Healthy Substitutes

Plant-Based Vegetarian Fish Sauce Substitute (So good!)

By Evelyn

Fish sauce is widely used in a variety of different recipes thanks to the distinct flavor that it provides. If you’d rather not use real fish sauce for whatever reason, then you can easily swap in this plant-based vegetarian fish sauce substitute.

Plant-Based Vegetarian Fish Sauce Substitute

How to Make a Vegetarian Fish Sauce Substitute

  • Combine the ingredients. Add the water, dulse, salt, and dried shiitake mushrooms to a heavy bottomed saucepan.
  • Boil. Bring the ingredients to a boil over medium heat and then cover with a lid.
  • Simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Strain any chunks out. Use a fine mesh strainer to strain the liquid into a bowl. Make sure to press the dulse and shiitake mushrooms to squeeze out leftover liquid.
  • Finish it off. Add the miso paste and tamara into the bowl and mix to combine.
  • Refrigerate. Store in the fridge in a glass bottle or an airtight container until ready to use.

Fish Sauce Substitute

Fish Sauce Substitute

Fish Sauce Substitute

3 Reasons Why You Should Use a Fish Sauce Substitute

Wondering why you would want to use a plant-based fish sauce substitute? Here are 3 reasons why:

  • Taste. While many people find that fish sauce adds a delicious flavor to many recipes, there are just as many people who find the fishy taste almost too overwhelming. Using a fish sauce substitute is a great way to find a middle ground.
  • Less sodium. Fish sauce contains a significant amount of sodium per serving (one teaspoon of fish sauce can contain as much as 380 mg of sodium). By making your own homemade substitutes, you can easily cut the sodium content by 50% or more.
  • Vegan-friendly. Making a fish sauce substitute with nothing but plant-based ingredients is a great way to keep it vegan-friendly. Anybody living a vegan lifestyle can easily use this recipe to make a variety of tasty dishes that need fish sauce.

Fish Sauce Substitute

What Recipes Can I Use This Fish Sauce Substitute With?

You can easily slot this fish sauce substitute into any recipe that calls for fish sauce. Here are a few recipe suggestions for you to try out this substitute with:

  • Noodle salads
  • Curry dishes
  • Hot and cold soups
  • Stews
  • Casserole dishes
  • Egg dishes
  • Rice dishes
  • Marinade for meat
  • Stir fry mixes
  • Homemade sauces and dips

Fish Sauce Substitute

How Much Sodium is in This Fish Sauce Substitute?

Making fish sauce substitutes is a great way to keep your sodium intake down. Here is a breakdown of how much sodium each ingredient adds to this fish sauce substitute for you to compare with commercial brands.

  • ¼ cup dulse – 92 mg of sodium
  • ¼ cup dried shiitake mushrooms – 7 mg of sodium
  • 2 tsp salt – 4650 mg of sodium
  • 1 ¼ tsp miso paste – 205 mg of sodium
  • 2 tbsp tamari – 2012 mg of sodium
  • Total – 6966 mg of sodium

While at first glance that may seem like an excessive amount of sodium, you have to remember that’s the total amount found in one cup of this fish sauce substitute. The overwhelming majority of recipes will not require anywhere near that much.

If you break things down even further, and use an example of a recipe that might only call for one single teaspoon of this fish sauce substitute, then the total sodium content drops down to about 145 mg per serving, well below the recommended daily total of 2300 mg.

(You may also like: 2-Ingredient Vegan Flax Egg Substitute)


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Fish Sauce Substitute

Plant-Based Vegetarian Fish Sauce Substitute (So good!)

  • Author: Evelyn
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cup 1x


  • 1 ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup dulse
  • ¼ cup dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 tsp salt 
  • 1 ¼ tsp  miso paste
  • 2 tbsp tamari


  1. Add the water, dulse, salt and shiitake mushrooms to a heavy bottomed saucepan. 
  2. Bring to a boil over medium heat. 
  3. Cover with a lid.
  4. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. 
  5. Strain the liquid through a fine mesh into a bowl. 
  6. Press the dulse and shiitake mushrooms to squeeze out liquid. 
  7. Add the miso paste and tamari to the bowl and mix to combine. 
  8. Store in the fridge for up to 1 month.
  9. Shake before use. 

Print Recipe

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