Vegan “Crab” Cakes

POST #1. When I keep hearing about the same recipe over and over, I know it’s time to give it a whirl. Such is the case with Vegan “Crab” Cakes starring hearts of palm. Heart of palm is a tangy vegetable harvested from the core of specific palm trees, hence the name. In Florida we call this “swamp cabbage,” although the harvesting technique I watched as a kid is not what’s used for commercial purposes. Google the method if you’re interested. Anyway, it’s similar in taste and texture to artichoke hearts but more mild. And lo and behold, it makes a fine substitute for crab in this otherwise classic crab cake recipe.
By | February 26, 2015

About this recipe


Heart of palm is a very good source of fiber, vitamin C, iron, folate, calcium, and several other minerals. Having vitamin C and calcium together in one vegetable is a bonus because vitamin C helps our bodies absorb calcium. So that’s cool. It’s also very low in fat (not that I care about that, but I know a lot of people do) and has virtually no cholesterol. Plus, it’s a vegetable, and we should all be eating more of them.

Vegan mayonnaise is, well, heavily processed — I can’t lie. But it tastes amazing (I prefer it to regular mayonnaise) and the brand Vegenaise is made from stellar ingredients. It’s great if you have an egg sensitivity or are, in fact, a vegan. It’s also free of cholesterol, trans fats, and preservatives.  

Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast cultured for nutritional value. It is a complete protein and a good source of B vitamins, even B12, making it especially valuable to vegans. It also contains natural glutamic acid which gives it a umami taste like you experience in mushrooms, meats, parmesan cheese, and crab.


  1. Drain hearts of palm and press in a towel to remove access moisture. Roughly chop (or pulse in food processor) to resemble lightly shredded crab meat; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine vegan mayonnaise, lemon zest, garlic, nutritional yeast, mustard, Old Bay, and honey. Add shredded hearts of palm, breadcrumbs, and parsley and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if needed.
  3. Form into 1/4-cup patties and fry in coconut oil over medium-low heat. Or follow the directions at the end for using a waffle iron to cook them.
Now, prepare the remoulade:
  1. Combine all remoulade ingredients in a small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
To cook "crab" cakes in a waffle iron:
  1. Let mixture rest while heating waffle iron, about 10 minutes.
  2. Tightly pack mixture into ¼-cup portions and gently flatten into thick patties. Place in heated, generously greased waffle iron. Cook until deep golden brown -- be patient, a long cooking time ensures a crispy outside and hot center that will not fall apart. Cooking times vary between waffle irons; mine took about 10 minutes.
  3. Serve immediately with diced avocado and remoulade sauce.


I tested these with both wheat breadcrumbs and gluten-free breadcrumbs. Both worked beautifully, so feel free to use either.

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Crab Cakes
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans whole hearts of palm
  • ¼ cup vegan mayonnaise (such as Vegenaise)
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon raw honey
  • ¾ cup dry breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, plus more for serving
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Coconut oil, for cooking
  • 1 ripe avocado, diced
Remoulade Sauce
  • ½ cup vegan mayonnaise (such as Vegenaise)
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon minced capers
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
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