Vegan Crab Cakes that are tender, moist, full of texture, packed with flavour & subtly 'fishy'. They are so like the real deal and they are really easy to make!
These Vegan Crab Cakes are incredible. They are golden, tender, moist, flaky and absolutely full of flavour thanks to a combo of red curry paste, green onions, lime, tamari and ginger.
If you aren't big on spicy food, don't be put off because there isn't much Thai red curry paste in them and they aren't really spicy. Having said that if you do like spice feel free to add more!
They are just perfect. Perfect flavour, perfect texture and they look mighty fine too, in all of their crispy, golden gloriousness!
To make vegan crab cakes you will need:
- Potatoes - Mashed potato makes up the main substance of these cakes and keeps everything held together.
- Hearts of palm and canned artichoke hearts - For the vegan "crab meat" texture and appearance.
- Nori - For the "of the sea" flavour.
- Green onions, tamari, lime, ginger, curry paste, salt - Flavour, flavour, flavour! It's easy for vegan copycat type recipes to be bland so we need to amp things up with lots of flavourful ingredients so they are the opposite.
What makes vegan crab cake fishy?
The addition of nori sheets is what makes these Vegan Crab Cakes taste "of the sea" and slightly fishy. You know?... The stuff you use to roll sushi. You can pick it up in most stores now and it is perfect in this recipe.
In addition to nori, you are going to need canned hearts of palm. Vegan crab cakes with hearts of palm are the key to a good vegan crab meat texture because they are soft and stringy, a bit like crab meat.
Hearts of Palm are not to be confused with palm oil. They are a totally different species of palm tree and are grown in different parts of the world entirely. They are a really tasty, versatile and nutritious ingredient. Rich in potassium, cholesterol free and a great source of plant powered protein. The perfect addition to your vegan recipes!
You will find them in most grocery stores. They will be with the canned vegetables, usually pretty near the artichokes. The long tubular stick shapes of it are better for this particular recipe because you need to shred or grate them to make them appear and feel like vegan crab meat.
The shredded hearts of palm and some chopped canned artichoke hearts are what gives these vegan crab cakes their "crab meaty" texture. It really is so similar once it's shredded up. In combination with the artichoke and the nori it is so hard to believe that there is no actual crab in these cakes!
Just look at that inside shot!
How to make vegan crab cakes
This vegan crab cakes recipe is so simple to make. The base ingredient and glue to hold them all together is mashed potato.
Step 1 - Add the green onions, curry paste, tamari, lime zest, lime juice and ginger to a food processor
Step 2 - Break up some nori sheets and add them too
Step 3 - Process until you have a slightly chunky paste
Step 4 - Grate or shred the Hearts Of Palm
Step 5 - Chop the artichoke hearts
Step 6 - Mix everything together with the mashed potato and a generous amount of seasoning
Step 7 - Shape into patties
Step 8 - Either pan fry or oven bake
- Weigh the potatoes so you get the exact right proportions. This will ensure the texture is as it is supposed to be.
- Make sure you drain everything really well ... That's the boiled potatoes and the canned ingredients.
- Don't add vegan butter or milk to the potatoes when you mash them. The might seem a tad dry but by the time you add everything else they will be fine.
- Pan fry for the best crusty, golden outsides!
These Thai Style Vegan Crab Cakes don't take long to make. With just a few easy steps they are done and ready to pan fry or bake.
- To make ahead of time - Vegan crab cakes can be made ahead of time. Just prepare them as instructed and lay them out on a lined baking tray. Cover and pop in the fridge for up to 3 days then cook as instructed.
- Reheating leftovers - Cooked vegan crab cakes will keep for 2 to 3 days in the fridge. To reheat, put them on a lined tray in the oven on 350°F for about 20 minutes or until heated through.
- Coat them in panko crumbs - If you like a crispy crunchy outside you could coat the outside of these vegan crab cakes with panko crumbs. Just put the crumbs on a plate and once you have formed the crab cakes push them into the crumbs so they stick into the mashed potato.
- Use something else instead of the nori - Dulse flakes or kelp granules make a good alternative.
- Use green curry paste - Switch the red curry paste for green to switch up the flavour.
What do vegan crab cakes go with?
Wondering what sides you should serve with vegan crab cakes?
As it's summer we have been enjoying these yummy Vegan Crab Cakes with lots of fresh salads for dinner. They are particularly good with my:
- Vegan Broccoli Salad
- Tomato Chickpea Salad with Cilantro & Lime
- Cucumber Avocado Salad
- Watermelon Mint Salad
- Sugar Snap Pea Salad
- Kidney Bean Salad with lemon and parsley
If you are wondering what sauce goes well with vegan crab cakes then my Green Sauce is the answer. It is a fantastic accompaniment. A dollop of my fresh and cooling vegan yogurt recipe is lovely with them too or my Avocado Dressing.
You could also serve them with Lemon Garlic Air Fryer Roasted Potatoes, home-made potato wedges, fries, baked potatoes, steamed new potatoes, polenta, grits, arugula, corn on the cob, potato salad, coleslaw or even in a bun as a veggie burger substitute.
They can also be made into mini cakes and served with a sweet chili dipping sauce <double drool> either as an appetizer at a dinner party or as part of a buffet.
If you try this recipe, let me know how you like it by leaving a comment and rating below! And be sure to join my mailing list for more deliciousness!
Vegan Crab CakesAuthor:
- 600g (4 cups diced or about 4 medium) potatoes
- 7-8 individual (1 bunch) green onions
- 1 lime , zest & juice
- 1½ inch knob of fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon Tamari , or soy sauce
- 4 tablespoons Red Curry Paste , I used Thai kitchen brand.
- 4 sheets nori
- 1 15oz ( 398 gram) can hearts of palm, drained , the long tubular shaped ones work best. (drained weight is about 200 g)
- 100g (¾ cup) canned artichoke hearts , drained
- pepper , to taste
- salt , to taste
- 2 tablespoons oil for pan frying , optional
- Peel and cube the potatoes then add them to a pan. Cover with water and boil until fork tender and mashable but not too soft, then drain, mash and set aside.
- While the potatoes are boiling, add the green onions, lime juice, lime zest, ginger, tamari and curry paste to a food processor. Break the nori sheets up into manageable pieces and put them in the food processor with the other ingredients. Process until it is a paste. The nori tends to stay a little chunkier than everything else and that is ok.
- Drain the hearts of palm really, really well, and either grate them, or shred them with a fork, then drain the artichokes and roughly chop. Be sure to drain them throughly and give the artichokes a little squeeze to get any residual liquid out of them.
- Once the potatoes have cooled enough to handle, add the paste and stir through really well so it's evenly distributed then add the shredded hearts of palm and the chopped artichoke and stir through gently.
- Form into patties, squeezing them together really well, then place them on a tray with some baking parchment as you go. To cook you can either pan-fry them, oven bake or cook them on a griddle. They are best pan-fried as they develop a lovely golden crust.
- Warm a couple tablespoons of oil in a pan over medium high heat. Once really hot add the crab cakes carefully. Leave them well alone for around 4 minutes to allow a thick, golden crust to develop then turn over and do the same on the other side. Remove from the pan and rest them on some kitchen paper to absorb excess oil. Your pan probably wont be big enough to cook them all at once so have the oven on low and pop the cooked ones in there to keep warm while you cook the rest.
- Warm your griddle to a medium high heat. When hot carefully place the crab cakes on the griddle and cook for 4-5 minutes each side.
To oven bake
- Place on a tray on lightly greased baking parchment and bake at 400°F for around 25 minutes. Turn over half way through.
Originally published August 8th 2017. Updated and republished on April 25th 2020.