Plant-based tuna is close to the real thing, but it lacks that aspect


Even if your tuna is fresh, it will smell naturally reminiscent of the ocean it came from. The same can be said for most other seafood and edible seaweed like spirulina which give off a somewhat fishy aroma. Unless the stench of your tuna is so strong that it isn’t appetizing, this is usually not a cause for concern. Particularly in canned tuna, the flavor is actually a histamine created in the cooking process that kills bacteria (via Leo Weekly). Even so, the smell can be off-putting whether you like tuna or not. But when 80% of taste is related to your sense of smell (via Science World), that’s an important component that fake tuna must include in order to work as a true substitute.

Naturally, plant-based tuna is made from plant-based alternatives. Besides watermelons and tomatoes which are used to mimic tuna steaks and sushi, plant-based alternatives to packaged tunas are usually made with a mixture of legumes. Pulses have their own associated smell, very different from that of fish. So instead of opening a sachet and preparing to be hit with a stench similar to your cat’s food, plant-based tuna will smell more like canned beans – a much less pungent smell, but alas, it’s nothing like real tuna at all. For this reason, The Take Out recommends using plant-based tuna alternatives in your tuna-free salads or other recipes where the flavors of additional ingredients help dress it up.


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