I shared this picture in my post last week when I featured my Vegan Wine Weekend Culinary experience. I already knew that I wanted to make these little gem of a spin on Crab Cakes. My journey of eating plant-based had left me missing some seafood, crab cakes being one of them. With Mother’s day on the horizon and the thought of having dinner at Momma’s and trying not to let her cook loomed in the sky! With my new culinary gumption in hand I decided it was time to make these little gems!
My Momma is a great cook, and she really likes seafood A LOT! I knew she would go for a plant-based meal, she loves me like that… but the rest of the family? Since it was Mother’s day too, I didn’t want to deprive my Mom of flavors she really enjoys. My sister Diana was in charge of making some chicken for the men and others in the fam that just don’t want to venture to the wild side of plants! I am ever thankful though that my family will eat veggies because we served up some of our go to veggies; grilled asparagus, roasted potatoes and of course a glorious green salad with this dinner.
I am just here to tell you, when you transition from a meat, or processed food diet to a plant-based diet, you do not have to lament over what you are loosing… you need to celebrate what you are gaining, which is your health AND you will start tasting things you never had before. Processed food dulls our food senses and causes all kinds of stupid cravings in our body that lead us to eating “stuff” that does just that, stuffs us and does not nourish our bodies and give us what we need.
Sorry, you know me I have to get on my “health soap box.” Now back to the cakes and why you should make up a batch. The “crab meat” is achieved by breaking down artichoke hearts to resemble the consistency of crab. The combination of toasted nori sheets and Old Bay spice bring in the magical illusion of all things from the sea, without the mercury and what other unknowns might be lurking in commercial crab meat today! Combine that with some Vegenaise (yes this dish is one that I diverge into a little oil loving) that is mingled with well-chosen spices and you will think you are sitting at a little cafe in Maryland eating up some good ole crab cakes as the fishing boats glide by.
Before you look at the recipe and say nope, too much recipe, too many parts. STOP, one thing I learned from my culinary weekend, was trust the process and break it down. Since I was making these for Sunday I made sure I had all my ingredients at hand. Saturday I made the remoulade, which maybe took 10-15 minutes with clean up. I also went ahead and chopped up the peppers, onions and toasted the nori sheets I would need for the next day. So all total with clean up I may have spent 1/2 hour on the cakes Saturday.
Sunday I was able to mix up the cakes and as I let them do their thing (they need to sit in the fridge after mixing for 1/2 hour) I was able to find other projects to work on in the kitchen, plus I had the added distraction of my nephews stopping by after church! I made up the patties, packed them in a container and they were ready to take to my Momma’s for cooking at eating!
Of course you can see I didn’t get too fancy on the plating like we did at my culinary weekend. I didn’t want to send my family into overload with both a full on Veg meal and fancy presentations. Look at all that green on Mom’s plate… I can’t take too much credit here, she always served up salad and veggies with our meals! But this is a no meat plate and a yummy one at that. I can’t believe my Mom actually allowed my sister and I to be int the kitchen and not help with anything. She only had to throw out a few reminders on timing :) and a well needed suggestion so I wouldn’t burn myself cooking the cakes. I will say she looked a little lost in her kitchen at the other end instead of at the stove or chopping station at the end of the counter! It was my turn to give a little love in the kitchen through food like she has for so many years.
So the verdict on the crab cakes? Mom really liked them, my sister who doesn’t like seafood went back for seconds and gave a big thumbs up, my brother had seconds and I believe so did my brother-in-law, Dad had a bite and my niece Zoe liked them too. I’ll take that as a win for this dish and my family! I knew I should double the batch, but I didn’t expect all to like them that much! What they lacked in being as pretty as Chef Chad and team made, they did not lack in flavor! See my notes after the recipe for tips.
So next Sunday instead of serving up fried chicken to your family or yourself, why not venture on the wild side and go for some healthy Vegan Crab Cakes! They will make you smile and your body will thank you too, you definitely will not be crabby after serving this up!
Crab Cakes Hearts-of-palm-style with Remoulade (serves 4)
1 cup vegan mayonnaise
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons minced capers
2 teaspoons minced shallot
1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
2 teaspoons minced red bell pepper
1 sheet of nori, or 2 teaspoons toasted nori flakes
Two 14-ounce cans hearts of palm
1/2 cup canola oil, more if needed (alternative: reduce to 1⁄4 cup oil if using small sauté pan)
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1/4 cup finely diced red bell pepper
3 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
2 teaspoons arrowroot or cornstarch
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1. Prepare Rémoulade: Place all rémoulade ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend on high for 1 minute. Set aside or store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
2. Prepare Crab Cakes: Toast nori sheet by holding it with tongs and fanning it over a low gas flame or electric burner. Be careful not to let it burn. Turn the sheet frequently, so that it toasts evenly.
3. Grind the nori using a spice grinder or a coffee grinder that you use exclusively for spices. Break the nori into pieces, place it in the grinder, and pulse until powdered. Alternatively, crumble it as finely as you can with your hands or pulverize it with a mortar and pestle.
4. Drain the hearts of palm and press in a towel to dry them. In a food processor, pulse gently until it looks like the consistency of crabmeat.
5. Place a small sauté pan on medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon of oil and heat for 30 seconds, being careful not to let it smoke. Sauté the onion and bell pepper until soft, 3 to 5 minutes.
6. In a large bowl, combine the hearts of palm, onion, bell pepper, Vegenaise, 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning, nori flakes, nutritional yeast flakes, arrowroot or cornstarch, and salt and pepper. Mix until incorporated. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
7. Scoop with an ice cream scoop or a large tablespoon to portion into small cakes. Combine breadcrumbs with 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning. Coat the small cakes with breadcrumbs. Form and let sit in the refrigerator for 1 hour or until firm.
8. Cook Crab Cakes: Place a sauté pan on medium-high heat. Add some canola oil and heat for 2 minutes. Working in batches, sauté the cakes (make certain that the oil comes about half way up the sides of the cakes) until browned on both sides and heated through, 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
9. Remove the cakes to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place in a warm oven (200°F) until you finish all of the cakes.
10. Serve: Place the cakes on a plate and garnish with Rémoulade. Top off with some spring greens if you have them.
From the book “Crazy Sexy Kitchen” pg.151 http://kriscarr.com/
Notes from Me! I followed the recipe, but I do know that the cakes we had at the culinary weekend had a different sauce served up. Also my cakes didn’t seem to hold together as well as I wanted so next time I will add a little more arrowroot to the mixture. I followed the cooking directions on how much oil to use to fry them. This was hard for me because I have been trying to leave oil behind for the most part. I will use less next time for sure and I don’t think I will have a hard time frying them. The other thing I want to mention is that even uncooked this dish is yummy and could be used for a sandwich or over a salad. I would probably do some tweaking such as adding some of the spices from the remoulade, and as Chef Chad said the recipe is just a guide! So step outside the page and live on the wild side of eating plant-based, whole food and take your health back!
“Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health,
as it goes well with your soul.” 3john2