Facebook and Meetup.