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Vegan ‘Fish’ Taco Bowls because the Great Barrier Reef needs vegans

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By now, you’ve probably heard about the Great Barrier Reef obituary, and the controversy that’s followed it. And while it isn’t deserving of our #RIP comments just yet, there’s plenty of reasons the funeral isn’t out of sight. Simply put, ocean degradation has lead to widespread coral bleaching that means slow growth, disease, and die-off for some of the magic of our Oceans.

All sorts of things are being blamed, but climate change is arguably the strongest contributor (and is most impacted by animal agriculture). It’s creating ocean acidification and rising temperatures that are affecting much more than just coral. Cutting the rings of six-pack tabs is no longer what we should be advocating for people to do in order to save our sea life, we need to help people go vegan. And in my experience, making people delicious food is a great way to get them to listen.

In celebration of our fishy friends and their habitat, I’ve whipped up these “fish” taco bowls. Hearts of palm are the unlikely hero of the dish, wearing some seaweed flakes to imitate the salty sea taste we crave without the harm. The accoutrements can be subbed out your favourite taco additions, and make a dress-your-own-bowl dinner easy personalization for people who still insist they don’t like cilantro.


  • Slaw

2 cups shredded red cabbage

2 cups shredded green cabbage

2 medium sized carrots, shredded

1/2 cup vegan mayo

1.5 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Salt & pepper

  • Pico de gallo

2 medium-sized vine tomatoes, diced

1 red onion, diced

3 sprigs of fresh cilantro, minced

1/2 a jalapeño, minced

1/2 a lime, juiced

Salt & pepper

  • Hearts of palm “Fish”

3 (14 oz) cans hearts of palm, drained and pulled/shredded

1/2 a lime, juiced

3/4 teaspoon of dulse seaweed flakes

sea salt

  • Toppings

Cooked rice

Tortillas chips



Lime Wedges



To make the slaw: Wash and shred your cabbage and carrots, and combine in a bowl with mayo and vinegar. Add some salt and pepper to taste, and refrigerate until ready to eat.

To make the pico de gallo: Wash and cut tomatoes, onion, cilantro, and jalapeño, and combine in a bowl. Squeeze lime juice on top, season with salt and pepper, and refrigerate until ready to eat.

To make the “fish”: Preheat your oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drain and wash hearts of palm, and shred in large bowl using two forks. Top with juice from half a lime, dulse flakes, salt, and toss until evenly distributed. Bake for 12 minutes, rotating the pan halfway. The edges should brown slightly.

To assemble: There are enough toppings here to make six generous lunch or dinner bowls (with coleslaw left for snacking). I started by scooping one cup of cooked rice in to a bowl (optional), and then I topped it with generous scoops of coleslaw, pico de gallo, and “fish.” More jalapeños and cilantro, some crumbled hard shell tortillas, some lime juice, and an avocado rose were added on top to finish it off (tutorial for that easy and impressive party trick here).

Notes: The slaw and pico de gallo, taste best after a night in the fridge, and can be easily subbed with your favourite vegan store bought brand. Store the items individually, and combine to create bowls when you’re ready to eat! Obviously would make killer tacos in shells, too.

Thanks to Veggies Don’t Bite for the inspiration and for sharing the original recipe from Vegan Yack Attack!  

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  • Susan

    Abolitionist vegans oppose the consumption of fake meat or any vegan food product that tries to imitate dead sentient beings. Secondly, aren’t vegans supposed to be sensitive also to the problem of habitat loss of orangutans due to the massive expansion of palm tree plantations?

    • Guest

      There are some environmental concerns with Hearts of Palm as with any type of agriculture in tropical areas, but I don’t see a connection to Palm Oil or Orangutans. Hearts of Palm are mostly supplied by Costa Rica and Brazil and from completely different species of trees than where palm oil comes from. Brands of Hearts of Palm touting sustainability exist, but as with anything, I would do some fact checking before purchase. Trigger Warning! I would hardly call Hearts of Palm a fake meat. If taken to an extreme some shapes of pasta need to be left off the vegan table because they might look like part of a dead sentient being. Seriously, look up Penne. End Trigger Warning

      • Susan

        Hearts of palm do come from palm trees different from those used for palm oil and hence do not contribute to the problem of habitat loss of the orangutans in Indonesia and Malaysia. I’m sorry for the confusion in my previous comment. But even the cultivation of hearts of palm is quite threatening to the environment as they come from the inner core of the tree and harvesting them kills the tree. Thankfully, there are some palm species which are clonal or multi-stemmed (e.g. Prestoea acuminata, Euterpe oleracea) and their moderate harvesting does not kill the entire clonal palm.
        As for my comment about fake meat, I did not intend to say that a heart of palm is fake meat. It is a vegetable, not a cooked or synthetic product. My objection is with the attempt at trying to fake dead fish with vegan ingredients. This is the kind of action that abolitionist veganism condemns.

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