Vegan and Gluten Free
About a year and a half ago I traveled to Portland, where I indulged in the most amazing vegan crab cakes. It was my first time even having vegan crab cakes, and I was blown away! I couldn't believe they didn't have real crab in them, they were that good.
Now, every time I see vegan crab cakes on a menu, I have to try them. Unfortunately, I am often disappointed, because its pretty hard to compare to what I had the first time. Then again, Portland is known for having the best vegan food around, so it's hard to compete! Thus, why I finally decided to make my own!
So, what's in the recipe?
As you may know, I have been testing recipes for the past two weeks. Yes, there have been a lot of crab cakes in my house! Finally, yesterday, I came up with what I think is the perfect recipe. And, I can attribute it's amazingness to tempeh and wakame!
Tempeh, which is a highly nutritious and minimally processed soy protein, is used for the base. It is a perfect base, because the texture mimics the heartiness of a real crab cake.
So, how do we get that great fishy taste to mimic a real crab cake too? Wakame! Wakame is an edible sea vegetable/seaweed. It is perfect for giving that sea flavor to the cakes, and I like using it because it is also very cost friendly. So, seriously guys, this is probably the best thing I have made in a really long time. It's a must try recipe!
- 8 ounces tempeh
- 1 cup water
- 1 tbsp tamari
- 1/4 cup bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup celery, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp vegan mayo
- 1 tbsp whole-grain mustard
- 1 tbsp sriracha (can sub hot sauce)
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 3/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 cup breadcrumbs, gluten free
- 2 tbsp wakame + 1/4 cup warm water
- 2 tbsp safflower oil, for sautéing
- 2 tbsp vegan mayo
- 1 tbsp sriracha
- First, steam the tempeh to flavor and remove bitterness. Crumble the tempeh into a saucepan and add the water and tamari. Cover and bring to a boil, then simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until the water is mostly evaporated. Stir occasionally to ensure tempeh doesn't stick to pan.Transfer contents to a mixing bowl, and let cool for 10-15 minutes.
- While the tempeh is cooling, prep the crab cake mixture. Chop the bell pepper, and celery, and set aside. In a small mixing bowl, add vegan mayo, mustard, sriracha, red wine vinegar, ginger, oregano, and black pepper. Mix until well combined. Set aside.
- Now ensure tempeh is only barely warm before proceeding (this will ensure the cakes stay together). Mash the tempeh using a potato masher or fork for a good minute. There will still be chunks of tempeh and this is okay. To the tempeh, add the chopped veggies, the mixture of sauces and spices, and 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (save the rest of the breadcrumbs for coating). Mix until well combined.
- In a small bowl, add wakame and cover with warm water. Let soak for 1-2 minutes until soft. Drain water, using a towel to squeeze out excess. Chop wakame pieces into smaller strips of seaweed. Add to tempeh mixture and blend in.
- Now for the crab cake mixture into cakes. I used about 1/4 cup per crab cake and you should get about 6-8, depending on your size. Using the rest of the breadcrumbs, coat the crab cakes lightly. They don't need to be fully covered. Now place in the fridge.
- Now, heat a skillet pan on medium-low to medium (you can clean and use the saucepan you used earlier for the tempeh too). Once heated for 2-3 minutes add 1 tbsp oil. Get the crab cakes out of the fridge and place in the skillet. I put all 6 in the skillet pan, but you can do this in two batches, just make sure you don't burn the oil! Heat crab cakes for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.
- Mix your vegan mayo and sriracha to prepare the spicy aioli sauce. Serve with crab cakes and enjoy. This is a great appetizer or you can use crab cake patties in a sandwich for a great meal!