Who knew that healthy eating could be fun? When I first decided to move into plant-based eating, I was completely afraid that I would have to leave my favorites in the past. As I was always a lover of seafood, I had to figure out a way to recreate what I loved near and dear. So I began Googling away. I came across many recipes that either involved too much breadcrumbs or not enough. I also came across recipes that resembled crab cakes but lacked the ‘seafood’ flavor. This caused me to take my favorites and infuse them into what I believe to be one of the best replication of a meatless crab cake.
So, what makes it so special ? Instead of using just chickpeas, artichokes, or hearts of palm, I decided to infuse them all, as I knew they would provide a meaty patty consistency and and all the flavors compliment each other - particularly the hearts of palm, which are the edible buds of a palm tree. When they are cut up, they give a great visual similar to crab meat. The chickpeas process down pretty well and have a mild nutty yet creamy texture producing everyone's favorite hummus. For this recipe however, be careful, when processing the chickpeas as you don’t want them to become mushy.
I also really wanted that brine flavor, so I incorporated the liquid from artichoke hearts in brine. For binding agents, I used a vegan mayo and Panko breadcrumbs. Panko is made from a crustless white bread that is processed into flakes and then dried. These breadcrumbs have a dryer and flakier consistency than regular breadcrumbs, and as a result they absorb less oil. Panko is a Japanese-style of breadcrumbs, traditionally used as a coating for deep-fried foods.
These crab cakes can be made into appetizer portions, entrée portions for something more filling, or even mini sized for hand-passed hors d’oeuvres.
Because I love my Southern heritage, I paired these with a spicy remoulade sauce. Remoulade is a mayo-based sauce that was originally invented in France, and is very similar to tartar sauce. In the Louisiana (or Cajun) culture, remoulade sauce is slightly different in that it has more of a kick, and it has more of a red hue to it. It's typically used cold as a dip or spread. The spice is typically added by the flavors in a Cajun seasoning. The Chopping Block carries a blackening seasoning in our retail stores that steps this sauce up a few notches! I have made this for so many friends, and they are all surprised when they find out it’s completely vegan. I urge you to try it out; you won’t be disappointed!
Black Magic Seasoning by Spiceogly sold at The Chopping Block
Vegan Crab Cakes
Scroll down for printable version of this recipe
Makes: 8 crab cakes
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Inactive time: 20 minutes
1 15 oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed (save the liquid)
1 15 oz cans hearts of palm, drained, rinsed, and cut in half
1 15 oz can artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup green onion, sliced
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons Cajun Seasoning (I used the Black Magic above)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, more to taste
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
2 cup breadcrumbs or Panko, divided
1/4 cup preferred oil for pan-frying
1. In a food processor bow, add the garbanzo beans and hearts of palm. Pulse just a few times to break it up. Don’t pulse too many times or it will turn to mush. It should have a crab-like consistency. You can also do this manually; just use a fork or your hands to shred everything up. Set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the reserved liquid (from the beans) until it’s slightly foamy. Then add the vegan mayonnaise, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and all the dry seasonings. Whisk to combine well.
3. Now add one cup of the breadcrumbs, green onion, and hearts of palm and garbanzo bean mixture. Gently fold to combine. Taste for salt or seasoning, add more if needed. Pop the mixture in the freezer for 20 minutes. This helps the mixture stay together a bit better.
4. Place enough breadcrumbs onto a shallow plate that will coat patties evenly. Take the mixture out of the freezer.
5. Place about 1/4 cup of mixture into your hands to form a ball. Then gently flatten to form it into a patty shape. Coat patty in the bread crumbs on each side. Place aside and continue until the mixture is gone.
6. Heat a large skillet over medium heat (about 2-3 minutes). Add about 2 tablespoons of oil and wait until it gets hot and shimmery before adding the patties. If you place the patty in the pan, and you hear it sizzle, it’s ready.7. Place about 4-5 patties on your pan at one time, but make sure you don’t overcrowd the pan because they won’t cook properly. Pan-fry them for about 3-4 minutes on each side, or until light golden brown. Try to only flip each patty once. When done, transfer the patties to a paper towel-lined plate to absorb excess oil. Wipe out the pan before the uncooked patties are added. Add fresh oil and continue until all patties are complete.
8. Serve with Spicy Remoulade and lemon wedges.
Vegan Spicy Remoulade
Makes: 1 cup
1 cup vegan mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons capers, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Cajun Seasoning to taste (optional for spice)
- Mix all ingredients in a small bowl.
- For extra flavor, let the sauce sit for an hour before serving.
The Chopping Block also has several upcoming vegetarian classes to check out:
- Vegetarian Boot Camp Sunday, February 27 10am Lincoln Square Just 1 spot left!
- Hands-On Vegetarian Fiesta: Tortillas and Tacos from Scratch Saturday, March 12 11am Merchandise Mart