These melt-in-your-mouth vegan crab cakes are made with seasoned artichoke heart patties coated with crispy panko breadcrumbs, pan-fried until crisp, and served with spicy cashew-sriracha aioli.
I waited tables through college, and during that time I served up a lot of crab cakes. I noticed one thing: people really love crab cakes. I hope you guys love them, or at least vegan ones. I just discovered that I happen to love vegan crab cakes. Never tried the real deal, but I they can’t possibly be any better than these suckers.
I’ve had these on my list of recipes to work on for a while, and you know what? I was shocked at how good they turned out. Also shocked at how simple they were to throw together. I knew artichoke hearts would make a great vegan stand-in for crab, but I had it in my head that I’d have to throw in some beany-type thing to get the cakes to hold together. I decided to throw caution to the wind and give these a go without beans, and they turned out perfect.
I’m not sure if crab cakes are intended to be a summery thing, but being cooked up on the stovetop and eaten atop a big old lettuce leaf, they just work for days like today, when, at least where I live, it’s pretty nasty hot and humid outside. I didn’t make these today (which is kind of obvious, as it’s not even 10AM as I post this), but it was an equally toasty day, and cranking up the air conditioner and digging into a few of these with spicy sriracha aioli was a pleasure.
Vegan Crab Cakees with Sriracha Aioli
For the Sriracha Aioli
- 1 cup raw cashews soaked in water 4-8 hours and drained
- 1/4 cup unflavored soy or almond milk
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 tbsp. sriracha sauce or to taste
- salt to taste
For the Vegan Crab Cakes
- 2-15 oz. cans artichoke hearts, drained
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 cups panko breadcrumbs, divided
- 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tbsp. chopped chives
- 2 tbsp. vegan Worchestershire sauce
- 1/2 tsp. old bay seasoning
- about 1/4 cup vegetable oil for frying
- 6-8 lettuce leaves
- fresh chives
Make the Sriracha Aioli
- Place all ingredients into food processor bowl and blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Season with salt to taste.
Make the Vegan Crab Cakes
- Place artichoke hearts, celery, 1 cup panko, flour, garlic, chives, Worchesershire sauce and old bay seasoning into food processor bowl. Pulse until artichokes are finely chopped and ingredients are well-mixed, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Keep the texture chunky and avoid overblending.
- Place remaining cup of panko breadcrumbs into a small bowl. Generously coat the bottom of a medium skillet with oil and place over medium heat. Line a plate with a few paper towels.
- When oil is hot, scoop up about a sixth to an eighth of the artichoke mixture and shape into a patty. Gently transfer to the bowl filled with panko breadcrumbs and coat both sides. Carefully place into skillet. Repeat, forming, coating and cooking another two or three patties (as many as you can fit into the skillet without overcrowding). Gently flip patties, one at a time as they begin to brown on bottoms, cooking about 3 or 4 minutes on each side. Carefully remove patties from skillet as they are done, and transfer to paper towel-lined plate.
- Repeat until all of the artichoke mixture has been used, making a total of six to eight patties, and adding oil to the skillet between batches as needed.
- Divide lettuce leaves onto plates and top each with a vegan crab cake. Sprinkle with chives and serve with sriracha aioli.
Prep time does not include soak time for the cashews. If you don't have time to soak them, boiling for 20-25 minutes will work in a pinch.
The cakes should be moist enough for the panko breadcrumbs to stick to them. If you have trouble, try brushing them with a bit of non-dairy milk.
You can, if you like, use the food processor to crush the panko breadcrumbs used for coating the cakes. This will give the coating a finer texture. It's nice, but by no means necessary, but adds yet another food processor step to the recipe, so it's totally your call if you want to expend the extra energy.