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This vegan crab cake recipe is easy to make, bursting with flavor, and has the perfect crab meat texture and consistency. Dollop with our homemade vegan tartar sauce and fresh dill and enjoy as a delicious vegan seafood appetizer! 

two vegan crab cakes on a plate with a dollop of tartar sauce, garnished with parsley

Over the years we’ve gotten very creative when it comes to mimicking the texture of seafood. To date we’ve made Vegan Calamari and Vegan Scallops from oyster mushrooms, Vegan Tuna from chickpeas, and Smoked Salmon from carrots.

Today we’re recreating the flaky texture of crab meat with chickpeas and hearts of palm…say what?! It may sound obscure, but we promise this trio of ingredients works so well to recreate crab cakes you won’t be missing the real thing! 

chickpeas, panko breadcrumbs, bell peppers, heart of palm, green onions, garlic powder, celery, lemon juice, old bay seasoning, vegan mayo, salt, dijon mustard, parsley, nori, dill

Ingredients You’ll Need 

  • Vegan mayonnaise: Adds richness and creaminess to the overall flavor. 
  • Lemon juice: Adds acidity and helps to balance the richer flavors in the crab cakes.
  • Yellow mustard: Provides a tangy, slightly spice flavor that enhances the overall taste. Dijon mustard is a good substitute. 
  • Chickpeas: Provides the perfect texture and flavor for authentic looking and tasting crab cakes.
  • Hearts of palm: Another ingredient that mimics the texture of crab. Look for this ingredient in the canned vegetable aisle or International foods section in grocery stores. 
  • Fresh veggies: Fresh celery and red bell pepper adds a crisp freshness that balances the more rich and savory flavors. 
  • Dulse flakes: A key ingredient that adds a briny, ocean-like flavor to vegan seafood! 
  • Fresh herbs: Like the fresh celery and bell pepper, fresh parsley and fresh dill adds a bright pop of flavor and color.
  • Old Bay seasoning: Essential for its distinct savory, slightly spicy flavor that is perfect for seasoning vegan seafood. We also add garlic powder and black pepper to round out all the flavor.
  • Bread crumbs: Panko breadcrumbs are used to coat the crab cakes, creating a crispy, crunchy, golden brown exterior when pan-fried. If you are gluten-free, feel free to opt for gluten-free bread crumbs. 
vegan crab cakes on a platter with parsley and lemon

Equipment Needed

How to Make Vegan Crab Cakes

  1. Make the vegan crab meat. Add the chickpeas to a large bowl and mash them with a fork. Add the remainder of the ingredients, reserving 1/2 cup of the breadcrumb mixture for the next step, and mix until well combined.
  2. Form the crab cakes. Add about 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs onto a shallow plate. Place 2 tablespoons of the vegan crab cake mixture into your hands and roll to form a ball. Gently flatten to form a thick patty, about 1/3-1/2″ thick. Press each side of the crab cake in the breadcrumbs and set aside. Continue until all crab cakes are formed and coated in breadcrumbs. 
  3. Pan-fry the crab cakes. ​Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 3-4 tablespoons of oil and warm through. Once hot, add in 3-4 crab cakes and pan fry for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until light golden brown and crispy. Transfer the cooked patties to a paper towel lined plate to absorb any excess oil. 
  4. Cool and serve. Let the vegan crab cakes cool until easy enough to handle, then serve while warm or at room temperature with vegan tartar sauce, fresh parsley, green onions, and fresh lemon wedges. Enjoy! 

Serving Suggestions 

We serve these crab cakes most often as a delicious vegan appetizer with Vegan Tartar Sauce, or other dipping sauces like Vegan Aioli or Cilantro Dill Cream Sauce.

If you prefer to enjoy them as a main dish, turn them into vegan crab cake sliders or pair them with a simple green saladpan fried asparagus, and/or roasted vegetables.

vegan crab cakes on a white plate with a slice of lemon and topped with tatar sauce and parsley

Storage Instructions

Vegan crab cakes are best enjoyed fresh while they’re hot and crispy, but leftovers will keep for up to 5 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 

vegan crab cakes on a platter with parsley and lemon

MOre Vegan Seafood Recipes YOu MAy Enjoy:

Make sure you tag us on Instagram @sweetsimplevegan and @consciouschris and hashtag #sweetsimplevegan if you make this recipe. We love to see your photos! 

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two vegan crab cakes on a plate with a dollop of tartar sauce, garnished with parsley

Vegan Crab Cakes Recipe with Tartar Sauce


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  • Author: Sweet Simple Vegan
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 8 crab cakes
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This vegan crab cake recipe is easy to make, bursting with flavor and has the perfect crab meat texture and consistency. Dollop with our homemade vegan tartar sauce and fresh dill and enjoy as a delicious vegan seafood appetizer!


Ingredients

  • 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas
  • 1 (14 oz) can heart of palm, drained
  • 1 celery stalk, finely minced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, finely minced
  • 1/4 cup green onion, finely minced
  • 1/2 sheet nori or 1 tablespoon dulse flakes
  • 2 tablespoons vegan mayo
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoons fresh dill, finely minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon old bay seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt (+ more to taste)
  • 1 cup of panko bread crumbs, divided
  • Oil to fry

Serve with

Equipment


Instructions

  1. Make the vegan crab meat. Add the chickpeas to a large bowl and mash them with a fork. Add the remainder of the ingredients, reserving 1/2 cup of the breadcrumb mixture for the next step, and mix until well combined.
  2. Form the crab cakes. Add about 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs onto a shallow plate. Place 3-4 tablespoons of the vegan crab cake mixture into your hands and roll to form a ball. Gently flatten to form a thick patty, about 1/3-1/2″ thick. Press each side of the crab cake in the breadcrumbs and set aside. Continue until all crab cakes are formed and coated in breadcrumbs. 
  3. Pan-fry the crab cakes. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and warm through. Once hot, add in 3-4 crab cakes and pan fry for 3-4 minutes on each side or until light golden brown and crispy. You want to be sure your pan is now overcrowded so you can flip the patties easily. Transfer the cooked patties to a paper towel-lined plate to absorb any excess oil. Try to flip them as minimally as possible (only once is ideal) to prevent them from breaking apart. Wipe the pan and add fresh oil when more patties are added.
  4. Cool and serve. Let the vegan crab cakes cool until easy enough to handle, then serve while warm or at room temperature with vegan tartar sauce, fresh parsley, green onions, and fresh lemon wedges. Enjoy! 

Notes

  • Storage: Vegan crab cakes are best enjoyed fresh while they’re hot and crispy, but leftovers will keep for up to 5 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Stovetop

Nutrition facts label provided by Nutri Fox.

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Meet The Bloggers

hey there! we’re jasmine & chris.

Hi, we’re Jasmine and Chris! We share fresh and fun recipes to show you that vegan cooking is easy, approachable and delicious. When we’re not blogging, you will probably find us enjoying live music, tending to our backyard garden or playing with our dogs Berry and Louie

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2 Comments

  1. The batter is tasty and has a nice texture, but 1/2 a flax egg was not enough to bind it together , and so it has a mushy consistency that falls apart too much and too easily in the pan. I think the recipe needs a starch and more flax egg in order to work. Although there aren’t any mushrooms in the recipe after all, I think they’d have to be sautéed to reduce their liquid before adding. I wonder if others have ideas?