Recipe Post: Beer-Battered Vegan “Fish” with Tartar Sauce

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’ve been vegetarian for several years, long enough that I’ve pretty much forgotten what various meats taste like. However, I still remember how much I enjoyed certain meat-based meals, and while I have no intention of reverting back to an omnivore (no shade thrown, this is just my life and health choices), I do miss them somewhat. For example, I haven’t eaten a Big Mac in over 20 years (*mind blown*). I also haven’t eaten bacon in that long, either, though I’ve cooked it many, many times for others (yes, I’m weird).

One of the meals I remember enjoying immensely and consuming often (being from sturdy British heritage it’s practically mandatory) is beer-battered fish and chips. Now, again I haven’t actually had beer-battered fish in over two decades, long enough ago that shops were still regularly serving halibut, not haddock or whatever it is they’re serving now due to overfishing. It’s obvious that cauliflower is not fish, nor is it meant to be. But what cauliflower is, is delicious, plentiful, economical, and cruelty-free. I’m willing to stretch my imagination and “play pretend” that I’m sitting down to a big plate of fish and chips when I eat this, especially when it’s accompanied by this yummy homemade tartar sauce. Give it a try; while it’s not a perfect substitution, it’s good enough for me, and hey, you might find a new favourite meal!

…and hey, if you’re still not convinced, this recipe works just as well with actual fish. 😉

Beer Battered Vegan “Fish” with Tartar Sauce

YIELD: 4 servings | PREP: 15 mins | COOK: 15-30 mins (if making oven fries)

Beer-Battered Cauliflower 

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 cups/300g all purpose flour, divided [⅔ cup/100g+1⅓cup/200g] (Optional: replace with gf flour)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder 
  • 1 bottle light beer (Optional: replace with vegan beer, or white grape juice/ginger ale for alcohol-free)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Slice/break cauliflower into florets; set aside.
  2. In a frying pan with deep sides, add enough fresh vegetable oil to shallow fry the cauliflower; heat on medium-high until a fragment of cauliflower sizzles immediately when added to the oil.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together 100g of the flour with the salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and baking powder until completely combined. 
  4. In a separate shallow bowl, season the remaining flour with salt and pepper.
  5. Slowly whisk beer into seasoned flour mixture to make a batter; when the oil is at temperature (about 320°F/160°C), dredge (coat) the cauliflower florets in the seasoned flour and dip in the batter, then place in the hot oil and fry until golden brown, about 5-7 minutes.
  6. Remove, drain, and serve hot with vegan tartar sauce and French fries.

Tartar Sauce

  • 1 cup/130g Mayonnaise (for vegan version, use vegan mayo)
  • 2 medium/½ cup dill pickles, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp/15g white or red onion, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp/25g fresh dill and/or parsley 
  • 1 tsp/5mL lemon juice
  • 1 tsp/5g granulated or cane sugar
  • ¼ tsp/1g white pepper, ground
  1. Combine all ingredients and let chill, covered, for a minimum of 1 hour in the fridge.
  2. Adjust for seasoning (lemon/salt/pepper) once chilled and all flavours have had the chance to commingle. Serve.
  • With thanks to UK-based website Twisted for inspiring me with their original version of the vegan “fish” recipe: see here.
  • With thanks to US website Natasha’s Kitchen for inspiring me with their original version of the Tartar Sauce recipe: see here.

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