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The 6 Best Substitutes to Sole Fish

Health experts discourage the consumption of sole fish due to its numerous health and environmental concerns. Luckily, there are several healthier and more sustainable alternatives

Substitutes to sole fish include brill, cod, sturgeon, flounder, dab, plaice, and halibut.

Although sole fish tastes great in meals, we must look for healthy and more sustainable substitutes due to the concerns mentioned above. Here are six other flatfish species that can replace sole fish.

1. Flounder

The flounder species are a great healthy alternative to sole fish. Like sole fish, they also reside on the ocean floor and have the same mild taste and delicate texture.

Flounder offers many health benefits. Flounder is low in fat and calories and rich in protein, vitamins (especially B12), minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Vitamin B12 is an essential component for red blood cell formation and bone health. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce the risk factor for cardiovascular diseases.

The best way to prepare this fish is to use methods that preserve its delicate nature. Still, you can do plenty with flounder–you can bake, broil, steam, or poach it.

A woman with fried flounder on a silver tray
Nothing much beats fried flounder

2. Sturgeon

Sturgeon arguably has the most delicate texture of all the fish mentioned above. It also has a mild taste and is safe for eating. Although some suggest that eating sturgeon raw is okay, you can also boil it.

Sturgeon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A, B, and E, and minerals such as iron, selenium, and calcium. Sturgeon is good for heart health because it contains omega-3 fatty acids and other long-chain fatty acids.

roasted sturgeon served with lemon and olives

3. Halibut

Halibut is a large flatfish species common in many European recipes. While it offers many nutritional benefits, it’s also a subject of concern regarding safe consumption.

Sure, it’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, and vitamins B6 and B12, but it’s also susceptible to mercury contamination and has sustainability concerns. Like some other flatfish species, halibut can be fried, baked, or grilled.

4. Common Dab

Dab is a common flatfish recently gaining attention in the commercial fish market as an alternative to overfished species. Dab belongs to the flatfish family Pleuronectidae and is abundant in the UK and the North Sea. 

Dab has an oval shape and a whitish flesh with changeable colors. It’s also mild-tasting and an excellent substitute for sole fish. You can fry, bake or grill it.

Dab is much healthier to consume and offers many nutritional benefits. It’s rich in protein, selenium, vitamins, and minerals. It has a lower percentage of calories and low fat content.

5. Plaice

Plaice is a popular flatfish common in many European cuisines. It can be used in sandwiches. It can also be served as the primary protein source in French fries.

Plaice also has an oval shape and smooth, colored skin. Depending on the environment, skin color can range from dark brown to dark green.

Plaice is a healthy substitute for sole fish. It’s low in calories and fat and is a good vitamin B and iron source. It also contains calcium, potassium, and zinc.

6. Brill

Brill is of the turbo to flatfish family and another great alternative to sole fish. It has an oval-shaped body and smooth outer skin. It also has a mild taste like sole fish and can replace sole fish in any applicable recipe.

You can enjoy your brill fish in several ways: you can poach, truanch, or fry it.

Brill fish is also safe to consume and has numerous health benefits. Turbo fish contain ample proteins, calories, and saturated fats

They’re also rich in mineral elements such as magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. These elements help to boost immunity, reduce inflammation, and enhance brain function, among others.

Fresh brill at a market

Other Non-Flatfish Substitutes to Sole Fish

The focus so far has been on flatfish substitutes because of their mild taste and delicate texture. However, there are other healthy round fish alternatives to sole that are also mild-tasting and offer the same enjoyable, delectable texture. 

Examples include

  1. Cod
  2. Salmon
  3. Trout
  4. Sea bass
  5. Tuna

Let’s examine them one by one.

  1. Cod: Cod is probably more popular for its liver oil. Like sole, it’s mild-tasting and delicate. But it’s rich in omega-3 fats and essential nutrients. It’s safer and healthier to consume.
  2. Salmon: Salmon is another mild-tasting non-flatfish substitute for sole fish. It’s popular in many cuisines. It can be fried, baked, or grilled. And yes, it’s rich in omega-3 and long-chain fats.
  3. Trout: Trout comes from the same family as salmon. It can conveniently replace sole fish and is also rich in omega-3 fats. It is low in mercury and is safe for consumption.
  4. Sea bass: Sea bass is a general name for marine fish. Although you can enjoy it in many ways, it’s best pan-fried. Sea bass is highly nutritious: it contains proteins, omega-3 fats, and a wide assortment of minerals and vitamins.
  5. Tuna: Tuna is a popular saltwater fish that can replace sole fish. It’s rich in omega-3 fats, proteins, vitamins, and other essential nutrients. To get the best out of tuna, fry briefly using high heat.

The above are great non-flatfish substitutes. However, caution is necessary as some of them, such as cod, tuna, and salmon, have reportedly been responsible for food allergies in some people.

Related The 12 Best Similar Substitutes for Orange Roughy.

What Kind of Fish Is Sole Fish?

Sole fish is a species of flatfish common in Europe. Their mild taste and delicate texture make them a valuable component of many recipes. Because they reside close to the ocean floor, fish farmers use large nets or trawls to scrape the ocean floor.

Experts opine that sole fish isn’t healthy or advised for consumption for several reasons.

  1. Sole fish is not sustainable.
  2. Sole fish has been the subject of controversial harvesting methods that portend severe environmental implications. 
  3. In addition, sole fish lacks omega-3 fats, an essential fat that helps lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Are Sole and Flounder the Same?

Sole fish and flounder are not the same fish. They belong to the flatfish family, but they’re different species. Although they’re similar in taste and texture, flounder is safer and healthier to consume than sole fish.

Here are some marked differences between the two species of flatfish.

  • They belong to different families. Sole fish is of the Soleidae family, while flounder belong to the Achiropsettidae, Paralichthyidae, Pleuronectidae, and Bothidae families.
  • They live in different habitats. Both sole and flounder reside on the ocean floor; sole prefers muddy areas while flounder are more profound in rocks and coral reefs.
  • Sole and flounder are rich in protein and vitamins, but flounder contains sufficient omega-3 fats, whereas sole comes incredibly short.

Is Cod and Sole Similar?

Cod and sole are not similar. Cod is a round fish, while the sole is a flatfish. However, cold has the mild taste of sole fish and is a healthier substitute.

Cod is safer and more nutritious to consume than sole fish. It’s a rich source of omega-3 fats, vitamins, and minerals. You can use cod in place of sole fish in any recipe.

Can You Use Tilapia Instead of Sole?

Tilapia can replace sole fish in any recipe. It’s mild tasting and delicate. It can be broiled, fried, or baked. In addition, it’s safer and healthier to consume than sole fish.

Tilapia is rich in omega-3 fats, vitamins, and minerals. Tilapia is common in the US because it’s affordable and very reliable. However, there are some concerns regarding consuming tilapia.

  • It has more omega-6 than omega-3 fats. This disparity can lead to inflammation.
  • Tilapia is also a subject of controversial farming practices, which puts it at risk of contamination.

For more, don’t miss 4 Best Tasting Freshwater Fish (And How To Prepare Them).