>U Mom Knows Best: Plant Based Crab Cakes That Are Vegan

Monday, April 27, 2020

Plant Based Crab Cakes That Are Vegan

A couple unique ingredients are all it takes to make a vegan dish that tastes and looks like crab cakes

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 These vegan "crab" cake look-alikes have amazing texture and flavor, one bite and you will think they are the real thing. The plant-based version of seafood cakes are whole food, oil-free, sugar-free, and the recipe used no processed ingredients or artificial ingredients or colors. They are so easy to make and you will agree that a vegan diet can be delicious. Following a plant-based diet is simple and delicious when you have the best recipes and some unique ingredients.

Unique ingredient ~ #1 Heart of Palm

 The main ingredient in these wonderful "crab" cakes is heart of palm. Heart of palm is a vegetable harvested from the inner core and growing bud of certain palm trees. This nutritious veggie is a great source of fiber, iron, and zinc. The heart of palm has a texture similar to crab and is usually sold in cans and glass jars. I am sure at specialty stores, you may be able to buy hearts of palm fresh but this recipe needs the can version of hearts of palm. The can of hearts of palm is packed in water or brine which gives the texture that is needed for the vegan "crab" substitute for this vegan recipe. Heart of palm can be found in most grocery stores and online. I purchased my heart of palm online. The heart of palm may have a taste similar to artichoke hearts but make sure to buy hearts of palm for this recipe.

Unique ingredient #2 ~ Old Bay Seasoning

 The Old Bay Seasoning is another key ingredient as it has the perfect blend of spices that gives the "crab" cakes the seafood flavor. Old Bay Seasoning is a seasoning blend that is often used in seafood recipes. This flavor spice of 18 spices can also be used to season chicken and veggies. So don't worry about buying a whole container of Old Bay Seasoning as you will find many uses for the spice blend and it is reasonably priced.

Unique ingredient #3 ~ Aquafaba

 I am sure most of you have never heard of Aquafaba. This vegan egg substitute is a wonderful liquid that is made from cooking dried chickpeas or dried garbanzo beans. This gel-like liquid that most people pour down the drain after opening a can of garbanzo beans to make an easy hummus recipe. This unique liquid from cooking chickpeas can be whipped like egg whites to make vegan chocolate mousse or used like eggs to make vegan scrambled eggs. So for this recipe, you are going to need 1/4 cup of chickpea liquid or Aquafaba, so save that awesome vegan egg liquid from your can of chickpeas (store it in the fridge for up to 2 weeks) or make homemade Aquafaba from dried chickpeas in your Instant Pot. Making Aquafaba is so easy in an Instant Pot, get the homemade Aquafaba recipe here.

Unique ingredient #4 ~ Chickpeas

 If you decide to make your own Aquafaba, then you will be using the cooked chickpeas from that recipe. If you are using a can of chickpeas, then make sure to save the liquid from the can. The cooked chickpeas in this vegetarian recipe give the crab-like texture so it tastes like the real thing. I think when you make your favorite foods vegan, the texture is just important as taste.

Unique ingredient #5 ~ Panko

 To get the crispy crust on these delicious plant-based "crab" cakes, you will need some Panko crumbs. Panko crumbs are for a coating used in many recipes like fish. Panko is simply bread crumbs so they are not gluten-free. If you need this recipe to be vegan then use gluten-free bread crumbs.

A simple vegan recipe

 When I discovered this recipe, I was searching for how to make vegan mayo with Aquafaba and I came across the vegan "crab" cake recipe. I am addicted to that fake crab meat and I have not been able to buy it in the stores for a long time. I have been shopping for food online in the past six weeks so I knew that I could get the ingredients that I needed for the recipe online. I have been eating mostly vegan for a while and this recipe would help me make my diet more plant-based. Discovering vegan recipes like vegan tuna salad have made it so easy to swap out my favorite foods to eat more meatless meals and follow a plant-based diet.

So make your Aquafaba and gather up the rest of the ingredients that you need for this delicious vegan recipe. You will also need a food processor to make the right texture for the cakes. If you don't have a food processor, you can use a fork to smash the chickpeas but a food processor is an awesome small appliance to have in the kitchen for vegan cooking. Now is the perfect time to splurge on a food processor and you can find a food processor on Amazon for under $50.


Pin this recipe on Pinterest to save it so you can make it later!



Yield: 6
These Vegan “Crab” Cakes will blow you away with their amazing texture and flavor. They are easy to make and look like the real deal.


  • 1 cup can chickpeas  Save all the liquid from the can
  • 1 – 14 oz. can Hearts of Palm, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup reserved chickpea liquid-save the rest for brushing the crab cakes before baking
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vegan Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup green onions, diced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning 
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika (+ more for sprinkling)
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs (+ extra for the outer coat


  1. Drain the chickpeas over a strainer into a bowl to reserve the keep the liquid
  2. Rinse the chickpeas and add them to a food processor. Pulse the processor a few times to break them up. Be careful not to over-process the chickpeas so there are some chucks.
  3.  Remove from the food processor and set the chickpeas aside in a medium bowl.
  4. Then add the drained hearts of palm to the food processor and pulse a few times to break them up.  Be careful not to over-process the hearts of palm as you want the texture to resemble crab meat. 
  5. Remove from the hearts of palm processor and place it in the same bowl as the processed chickpeas.
  6. In a separate bowl, whisk the reserved chickpea liquid to get a frothy consistency – this will take a couple of minutes.
  7.  To the 1/4 cup of chickpea liquid, stir in the lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, and all the dry seasonings. 
  8. Place the breadcrumbs and green onions into the chickpea and hearts of palms bowl, stir together.  Then add the whisked chickpea liquid mixture and remaining seasonings. 
  9. Cover the bowl and place mixture into the freezer for 15 to firm up.
  10. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  11. Place the bread crumbs onto a flat plate. 
  12. Fill a 1/3 cup measuring cup with the "crab" cake mixture and pack it down firmly, then remove and further shape it into a patty.  Place the patty on to the bread crumbs and gently coat each side.
  13. Place the patty on a baking sheet. Repeat the above steps until all patties are formed.
  14. Lightly brush all the patties with the reserved chickpea liquid and sprinkle each one with the paprika powder.
  15. Bake the patties for 20 minutes. After20 minutes, switch the oven temperature to broil, moving the crab cakes to the top rack. Broil the cakes until lightly brown.  Serve immediately.
Created using The Recipes Generator


  1. Now this looks amazing and so delicious.

  2. I am not vegan, but I would give these a try to see if I liked them! They look tasty!

  3. This has to be the first recipe I’ve seen for plant-based crab cakes. They look delicious and I’ll give them a try.

  4. I absolutely LOVE crab cakes. This looks like such an interesting recipe. I'll have to try it!

  5. One of our good friend's daughter is vegan. I bet she would like these! If these didn't have chickpeas (can't have them on keto), I'd love to eat these!

    1. That is good info to know on the chickpeas not allowed on a keto diet.

  6. This is such a neat recipe! I love chickpeas and have never thought to make patties like these.

  7. That's the way I like it – Vegetarian! I am making them. All ingredients are in my kitchen pantry and fridge. I would love to test it out. Never made vegetarian crab cakes. Would love to!

  8. I have actually never had hearts of palm. It sounds interesting. But I fear that I would not be able to eat these crab cakes. I grew up in Maine with seafood all the time. It has made me a picky seafood eater! This is a great alternative, though!

  9. oh wow! This would be ideal for a friend. She's been doing a plant-based diet and she loves crab cakes. Worth sharing this post with her.

  10. This looks so good! <3 Plus the fact that it is plant-based. How I wish we have more options here...

  11. I am drooling over these crab cakes! I would like to make them today!

  12. These sound gorgeous. I love vegan crab cakes. I've had them before but never with quite the same ingredients!

  13. My hubby love grab cakes, I may have to try these out for him. Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us!

  14. These look tasty and like something that is not too complicated to make. I had no clue there was a vegan option to make crab cakes, thanks for sharing!

  15. Those plant based fish cakes looks amazing. I will have to break every single quarantine rule to find those ingredients and even end up in jail. Imagine having to explain to a police officer that I need to get Panko, hearts of palm and Aquafaba in order to eat today. haha!

  16. Super creative dish! I'm not vegan but would love to try these!

  17. What a great recipe to try! Plus I liked that it is vegan.

  18. I used to be vegetarian and I'd make creative stuff like this all the time! I don't actually crab so I would definitely be interested in trying a crabless crab cake :P

  19. These sound delicious. Are hearts of palm available at most grocery stores? I've never seen it but then I have never looked for it.

  20. I never would have thought about using heart of palm as a "crab cake"! I love, love crab cakes and seafood and do miss them. I'm definitely trying this!

  21. You really proved that mom knows best, These sound gorgeous, i love to eat vegan crab cakes...... if you would like to send to me... (Bee Jay)

  22. Looks delicious! I am not vegan but it looks so good. Yes I am a person who cooks and buys tons of vegan not being vegan. I will try to cook it soon

  23. Oh this is an awesome recipe! I'm so fond of chickpeas, especially the sweetened one for desserts where it could be mixed with ice and milk.

  24. Receipe looks great. I will pass this on to my sister as she follows a plant based diet.

  25. Ohhhhh I love crab cakes! They are some of my favorites!

  26. I love a good crab cake. I will have to check out this recipe. If it tastes as good as it looks it will have to become a regular in my diet.

  27. That's so crazy that there's a vegan version of crab cakes. I didn't even know that was possible! I'll be sure to share this with my friends.

  28. Crab cakes are a favorite of mine and now that I am vegan I can still enjoy them. I love chick peas so using them and the juice is a great idea.

  29. I adore this amazing recipe, Tara! The ingredients are FABulous. The quality of nutrition is superb.

  30. I have never actually had crab before. This looks delicious though. I really need to give it a try.

  31. Seems so savory! But what if we can't purchase a "heart of palm"? What else can we use?

  32. This sounds so tasty. I can't wait to try this vegan friendly dish. I'm always up for dishes like this.

  33. This recipe looks so delicious! I might have to try these for my husband.

  34. I do love crab cakes. It's amazing that you made a vegan alternative. I'd love to try it.

  35. YUM! I love making dishes with aquafaba. I have a bottle of it in the refrigerator right now.

  36. I wish I had everything on hand to make this recipe right now.

  37. One of the things my sister missed the most when she became a vegan was crab cakes. She will love this recipe!

  38. This plant based crab cakes looks yum love it.

  39. Mama Maggie's KitchenMarch 28, 2021 at 1:34 AM

    I am soooo excited to make these Plant Based Crab Cakes for my family. I am so sure they will love this.

  40. We are seafood lovers over here and crab cakes are one of our faves. We've never tried plant-based, though. Can't wait to try it. -LYNNDEE

  41. Yes, please! This is the kind of cakes I love. It's even better that they are vegan!

  42. I am loving everything about this recipe. Can't wait to give it a try!

  43. My mom used to make these but I wasn't ever a fan. I'll have to share these with my friend who is vegan and is always looking for new recipes.


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