Healthier Substitutes for Better Seafood Cooking
The beginning of a new year sparks a time where we all reevaluate our health and fitness goals. We make promises to eat better and infuse our weekly menus with more wholesome ingredients. Seafood is an excellent choice for nutritious meal planning. Not only does fish and shellfish contain an assortment of vitamin and minerals not regularly found in other lean proteins, but, it is an entire ingredient category teaming with diversity and flavor -never a dull moment when seafood is served.
To help you embrace those healthy eating resolutions, we’ve created this handy guide highlighting more nutritionally balanced substitutions for common seafood paired ingredients.
Butter is a biggie. It is one of those ingredients that is most common in seafood recipes. But, butter can be beat! Extra virgin olive oil is my number one go-to for a healthier substitution to butter. If you’re recipe requires you to cook seafood in butter, simply swap with EVOO, using the same aromatics and flavorful additions listed. If your recipe uses butter to finish a dish or, uses butter as a dip, I love using infused olive oils. These are oils that have been boosted with flavorful ingredients (think garlic or chili peppers or herbs). There are also olive oil butter alternatives, plant-based butters, that mimic butter in flavor and performance.
Mayonnaise and Cream
Yogurt or low-fat sour cream is a great substitution for mayonnaise or cream in your recipes. For mayonnaise-based dips or spreads, plain yogurt is a great alternative. For example, if your recipe calls for you to serve crab cakes with a tartar sauce, simply substitute the mayo in the recipe with yogurt. Adding in the same seasonings, pickles, etc… to boost the flavor. Even if you’re trying to ween yourself off of mayo-heavy recipes, reduce the mayonnaise by half and use yogurt or low-fat sour cream for the remaining half.
Heavy cream, half and half, or full-fat milk-based recipes can also be modified to be more nutritiously balanced. Low-fat yogurt and sour cream work here too. For heavy cream-based seafood recipes, a straight substitution, 1 cup heavy cream substituted with 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt, can be used. For half and half substitutions, use 1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt and 1/2 cup low-fat milk, whisked together to blend. For full-fat milk, use 3/4 cup low-fat milk and 1/4 cup low-fat yogurt, whisked together as well.
White Bread, Flour and Breadcrumbs
Another ingredient prevalent in seafood recipes is bread, especially white bread rolls, white bread slices, English muffins, buns, tortillas, etc… Substitute any sandwich with a more wholesome multi-grain or whole wheat option instead!
Same goes with recipes calling for all-purpose flour or breadcrumbs. Replace those options with a whole wheat alternative. If your seafood recipe is requiring a coating, batter, etc… for frying, try baking or air-frying the seafood instead. You can even make your own multi-grain or whole wheat bread crumbs using older bread slices or bread ends, toasting them, and chopping them into a fine consistency.
Rice, Pasta and Potatoes
Like our flour, bread, and bread crumb substitutions, rice and pasta can also be swapped. Brown rice is a more fiber-rich alternative to white rice. And, whole wheat pasta or veggie-alternative noodles (zucchini noodle or chickpea noodles) are a much more balanced option than the traditional white flour-based noodles.
There are a few seafood recipes that call for potatoes. Think chowders and stews, or recipes that serve potatoes as a side dish. Sweet potatoes rank much lower on the glycemic-index than their starchy white or yellow potato counterparts, making them a much better choice when creating healthier and more balanced meals.
Healthy Eating Made Easy!
Keep those New Year’s resolutions with heart healthy seafood delivered right to your home! As we say, from the shore to your door, 3 days fresher than the grocery store! Nutritious meal planning has never been so easy!
Do you have any delicious healthy seafood recipes that you would like to share? Post your tasty creations on any of our social pages, Instagram, Facebook or Twitter and be sure to tag us @cameronsseafoodonline.
About the author
Patterson Watkins is a professional chef with over 17 years of experience. With a robust career in restaurants, contract dining and catering (including 4 Summer Olympic posts preparing food for the athletes!) Patterson joined the Cameron’s Seafood team at the end of 2018 to concoct some delicious recipes with our premium seafood items as the centerpiece.