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Vegan Crab Cakes

June 22, 2018

  

TRUST ME on this. These are amazing! Crab cakes are perfect as a small appetizer - or featured as the main dish - think crab cake sandwiches or crab cake salads! If you're wondering how you can add more protein into your plant-based diet, look no further than these... and if you love the taste of seafood, you're in for a treat!

Crab and fish kept me pesectarian for some time... I'm from the Pacific Northwest, can you blame me? We receive wild-caught Alaskan salmon, blue crab, shellfish and all different kinds of Pacific marine wildlife year-round. I used to enjoy smoked salmon, sushi, crab legs, and black cod. Though, with a little creativity in the kitchen and a little help from ingredients such as seaweed (nori), kelp, dulse, and capers, we are able to create similar seafood flavors. This vegan crab cake is 100% gluten-free, vegan, and soy-free. 

Eating fish and other marine wildlife is extremely health, right?  We need the omega-fatty-acids for our brain and heart health. But what about all the toxins these fish are consuming at an alarming rate? Nobody seems to talk about that. Mercury levels vary from fish to fish, but not one fish in the entire ocean is mercury-free. Larger fish, such as swordfish have the most mercury levels; these larger fish have been around longer and consume smaller fish; which means they consume more. It isn't just farmed fish creating problems in aquatic ecosystems, we know for a fact that our oceans could very well be fish-less by the year 2050 (if we continue at the rate we are going) We also know that "for every one pound of fish caught, up to 5 pounds of unintended marine species are caught and discarded as by-kill." Whether it's organic, wild, pole-caught or humanly killed, the unintended killing of other marine life does not escape the issue. 

 

Most people aren't aware that fish achieve their healthy omega-fatty-acids status from plants. Yes, PLANTS, and if you want me to be specific, microalgae. All this time we could be cutting out the middle fish and avoiding toxins. Instead we could go directly to the source. Our oceans generate an abundance of these plants, enough varieties to serve not only this lifetime but the next...and thanks to modern day technology, there are supplement companies who offer vegan DHA/EPA (omega-fatty-acids) derived from said plants. Although fish and shellfish may have been a healthy source of fat, protein, and omega-fatty-acids in generations prior to ours, that is no longer the case. 

Dr. Joel Fuhrman, MD, family physician and nutritional expert, has a great opinion on this matter:
"I have been telling patients for years that if something can damage a fetus and result in childhood learning abnormalities (mercury exposure from seafood and shellfish), it can’t be a practice that promotes long-term health and wellness in adults. You can’t have it both ways [...] We just may not see the damage in adults in as short a period of time [as children]. Subtle cellular damage from mercury can be a contributory factor in combination with other negative influences that lead to the development of diseases seen later in life. So it is not just youngsters who are at risk of brain damage."
 

These crab cakes are crispy, flaky, and delicous!

Serves 4-8, depending on size
Special equipment: Food processor, air-fryer or parchment paper
Vegan, gluten-free, oil-free*

 

Ingredients:

1, 12oz can chickpea/garbanzo bean, save 1/4" liquid from can
1, 14 oz can hearts of palm, drained, roughly cut into large sections
2 tbsp. lemon, juiced
1-1/2 tsp. vegan worcestshire sauce
2 tsp. yellow mustard
5 nori sheets, snack-size
1/2 c. kelp flakes
1/2 c. scallions, sliced thin
1-2 tbsp. dried parsley (or 1 tbsp. fresh)
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika 
1 tsbp. Old bay seasoning
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. capers 
3 c. organic, non-gmo corn flakes (crushed to powder)
Scallions, for garnishing
Remoulade sauce (see below)

 

Making these crab cakes without a food processor will prove to be somewhat difficult, so I suggest using a food processor or something like it. Starting with your garbanzo beans, drain off the liquid (but keep about 1/4 c, set aside). Rinse your garbanzo beans well. Toss these into your food processor, pulse for 5 seconds. Next, take your hearts of palm, drain off the water and roughly cut them in half. Add these to the food processor and pulse for roughly 5-8 seconds. You want the texture of your mixture to be chunky, not mushy by any means. Your hearts of palm will have broken down into smaller shreds (similar to the look of crab meat). Remove contents from your food processor and add to a large mixing bowl. 

Take the remaining garbanzo bean liquid and whisk it for 1-2 minutes until foamy; pour into the batter. Add all remaining ingredients, excluding the corn flakes. Using a wooden spoon, gently fold all ingredients together. Taste test! Add more kelp or nori that "sea" flavor - or - more spices if it's lacking. Next, add about 1-1/2 c. of crushed corn flakes (I usually get a ziplock bag and crush them up by hand). Fold into the mixture. Your batter should be firmer with the corn flakes, but not dry; not overly wet either. Add more corn flakes as needed to achieve the best consistency. 

With the remaining corn flakes, spread these out on a plate. Form the crab cakes to your desired size - lightly coat with the corn flakes on each side. Once assembled, place the crab cakes in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes, this will help them firm up. 

 

Using an air fryer, pre-heat to your highest setting (mine goes to 400) If you are using a regular oven pre-heat to 410 degrees. Once your fryer or oven is ready, place inside machine or on parchment paper (oven-only) for 15-20 minutes, turning midway.

Let the crab cakes cool for about 3 minutes prior to serving. Dollop some remoulade sauce and some fresh scallions to complete the dish. 

For your sauce;

 

Easy, Spicy Remoulade
1/3 c. Wild Wood garlic aioli*
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. lemon juice, fresh
2 tsp. capers, plus splash of caper juice
1/8-1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper 

*You can easily make your own base by using fresh garlic and vegan mayo


Happy eating, 
Cristine

 

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