August 27, 2020 - by Sabine
Did you ever eat vegan seafood? For the first time we tried a Vegan Zeastar product, namely the Crispy Lemon Shrimpz. While scrolling on Instagram I noticed someone testing plant-based salmon and I found that very interesting, because we always like the taste of fish. Immediately I placed an online order at Jumbo grocery store and bought the Lemon Shrimpz, Zalmon Sashimi and Notuna Sashimi. But first we test the Shrimpz.
Vegan Zeastar’s products are well known from the restaurant Vegan Junk Food Bar and are recently also available in the grocery store in the Netherlands and the UK. These fish alternatives arose from a collaboration with the Dutch company Vegan XL. They made substitutes for salmon, tuna, shrimps and calamari. Seaweed extract provides the fishy flavor. Vegan Zeastar is making a major breakthrough in the plant-based market and that’s really good news for the planet.
More and more people eat less meat, but often still eat fish. Actually, we did the same and didn’t eat meat for a long time, while we still ate salmon, tuna and macherel once in a while. Our reasons: firstly we liked the taste, secondly for our health and lastly because we thought eating fish is ”less cruel than eating meat”. All reasons are obviously nonsense and now I can easily contradict. Well, we still like the taste of fish, even when we don’t eat it anymore. But if there is seafood on the market that’s completely vegan, there is definitely no reason to eat fish.
Remco and I always thought that eating fish was healthy, but research shows otherwise. Oceans are polluted and fish contain plastic, heavy metals, PCB’s and dioxin. These toxins eventually end up on your plate. I guess you don’t want that. Our third reason that sea animals suffer less than land animals while killing them is comletely ridiculous. Yet, I think a lot of people, like us, stop eating meat first. People find it difficult identifying themselves with fish. Sea creatures live in the water, are non-cuddly and cold-blooded. Still strange, because scientific evidence says fish experience stress, fear and pain. It’s part of evolution. Besides, fish have the same right to live just like any other species. Moreover, environmental damage is enormous. Industrial fishing is decimating our oceans, ecosystems are collapsing and coral reefs are being destroyed. In short, plenty of reasons not to eat fish.
Vegan XL brought plant-based alternatives for seafood on the market with the aim of preventing overfishing. Not to comply with the guidelines of nutritional guidelines. The Netherlands Nutrition Centre (Voedingscentrum) applies criteria whereby meat substitues must contain at least 20 energy percent protein. Vegan Zeastar products do not comply with this. Kalamariz contain 2%, tuna and salmon contain 2,3% and the shrimps contain 13%. These cruelty free alternatives are therefore not a fully replacement in terms of protein, but who cares? People can find protein in loads of products such as legumes, nuts, seeds, seitan, tofu and tempeh. Their products are meant for people who want to enjoy the taste of fish once in a while like we do.
- Brand: Vegan Zeastar (previously Vegan Seastar as I understand)
- Price: €5,49
- Amount: 8 pieces
- Preparation: deep-fry until golden brown
- Availability: in the freezer at Jumbo and Deen grocery stores in the Netherlands. We placed an order online. From what I know Vegan Zeastar is available in the UK too.
- Water 63%
- Potato starch 12%
- Breadcrumbs 7% (contains wheat, soy)
- Soy oil 6,5%
- Wheat fiber
- Non-GMO soy protein powder
- Gelling agent (konjac powder, carrageenan)
- Lemon extract 1%
- Seaweed extract
- Coloring agent (paprika extract)
Anyone can deep-fry I guess and it takes only a couple of minutes. They turn in a nice golden brown color with a crunchy coating. Good thing is, they remain firm after frying, but at the same time stay soft and juicy on the inside. Structure is also comparable. Funny thing is, under the crunchy jacket the shrimp has a red coating, same as a 'regular' shrimp. I suspect the paprika extract is responsible for this. We liked the subte lemon flavor, it really makes them fresh. Like with all breaded products, you naturally taste the outside too. All in all the vegan shrimps are a huge success and are indistinguishable from the real thing.
Are they healthy? No, but that’s not their goal. They are incredibly delicious and perfect to eat as a snack. Serve with a delicious lemon mayonnaise, cocktail sauce or garlic sauce. Personally we love a fresh sauce as a side, see my recipe for a simple lemon mayo below. In short, the shrimps are the perfect snack for a party or to combine with a refreshing cocktail. A perfect snack that should suit on every menu on any terrace or tapas bar. Certainly because there are hardly any vegan alternatives for seafood yet.
- Yogurt, 1 tablespoon
- Mayo (less fat), 1 tablespoon
- Fresh lemon juice, 1 tablespoon + finely grated zest
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