Shrimp is versatile, much-loved seafood that beamingly enhances your sandwiches, stir-fries, salads, or pasta. Who can resist the mouth-watering shrimp capellini?
Although shrimps are widespread and easily available, you might run out of them at times. You would have wondered (even though you didn’t want to) what shrimp can be replaced with little or no compromise in flavor.
Do you want to know, “what are the best substitutes for shrimp?” Some of the best substitutes for shrimp are langostino, prawns, lobster and crayfish, vegan shrimp, and tofu.
Shrimp is one of the versatile seafood used in a wide range of recipes. It is a close relative to crabs and lobsters. It belongs to the category of fishes that can swim backward.
It is popular seafood consumed worldwide. Americans consume about 4 pounds of shrimp annually. That makes shrimp the highly consumed fish, among other seafood.
If you are an ardent seafood lover or have a loved one with a crazy seafood appetite, you definitely need to read this article. Let us explore shrimp, its uses, and the best substitutes, shall we?
Why Do We Need To Substitute Shrimp?
Shrimp is a crustacean with a translucid, flattened body. They swim backward by bending their flexible abdomen and tail. When cooked, they have a firm, soft texture with a mild, sweet flavor.
There are many types of shrimp for us to relish upon. Some of them are white shrimp, pink shrimp, rock shrimp, brown shrimp, tiger shrimp, spot shrimp, bumblebee shrimp, red cherry shrimp, crystal shrimp, and snowball shrimp.
Coming to the million-dollar question, is shrimp the same as prawn? Definitely, no! In many regions, the term prawn is used to refer to shrimps as well. Although they share similar nutrient profiles and can be used interchangeably, they aren’t the same.
Prawns and shrimp are anatomically different (I am not going to bore you with that). Prawns are larger than shrimp in size. They are found in different types of water. They taste sweeter than shrimp with a meaty texture.
Shrimps have versatile applications when it comes to cooking. They can be used in soups, pasta, stir-fries, tacos, or salads. Garlic shrimp stir-fry, grilled shrimp boil, shrimp taco salad, and shrimp skewers are some of the very popular recipes.
Shrimp is also a healthy seafood option with low calories and high nutritional content. It is a rich source of iodine, omega-6, and omega-3 fatty acids.
But you know why there is a need to substitute for shrimp? It is notorious for its high cholesterol content. Farm-raised shrimp are loaded with antibiotics which are detrimental to health. Also, some of us are extremely allergic to shrimp.
So, there comes the need for finding substitutes for shrimp. Let us do that now.
9 Best Substitutes For Shrimp
The nine best substitutes for shrimp are as follows:
Langostino, in the US, is a term used to refer to the meat of squat lobster. It is neither a lobster nor a prawn but can be deemed as a blend of these two. Langostino tails are perfect substitutes for shrimp.
They have a sweet flavor with a meaty texture, very similar to shrimp. They can also beat you with a similar look as that of shrimp.
Prawn is an aquatic crustacean with a long tail and tiny legs. It tastes sweeter than shrimp with a chunky texture. Prawn almost looks similar to shrimp, but it usually has a large size.
Shrimps can be easily replaced with prawns considering the similarities in their flavor as well as nutritional profiles.
Lobster is a type of large crustacean with a long body, hard shell, and two claws. It is the proud host of juicy, succulent meat with a rich, sweet, and gratifying flavor. Once cooked, it has a soft and tender texture.
Lobster tail has a sweet, buttery flavor which makes it a perfect substitute for shrimps in any recipe that calls for it. But it is not an option if you are allergic to seafood.
Crayfish, also known as crawfish or crawdad, is a freshwater crustacean that bears a close resemblance to lobster. It tastes sweet with mild undertones of salty flavor.
The soft, tender texture and salty flavor of crayfish make it a good substitute for shrimp in seafood recipes, pasta, or stir-fries. The only disadvantage would be its cost and non-availability.
A crab is a crustacean with a circular body enclosed by a hard shell. It has five pairs of legs with large claws on the front pair. It has a mild salty taste which is different from shrimp.
It has a chewy texture, unlike shrimp, and a savory flavor when cooked. Never mind the difference in texture. With added seasoning, crab is a worthy alternative for shrimp in seafood or other types of recipes.
Scallop refers to a type of bivalve mollusk which is related to clams, oysters, and mussels. It has a sweet, briny, and butter flavor with a soft and tender texture.
It makes a good substitute for shrimp in most of the recipes that call for shrimp. Make sure you don’t overcook scallops so as to not interfere with their delicate texture.
Surimi is a kind of paste which is made from fish or other meat. It is deemed as ‘imitation seafood’ as it is used to emulate the flavor of shrimps, lobsters, crabs, or other seafood.
Surimi can be a considerable alternative for shrimp due to the similarities in texture. If you are allergic to seafood, you should check the contents of the surumi you use before consumption.
8. Vegan Shrimp
Time to give the vegetarians and vegans their cup of choice.
Vegan shrimp is made using vegan seasoning ingredients such as konjac and fenugreek. It can also include ingredients such as algae, soy, vegetable oils, and yeast.
Vegan shrimp can emulate the flavor of shrimp to a great extent and is your perfect choice if you are vegan or allergic to seafood.
Behold this bland ingredient made from pressing curdled soy milk; tofu. Being bland puts you at a lot of ease and advantages.
Tofu has a similar texture as that of shrimp. Once cooked with the right seasoning agents, tofu easily absorbs all the flavors and makes a great substitute for shrimp.
Make sure you use tofu with a soft, delicate texture while replacing shrimp in any recipe.
That was all about the best substitutes for shrimp. Choose either a seafood substitute or a vegan alternative, depending on your preferences. I am sure all of these ingredients blend well into your recipes and make your day. Share your experience, and we will meet soon!