Crab cakes. Ohhh crab cakes. All of that delicious craby goodness, without the pain of actually peeling crabs. But let me back up for a second. One question that I get fairly often… “If you’re a vegan, why would you even want something that tastes the same as meat/seafood/dairy/whatever.” The answer is simple. I l like the taste of animal products. Tell all your friends, shout it from the rooftops. A lot of (I’d venture to say, most) vegans don’t follow a plant based lifestyle because they hate steak and cheese. They do it because they have decided that either their health or the environment or their love of animals is more important than the fact that they like fried chicken. Sure, there are plenty of people out there who simply don’t love the taste of animal products, and that’s great! Every person has their own reasons for following their specific lifestyle. Mine happens to be, first and foremost, my own health. Call me selfish, but that’s the reason I started eating plant based. Slowly, over time, the ethical and environmental benefits of veganism have made a connection with me. Anyways, I could go on about personal choices forever, but the point is, I like the taste of crab cakes, I grew up eating them, and I found a way to veganize them so I can enjoy them while still adhering to my current lifestyle.
Growing up, we went to the beach every year, sometimes twice a year. My aunt had a condo in Panama City that she let us use for a week or two. Theres this amazing restaurant about an 45 minutes or so away from that condo called The Red Bar where we would go eat AT LEAST twice every time we were there. I know 45 minutes seems like a pretty dramatic distance to drive for dinner, but this place is worth it. They have rotating menu items, but one item that they always offer is crab cakes, and holy moly they are good. The perfect balance of enough crab, not too much “cake”, a little spicy, a little sweet, just overall perfection. No other crab cake has ever measured up for me.
After getting home from our most recent beach vacation, I had crab cakes on the brain. Honestly, I was pretty bummed about not getting any of those delicious little guys while we were there. I set out to create a veganized “crab” cake recipe to fill the void. So what has that briney, salty, seafood type flavor and can be cut up into crab texture like pieces? Enter, canned artichokes. I already loved artichokes before, but this recipe has helped me see them in a whole new light. Artichokes can do anythiiiiiing. Okay, maybe not anything, but they’re way more versatile than they get credit for. I also tossed in some capers for even more of that salty ocean like flavor, plus veggies, lemon, and seasoned salt for that traditional crab cake flavor. I decided to oven bake these guys rather than pan fry to reduce the amount of oil needed.
Overall, they came out SO GOOD. Even Liam loved them, so they’re toddler approved, folks. After pulling these babies out of the oven, I decided that they could use a dipping sauce. Every great dish deserves a sauce, right? So I whipped together a spicy creamy sauce with some dijon mustard, sriracha, and cashew cream. It was the perfect complement, and again, Liam loved it. (Be warned, it may be too spicy for some kids, he’s always been a spice-aholic like his mama). I ended up eating the cakes with a little sauce on top by themselves, but put the leftovers on a bun with some pickles and lettuce as a sandwich and it was ahhhmazing. With some oven fries dipped in more of that lovely sauce? Sign me up, yall. So eat your heart out, Red Bar chef. Artichoke cakes are the new hot ticket.
Vegan Artichoke "Crab" Cakes
- 1 can artichoke hearts juice reserved
- 1 stalk celery finely chopped
- 1/2 red bell pepper diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 stalks green onion thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp parsley fresh, chopped
- 1 tbsp capers chopped
- 1 tbsp artichoke juice
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
- 1 tsp seasoned salt I used Trader Joe's
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 lemon juice from
Spicy Mustard Cream Sauce
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp sriracha sauce
- 3 tbsp cashew cream soaked cashews, blended
- Clean and chop all produce.
- Preheat oven to 450F.
- Soak chia seeds in 1 tbsp of water for at least 15 minutes.
- Drain artichokes and reserve juice. Roughly chop artichokes.
- Combine artichokes, soaked chia seeds, and chopped produce with all other ingredients in a large bowl.
- Add more artichoke juice or bread crumbs as needed for consistency. It should be thick enough to form patties but not dry.
- Form into palm sized patties and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Bake at 450F for 25 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- For sauce, mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Top cakes with fresh squeezed lemon juice after removing from oven. Serve topped with sauce, sliced green onion, and fresh parsley.
- Other serving ideas:Use as a topper for a romaine and lemon vinaigrette salad. Serve on a bun with pickles, lettuce, red onion, and sauce.Form mixture into balls instead of patties and serve on skewers as a party appetizer.