Seafood has been a popular choice among animal protein eaters for decades now because of its lean, light, succulent taste and texture. Most seafood is also significantly more healthy for your body than, say, red meat and fried, greasy chicken. The reason for this is that seafood contains amino acids (omegas) and nutrients while lacking the high fat and calories of other meats.

As long as you source your seafood from organic, wild-caught vendors (not industrial fish farms), you’re usually guaranteed to get fresh, top-notch ingredients that can be prepared in countless ways for wonderful lunch and dinner dishes. You also want to avoid fish with high-mercury content, like swordfish, shark, and certain kinds of tuna.

Here are 5 incredible, healthy seafood dishes for you to make at home:

Don’t Crowd Your Summer Scallops

Scallops are easily one of the most delicious seafood dishes, provided that you cook them with care and vigilance. Scallops need far less cooking time and heat than most other kinds of seafood.

Make sure you prepare them in a top-notch pan. The Made In Cookware artisans advise chefs not to “crowd your scallops” while cooking. On their Instagram page they recommend a 10” French Blue Carbon Steel Fry Pan that is ideal for searing or basting scallops.

Shrimp Scampi To Die For

Shrimp is one of the most popular kinds of seafood and shrimp scampi is one of the most popular dishes at restaurants. But you don’t need to go to a restaurant.

Just get 1 ½ pounds of fresh wild-caught shrimp, then shell and devein them and cut off the tails. Toss with a light pasta while adding freshly ground black pepper, cayenne, olive oil, garlic, shallots, parsley, oregano, and two tablespoons each of white wine and brandy. And voila….premium shrimp scampi.

So Much Salmon, So Little Time

Salmon is another seafood favorite and there are so many different ways to prepare it. Some like it pan-fried; others prefer oven-roasted; you can also grill it, poach it, broil it in the oven or fry it in a stovetop skillet; or, if you get the right kind, you can also serve it as raw sashimi or nigiri, which is increasingly popular.

My favorite is salmon belly nigiri. I know that may sound strange but if you can find it, you’ll be in heaven.

Oyster Stew….No Pearls

Oysters are one of the most underrated seafoods because most people assume you have to eat them raw. While raw, shucked oysters are amazing – if you’ve got the acquired taste for the texture – one of the very best oyster dishes is Oyster Stew.

Just make a classic stew, which will usually either be a tomato or cream-based broth (depending on your preference), and then throw in the oysters for 3-7 minutes of simmering. Main tip here is to make sure you get the right oysters. There are many, many different kinds of oysters and you will be limited by what your local seafood store offers.

The five types of oysters harvested in the U.S. are: Crassostrea Gigas–Pacific Oysters; Crassostrea Sikamea–Kumamoto Oysters; Crassostrea Virginicas–Atlantic Oysters (Bluepoints, Wellfleets, etc.); Ostrea Edulis–European Flats; and Ostrea Lurida or Ostrea Conchapila–Olympia Oysters.

Any of these would work just fine….just try and avoid getting canned oysters (they taste kind of weird).

The Two Faces of Clam Chowder

Another great seafood stew is the classic Clam Chowder. Clams are also delicious broiled on their own with butter sauce, but for a hearty dinner, few meals beat a good clam chowder.

You have a choice of the more popular New England-style clam chowder, which uses a cream base and usually contains diced potatoes; or you can go with the more jazzy Manhattan-style clam chowder, which uses a tomato-based broth and is kind of like Minestrone with clams.

Whatever you do, just be sure to serve it with a side of soft, warm bread and butter. You’re going to want to mop up the last of the broth with that bread, trust me.

So there you have it…five delicious options for seafood meals. Prepared correctly with the properly sourced, wild-caught ingredients, any of these will make a wonderful substitution for steak or chicken.