What can I use instead of fish sauce for vegetarians (5 Substitutes)

In the article, we will answer the question, “What can I use instead of fish sauce for vegetarians” and the alternatives for fish sauce, especially for vegetarians. 

What can I use instead of fish sauce for vegetarians?

Fish sauce, made by the fermentation of fish, is not appreciated by vegetarians for this very reason. If you are one, don’t worry because we have you covered. Here are some tasty sauces that are vegan friendly: 

  • Soy sauce 
  • Tamari sauce 
  • Vegan fish sauce 
  • Worcestershire sauce 
  • Coconut Aminos

What is fish sauce?

A popular seasoning in East Asian cuisine and South Asian cuisine, fish sauce is a liquid condiment. It is made by fermenting fish or krill that’s coated in salt for up to two years. The countries especially known for using fish sauce are Cambodia, Myanmar, Indonesia, China, Malaysia, Laos, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, and Taiwan. 

5 Alternatives for fish sauce for vegetarians 

Soy Sauce 

If your recipe calls for fish sauce but you are making it for someone who is vegetarian, then you can switch that for soy sauce. Consisting of fermented soybeans, salt, water, and wheat it replaces fish sauce pretty well. Bonus points for also being suitable for vegans. Fish swap can be switched for soy sauce at literally a 1:1 ratio because that is how close they are to the taste. However, if you are feeling creative you can try mixing in other ingredients with soy sauce for a little extra kick. But remember to make adjustments to your recipe to fit the original taste. 

Tamari 

We already established that soy sauce is a good replacement for fish sauce. Tamari is a type of soy sauce, therefore, becomes a perfect substitute. It is made from different ingredients and processed differently. The ingredients consist of water, miso paste containing soybeans, and salt. Tamari, as a whole, has a stronger, richer, and less salty taste when compared to soy sauce. While you can add tamari in a 1:1 ratio, it is advisable to use it by adding a little bit and then adjusting it according to the recipe. 

Vegan Fish Sauce 

One of the best replacements for fish sauce, when you are following a vegetarian diet or are allergic to fish in general, is vegan fish sauce. Made from shiitake mushrooms, soy sauce, and liquid aminos. Extracted from either fermented coconut sap or hydrolyzed soybeans, are liquid aminos – that are then mixed with water and salt. Much like the soy sauce, and tamari sauce, this too can be switched with fish sauce at a 1:1 ratio. 

Worcestershire Sauce

The sauce that we often have trouble pronouncing has the same flavour as fish sauce. They both share the same base ingredients of anchovies and are fermented for almost two years. However, Worcestershire sauce is a little less salty, a bit thicker, and does have a slightly different taste. However, if you are swapping out fish sauce for Worcestershire sauce, you can continue using our standard 1:1 ratio. 

Coconut Aminos

Extracted from fermented coconut sap, coconut aminos compliment almost every dish. They have a rich flavour. While it is a little sweeter than soy and fish sauce, the texture is darker. It has a lower sodium content than fish sauce usually has. However, it is the perfect substitute for vegetarians and vegans, as coconut aminos are wheat-free, soy-free, and gluten-free. And additionally, they are a vegan product. When you are switching coconut aminos for fish sauce, the ratio will remain as 1:1. 

No fish sauce? No Problem!

While some decent alternatives have already been addressed in the blog, you can also make vegan fish sauce at home by replacing only those ingredients that do not sit well with your preferences. 

This recipe also takes into account the glutamates that are present in fish so you don’t miss out on any nutrients that are present in fermented fish. Here is what you need: 

  • Dried shiitake mushrooms
  • Soy Sauce
  • Salt

How to make vegan fish sauce at home?

  • Pour 3 cups of water in a saucepan and heat it until it starts to simmer.
  • Mix ¼ ounce of dried shiitake mushrooms, 3 Tablespoons of salt, and 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and add it in the saucepan containing simmering water. 
  • Let the mixture heat until only half of it is left. This will result in a concentrated, viscous liquid. 
  • Strain your vegan fish sauce with the help of a strainer and you have your own homemade vegan fish sauce! 

To save this sauce for later use, cool and store in the refrigerator for best results. This sauce can last in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks if stored properly.  

Conclusion

In the article, we answered the question, “What can I use instead of fish sauce for vegetarians” and the alternatives for fish sauce, especially for vegetarians. 

Citations 

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/fish-sauce-substitute
https://www.cooksillustrated.com/how_tos/6610-making-a-vegetarian-substitute-for-fish-sauce

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.