Vegan fish tacos

by Stephanie Weaver on May 2, 2011

Vegan Fish TacosIf you’ve never had (or heard of) fish tacos, which are a Southern California/Baja California regional favorite, you’re in for a treat. You can also make these with a firm white fish like mahi-mahi, tilapia, or cod.

When I moved to San Diego in 1997, I started hearing about fish tacos. They sounded bizarre to me until I tried one at Rubio’s, the most famous chain here. Fish tacos are surfer food, served in shacks on the beach along the Baja coast. Rubio’s was founded by a surfer/college student, who wrote a business plan for a fish taco shop for a class, then made his fortune making it a reality.

Traditional fish tacos are made from battered, fried fish chunks, wrapped in a double corn tortilla, topped with shredded green cabbage, a squeeze of lime, and a creamy mayonnaise sauce. They were a favorite in my gluten-eating days, and I hadn’t had one for years.

After learning how to make tofu “cheese” from Jeff Smith, a local musician and long-time vegan, I learned that his wife Sally makes a vegan version of fish tacos from it.

Vegan Fish Tacos
Makes 4 tacos

16 oz (450 g) tofu “cheese”
1/4 C. (25 g) dry hummous mix*
1/4 C. (25 g) cashews
1 t. (2 g) smoked paprika
1 t. (2 g) Old Hickory smoked salt
1 t. (2 g) Old Bay seasoning
1 t. (2 g) nutritional yeast

8 small corn tortillas
1/2 C. (100 g) cabbage or bok choy
Joe’s mustard sauce or Sally’s vegan tartar sauce

Make the tofu “cheese” by following this method. Slice into 1 inch (3 cm) strips.

Preheat the oven to 400F (205C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Put the cashews in a blender or food processor and pulse until finely ground. In a shallow bowl, mix the cashews with the rest of the breading ingredients with a fork. If the tofu is very dry, dip in soy milk, then coat each side with the breading.

Place on the prepared baking sheet and spray the tops with cooking spray. Bake for 15 minutes, then flip over and bake for 15 minutes more. (You can bread actual fish the same way, and bake for 10 minutes per side.)

Grill the corn tortillas and slice the cabbage or bok choy into ribbons. Assemble the tacos and serve each with a wedge of fresh lime.

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Notes: Hummous mix is a dry mix that is available in boxes or in some bulk sections. If you can’t find it you can substitute garbanzo bean flour. If you’re gluten-free, make sure the mix doesn’t include wheat flour.

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