Vegan crab cakes have earned their place as a crave-worthy plant-based appetizer or light main course. Make your own with this easy and delicious recipe by Laura Theodore, aka the Jazzy Vegetarian. Key ingredients: Bread crumbs, zucchini, dulse (or nori), and tahini.
Laura says: “I used to love crab cakes and creating a vegan version has been high on my to-do list for quite a while. So imagine my happy dance when I came up with this authentic-tasting adaptation that is so easy to prepare!
These cakes make an appetizing first course or main dish for any special meal, served with a zingy sauce on the side.”
Chef’s notes and tips
Freshly made bread crumbs must be used in this recipe, as dry bread crumbs will not hold the cakes together. To make fresh bread crumbs, tear 6 to 8 slices of fresh, soft, whole-grain bread into chunks.
Put one-third of the bread chunks in a blender. Process (on low) into coarse crumbs. Continue in this way with the remaining bread chunks.
If you can’t find dulse flakes or granules, you may use nori instead. Put a 1⁄2 sheet of toasted nori, or 6 pieces or so nori snacks in a food processor or mini-prep and grind into coarse crumbs. Proceed with recipe as directed.
Recipe is from Laura Theodore’s Vegan-Ease: An Easy Guide to Enjoying a Plant-Based Diet ©Laura Theodore 2015, 2020. Reprinted by permission. Photo Credit: David Kaplan. Distributed by Cardinal Publishing.
Vegan-Ease is available wherever books are sold
Classic Cocktail Sauce
- ¼ cup catsup
- 1½ tablespoons prepared horseradish, plus more as needed
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Vegan Crab Cakes
- 2¼ cups lightly packed fresh soft bread crumbs (see Note)
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
- ½ teaspoon dried marjoram
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (use 1⁄8 teaspoon for less heat)
- ¼ teaspoon dulse flakes or granules (optional, see Note)
- 1 cup firmly packed grated zucchini
- ½ cup minced fresh onion
- 3 heaping tablespoons sesame tahini, plus more as needed
- 2⁄3 cup lightly packed fresh soft bread crumbs
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 4 lemon wedges
- Put all of the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Stir to combine. Taste and add more horseradish, if desired. Cover and refrigerate until serving.
- Preheat the oven to 400º F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper.
- To make the cakes, put the (2 1/4 cups) bread crumbs, mustard powder, marjoram, salt, cayenne pepper, and optional dulse in a large bowl and stir with a large spoon to combine.
- Add the zucchini and onion and gently stir to combine. Add the tahini and stir well, mixing it into the zucchini mixture until completely incorporated. If the mixture still seems dry, add 1 more heaping tablespoon of tahini.
- To make the breading: Put the (2⁄3 cup) bread crumbs, olive oil, and sea salt in a small bowl and stir to combine. Add an additional teaspoon of olive oil if the bread crumbs seem dry.
- Scoop up 1⁄4 cup of the zucchini mixture and form it into a cake. Dip it in the breading mixture to thoroughly coat both sides. Put the cake on the prepared baking sheet. Gently press down on the cake to compress it slightly. (This will help it to hold together while baking). Continue in this manner to form a total of eight cakes.
- Tent loosely with foil and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cakes begin to get golden around the edges. Flip the cakes and re-tent with the foil. Bake for 10 to 15 more minutes, or until slightly golden.
- Remove the foil and bake for another 5 to 7 minutes or until the cakes are crispy and golden brown. Put the sheet on a wire rack and let cool 5 minutes. The cakes will be slightly soft. To serve, carefully transfer the cakes, using a flat spatula, onto individual serving plates.
- For an appetizer, serve one cake per person; for a main course, serve two to three cakes per person, with Classic Cocktail Sauce on the side and garnished with a lemon wedge.
Freshly made bread crumbs must be used in this recipe, as dry bread crumbs will not hold the cakes together. To make fresh bread crumbs, tear 6 to 8 slices of fresh, soft, whole-grain bread into chunks. Put one-third of the bread chunks in a blender. Process (on low) into coarse crumbs. Continue in this way with the remaining bread chunks.
If you can’t find dulse flakes or granules, you may use nori instead. Put a 1⁄2 sheet of toasted nori into a blender and grind into coarse crumbs. Proceed with recipe as directed.
Laura Theodore is a recognized public television personality, 3-time TASTE award winning vegan chef, cookbook author, and award-winning recording artist. Learn more about Laura’s vegan television show at Jazzy Vegetarian, airing nationally on the Create Network (check local listings).
Listen to Laura’s weekly podcast on Unity Radio every Thursday at 3pm EST. Tune in for Season Eight of Laura’s vegan television show, Jazzy Vegetarian, airing nationally on many public television channels (check local listings).
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