If you’re looking for a vegan salmon fillet recipe, please look no further! This recipe creates the most realistic looking, feeling, and tasting vegan version! They are soft, tender, flaky, and crispy, and full of flavor with just the right amount of fishiness. This vegan salmon recipe is also easy to make!
What are the vegan salmon fillets made of?
I make the vegan salmon from tofu. BUT WAIT, DON’T GO! Hear me out, okay!? Although I make these from tofu, you can BARELY tell! This is because I do several magical things to the tofu that change its texture, look, and of course, flavor (although tofu doesn’t have much of a taste by itself!).
How I create realistic vegan salmon:
I first drain, rinse, and press the tofu to get rid of a ton of its moisture. Then, I blend a handful of ingredients to create a fishy-tasting marinade. The marinade first consists of nori, miso paste, rice vinegar, lemon juice, and old bay seasoning. These are all ingredients from my vegan seafood marinade that I’ve been making for YEARS. Then, since cooked salmon is pink-orange, I also blend in a tiny bit of raw beet and turmeric, along with a couple of other basic ingredients.
Next, I slice the block of tofu into fillets and cut slits into them to create a fake flaky texture. Then I cover the fillets in the marinade and try my best to gently get the marinade in between every single tofu slice I created. Leaking the marinade into each crevice ensures the entire tofu will be flavorful, and it also makes the inside of the tofu slightly pink! I let my tofu marinate overnight because doing so creates the best texture and flavor in the end!
Once I am ready to cook the marinated tofu, I press a piece of nori onto each fillet, season both sides with salt and pepper, and coat them in cornstarch. I then sear the fillets in oil until golden brown and crispy on both sides!
Do these vegan salmon fillets ACTUALLY taste real, though?
YES!!! The final vegan salmon fillets are soft, tender, flaky, and crisp. These taste fishy but not in an overpowering way; I made sure of that since real salmon isn’t SUPER fishy-tasting. My mom, who is not vegan, said this blew her mind, and she gave it a 9/10 (0 being the worst and 10 being the best) for how realistic it is! I knew I knocked the recipe out of the park, but I was surprised she rated it a 9/10 because she is extremely picky and not vegan!
If you make my vegan salmon recipe, don’t forget to post a picture to Instagram, tag me @chefsummerstorm, and #gardengrub so I can see your recreation!
How to Make Realistic Vegan Salmon Fillets
- Paper towel
- One 14.0 ounce pack extra firm tofu
Vegan Salmon Marinade
You Will Also Need
- 1 sheet nori
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- Drain and rinse off the package of tofu well. Then, wrap it in several sheets of paper towel, place it on a plate, and put something slightly heavy on top of the tofu to weigh it down and help press out any excess liquid. Allow this to rest for at least thirty minutes.
- Then, cut the tofu in half lengthwise. Turn the halves onto their sides and cut them in half lengthwise, so you have a total of four tofu fillets. Lay the fillets back down flat, and using a pairing knife, slice the tofu repeatedly across about 1/8th inch apart, at an angle, and about 75% of the way down, to create a flaky fish-like texture. While slicing the tofu, I find it easiest to slide the knife out towards me instead of dragging it up and out; this helps avoid breaking off the tofu flakes.
Vegan Salmon Marinade
- Add all of the ingredients into a high powered blender and blend until extremely smooth.
- Pour a little bit of the marinade into a large container. Then, gently place the prepared tofu fillets into the container. Pour the rest of the marinade over the fillets. I always gently open the tofu slices(flakes) and sneak marinade into each crevice; this ensures the entire tofu fillet is well marinated. I recommend you do this too, but be careful since the fillets are very fragile! Allow this to marinate for AT LEAST one hour, but I highly recommend letting it marinate for several hours and preferably overnight for the best taste and texture!
How to Prepare and Cook the Marinated Vegan Salmon
- Gently place the marinated tofu fillets on a plate. With your hand, wipe off the excess marinade that is on the tofu filets.
- For each tofu fillet, cut a piece of nori that matches the exact size of the top. Then, press the piece of nori down onto the side of the tofu that you cut all of the slits.
- Using your finger, rub a little bit of the marinade on top of the nori to make sure it sticks to the tofu.
- Season both sides of the prepared tofu fillet with a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Now, coat both sides of the tofu fillet in cornstarch. Do NOT coat all four fillets with cornstarch unless you can cook all four at the same time, AKA do not coat them and have them sit there for several minutes before cooking. Also, do not do this step and then walk away. If you coat the tofu in cornstarch, be ready to cook them immediately.
- Place a large saute pan over medium/medium-high heat. Once hot, add in three tablespoons of vegetable oil. Once the oil is hot, add in the prepared tofu fillets, nori side down FIRST. Cook them for 2 minutes, then gently flip them over and cook them for another 1 1/2 to 2 more minutes. Both sides should be golden brown and crispy!
If you think this plant-based salmon recipe looks delish, I highly recommend you check out my Realistic Vegan Lobster Roll recipe! This too looks, feels, and tastes incredibly realistic and is also easy to make!