9 Best Substitutes for Anchovies

Caesar Salad with Anchovies

A very popular small fish that can be found in many stores are the anchovies. You can buy these fish in many different forms. These are usually packed in tins with oil or vinegar or in some cultures like in South Asia, you can get them dry or fermented. 

Another variation is to buy them in sauce with tomatoes and garlic. There are many recipes that use anchovies as the key ingredient because of their punchy flavor.

They can fit perfectly well in salads, like Caesar salad and other dressing sauces for salads. Anchovies are usually used as a secret ingredient and you can also consume them as fillets or as a paste in a tube.

But what if there are no anchovies available and you need them for your recipe, is there something similar that you can use?

The best substitutes for Anchovies are Worcestershire Sauce, Shrimp paste, Asian Fish Sauce, Umeboshi Paste, Capers, Seaweed, Soya sauce, and Miso.

Find out which out of these substitutes is vegetarian and vegan, so you can enjoy your meal and still have a mouthwatering dish. Also, find out a bit more about the nutrition facts of anchovies.

Anchovies Substitutes

As I previously mentioned there are many ways that you can eat the anchovies and many cuisines use them as a staple ingredient.

But no worries if you are out of this type of fish, I’ll provide you with a list of replacements that will help you save your meal. Read below and find out:

1. Worcestershire Sauce

This is a sauce that can serve as a substitute for the anchovies, even though they are part of its ingredients. Many who like eating the paste simply enjoy this sauce. Furthermore, it is a fermented liquid that contains different ingredients that will help you with your meal.

2. Shrimp paste

This is a paste that is commonly used in the Southeastern Asian and Chinese cuisines. Made from fermented ground shrimp with salt, it can serve as a good substitute for the anchovies. Even though shrimps have a stronger taste, make the adjustments accordingly.

3. Asian Fish Sauce

A sauce that is easily reachable and available in the Asian FIsh sauce. It is similar because of its pungent taste which will give your dish odor or aroma. It can be used as a substitute but not in something like pizza. This works well for soups, stock, or stews. Another use is in Caesar’s salad.

4. Umeboshi Paste

This paste has its origins from Japanese cuisine. It can serve as a substitute because of its salty flavor which resembles the anchovy. Also, very important to know is that this can serve as a substitute by vegans and vegetarians. It will fit perfectly in your salad dressing.

5. Capers

This is a pea-sized bud that is often sold in salt and vinegar, which is very similar to anchovy. It’s a good alternative because it provides a strong flavor and will fit very well in your recipe. Use ½ tablespoon for 1 tablespoon of anchovy paste.

6. Chopped Kalamata Olives

This is a substitute that can be used as a vegan option as well. This substitute has a fruity and sweet flavor and when used with spices it’s a very good way to add more texture to your recipe. Put 1 tablespoon for every tablespoon of anchovy paste. It can fit perfectly in salads, dressings, as well as vegetables and other fresh ingredients.

7. Seaweed

A very good vegan option is the seaweed. You can still have the same flavor in your food and the seaweed will help you. This is a very rich product with minerals and can be an excellent vegetarian substitute for anchovies. It’s very healthy and has no calories or fats.

8. Soya sauce

Soy sauce is something that can be easily found and made. It can serve as a great substitute for anchovies. This is a great source of protein and it can help people who have high blood pressure or heart problems.

9. Miso

Another option that can fit well in sauces, salad dressing, and soups is miso. It can be added to long-cooked dishes and be careful not to boil dishes like miso soup or to heat it too much because it will kill the active bacteria in miso and reduce the health benefits that it provides.

What is important about the anchovy is that they can be substituted for each other. Meaning if you have fillets and no paste you can use it to substitute one another. If it’s not for the purpose of vegan or vegetarian the option is one of the best.

If you are replacing an anchovy paste with a fillet, keep in mind that one filet equals ½ teaspoon of anchovy paste. Also, keep an eye on the salt and liquid.

Anchovies Nutritious Facts and where to find them

As I previously mentioned the anchovies are fish that are small and silvery and also they have tiny hair-like bones. There are the fillets and the paste form, which both work really well. Fresh fish has a different flavor unlike the paste, which goes through a curing process.

The fresh ones have a mild flavor and a very satisfying fatty richness, almost like the taste of sardine.  The canned fish is put together with oil so if you are using this type of anchovy, make sure not to add salt because they are very salty.

They are packed after the heads and tails have been removed. The most famous use of anchovy is paste. Usually, you can find it in many stores and use it as part of your meal.

A portion of anchovy fillets has 42 calories, 5.8 grams of protein, 1.9 grams of fat, and no carbohydrates, fiber, or sugar. 

They are an excellent source of calcium, iron, and zinc, as well as they, are high in sodium. Another important nutritious fact about anchovies is that they are a great source of omega 3 fats as well.

Many cultures use anchovies as part of their dishes and they usually serve them with vinegar marinade. Another way of serving anchovies is to be grilled, fried, steamed or just simply they can be eaten fried in a spicy curry. Anchovies are very healthy and delicious.

Substitute for anchovies in puttanesca

One of the options as a substitute when making puttanesca is to use marmite or vegemite. They are salty and savory as anchovies are. Also, miso can fit perfectly as well.

Seaweed is also a great option as it will bring a fresh flavor, as well as tamari which adds rich and deep flavor with sweet saltiness.

Anchovy substitute fish sauce

You can substitute fish sauce in many recipes where it is supposed to be used anchovies, but you are out. Feel free to add ½ tablespoon of fish sauce per every anchovy fillet.

Also, make sure not to add fish sauce when making Caesar salad, because anchovies are the key ingredient and the sauce won’t fill for the anchovies. It’ll be too fishy and not fit.

However, an acceptable substitute for anchovies in meatballs, the fish sauce can fit perfectly, and together with the tomato sauce will add more flavor.

Related questions:

Can sardines be used in place of anchovies?

Actually, sardines have a different flavor and are not as salty as anchovies, so they can’t be a substitute for anchovies. On the other way around anchovies can be used instead of sardines and if you have no other choice, but just a few pieces of sardine with the other ingredients.

Can you eat anchovies straight from the tin?

Anchovies can be eaten straight from the tin. Just like tuna, anchovies can be used the same way. They are often put in oil and salt so you can just simply pick them out of the tin and eat them. This is an option that you can put on bread.

Why are anchovies so salty?

Since they are cured and the anchovies come from the glutamate-developing salting process. They lay in salt for months and the fish are transformed by enzymes and good bacteria is turned into a salty powerhouse, with very little fishy taste left behind.

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