I used to really enjoy deep fried and greasy meals like Fish N Chips, and crab cakes with remoulade or tartar sauce. I don't eat fish anymore, but as a vegan I wanted to create something comparable to crab cakes to enjoy. I have seen many recipes for vegan crab cakes using hearts of palm but I had another idea -- artichokes and chickpeas...
The inspiration for these comes from the classic vegan fake tuna salad recipe -- smashed chickpeas. I love the tuna-like flavour and texture of smashed chickpea salad and I thought it would work really nicely in this recipe. What I didn't want was for these cakes to be too dry or too firm, which can happen with chickpeas. Crab cakes have a lovely soft interior and crunchy exterior...So do my little vegan cakes.
Despite their crispy crunchy and golden exterior these vegan crab cakes are neither breaded nor fried. This is just the end result of baking my "crab" patties. Its almost magic...I created this texture by combining grated zucchini with chickpeas and artichokes (I steamed frozen artichoke hearts) in my food processor. Pulse pulse pulse and you get a chunky mixture you can use to hand-form delicate fishy patties. All the happens next is you bake the cakes in a roaring hot oven to get a crispy exterior and soft interior. Easy.
What crab cake would be complete without a creamy sauce for dipping?
For dips I used some delicious organic ketchup and my own Green Tartar Sauce. This tartar sauce is a little unconventional and slightly healthier than ordinary tartar sauce. It is a delightful combination of avocado, soy-free vegan mayo, dill, garlic and chopped pickles. So delicious. You need to try this recipe.
The vegan crab cakes themselves are quite low in fat if you are on a low fat diet. The whole batch uses only 2 tsps of olive oil. The dip is obviously not fat free but feel free to just use ketchup instead, they'll still taste delicious.
For the Vegan Crab Cakes:
- 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (1.5 cups cooked chickpeas)
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 zucchini roughly chopped
- 1 cup cooked artichoke hearts (not preserved, I used frozen and steamed them)
- 1 tsp dulse or kelp flakes
- 2-3 tsp evoo
- 0.5 tsp garlic powder
- 0.5 tsp dried dill
- squeeze of lemon or orange juice
- big pinch of salt (I used pink salt but sea salt is a good alternative)
Add everything to a food processor and pulse until you have mixture that resembles chunky tuna salad. Form into little patties and bake in a 400F oven until lightly brown on top. Very carefully flip them over one by one and return to the oven to brown well on both sides. Serve with organic ketchup and Green Tartar Sauce (recipe follows).
Green Tartar Sauce:
- 1 small ripe avocado, mashed until smooth
- 2 tbsp soy-free vegenaise
- 1 tsp dill
- 0.5 of a dill pickle, chopped finely
- 0.5 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp evoo
- 1 tsp orange juice or lemon juice
- 1 tsp water