Faux Fish Face-Off | What’s the Best Vegan Fish?

It’s a faux fish face-off! In one corner, long-time veg brand Quorn and its very traditional, very geometric fishless fingers. In the other — upstart (well, relatively) Gardein and its lumpen yet realistic Friday fish-fry favorites: fishless filets. Which faux fish will ride the wave of success and reign sea-preme? Will you ever forgive me for this terrible wordplay?! To the very of-fish-ial vegan fish review!

In the foreground: a box of Quorn fishless sticks with the word "Vegan" quite large across the top. In the background: a sheet pan filled with raw chopped potatoes.A few months ago, I was pleasantly surprised to find the vegan Quorn fishless fingers available at Wegmans. Longtime vegans will remember that for a long time, Quorn’s mycoprotein-based products were vegetarian, but not vegan. That’s been changing recently, with the introduction of some vegan products (especially in the UK!) and the word that the company is “investigating” ways of making their line egg- and dairy-free. Anyway, I’d never tried the fishless fingers before, so I was excited to give them a shot.

First, the good: the packaging! The Quorn fishless fingers came loose in a cardboard box. No plastic at all! And they didn’t suffer for it, either: I tasted zero freezer burn, and my palate is quite sensitive when it comes to freezer burn. Go Quorn! Way to be environmentally friendly!

Now, alas, the bad: everything else. :(

A sheet pan with chopped potatoes and six breaded Quorn fish sticks. They are very rectangular.I detected no fishy flavor in these sticks. I noticed no flaky fishy texture. They were just a tasteless mush ensconced in a fairly standard (and fairly flavorless) breading. What a letdown! Yet when I searched for Quorn fishless fingers reviews, I discovered that PETA apparently gave Quorn a “Best Vegan Fish” award at some vegan food award ceremony. That is… bizarre. Especially when there is a clear and preferable alternative available: Gardein fishless filets.

Now, the fishless filets are not exactly a new product, so perhaps PETA was recognizing Quorn’s entrance into the vegan realm. But seriously, Gardein’s fishless filets are orders of magnitude better than Quorn’s, in my humble opinion. They have everything going for them: a decadent, crispy coating. Flavor that’s actually reminiscent of the sea. A pleasant texture.

A top-down image of a plate with two crispy Gardein fishless filets, roasted potatoes, ketchup, and tartar sauce.

OK, sure, as filets they’re technically in a different category than sticks. But they are just infinitely better. Unless you’re 100% dead-set on replicating the fish stick experience (i.e., being able to eat a fair number), Gardein will do ya better. The only potential downside is that they’re a bit rich, so you probably can’t scarf a bunch of them in one sitting. But paired with roasted potatoes and tartar sauce, they make for an excellent fish and chips dinner. Highly recommend!

What other vegan fish products do you enjoy?