Try this hearts of palm vegan crab cakes recipe with Old Bay, corn, and celery. Crispy golden on the outside, moist and flaky on the inside.
Crab cakes are one of my favorite late summer dishes. Ever since I went vegan a few years ago, I’ve been on the search for a crab-less alternative that I enjoy just as a much as the original. I’ve come across many variations of vegan crab cakes at restaurants and grocery stores, made of ingredients from soy meat to jackfruit to artichoke hearts. There are many approaches to vegan crab cakes, but my preferred crab substitute is hearts of palm.
Harvested from the inner core and growing bud of palm trees, like coconut and peach palm trees, hearts of palm have a firm-but-delicate texture and mild, lightly sweet flavor, making it a great alternative to crab. When sliced and broken down into smaller shreds, it truly resembles tender and succulent crab. Combined with crab cake essentials like Old Bay seasoning and panko breadcrumbs, hearts of palm are transformed into the perfect crab cake minus the crab.
I made these hearts of palm vegan crab cakes for a cooking demo at the FINEX kitchen in Portland. Such a great dish to highlight FINEX cast iron. They were a hit at the event, and someone who is an omnivore told me they couldn’t tell these crab cakes were vegan. Now that’s a great compliment. ;)
Hearts of Palm Vegan Crab Cakes
Makes 20 | There are many versions of hearts of palm vegan crab cakes floating out there on the interwebs. Some involve baking, others involve frying. My recipe includes corn and celery for added flavor and texture. While panko and vegan mayo are essential to bind everything together, cooling the mixture in the fridge helps make it easier to form each individual crab cake patty.
Two 15-oz cans/jars hearts of palm
1 tbsp cooking oil, more for frying the crab cakes
1/2 cup chopped onion
1-1/2 cup corn kernels
2 ribs chopped celery
1 tbsp Old Bay seasoning
2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs, plus more for coating
1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
Mixed greens salad
Drain the hearts of palm. Thinly slice lengthwise, then cut them crosswise into 3/4 inch pieces. Next, use your fingers to break it down into smaller shreds. Transfer to a large bowl.
Heat the oil in a skillet. Add the onion, corn, and celery and cook until the onion turns translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and pulse until you have a coarse puree.
Stir the vegetable mixture into the shredded hearts of palm. Add Old Bay seasoning and parsley. Add panko and vegan mayo. Season with salt and pepper. Stir gently until evenly combined. Transfer the mixture to the fridge to cool.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Fill a shallow bowl with panko. Scoop 1/4 cup of the hearts of palm mixture into the panko. Carefully roll to coat in panko, then gently press into patties. Transfer to the baking sheet.
Add a thin layer of oil to the skillet. Fry the crab cakes over medium-high heat, about 2 minutes per side, until golden and crispy. Serve hot with salad, sambal aioli, and a lemon wedge.
I used Follow Your Heart vegan mayonnaise and Sibeiho sambal to make a quick sambal aioli. Combine the two in a bowl (just a dollop of sambal is plenty), then transfer to a squeeze bottle.
Shredding the hearts of palm can be a time consuming process, depending on how firm the hearts of palm are, but taking the time to shred the pieces makes a huge difference in making the finished product more crab-like.
Transferring the mixture into the fridge to cool adds to the prep time, but I’ve found that it’s much easier to handle and form the crab cakes when the mixture is cool. A warm or room temperature mixture often falls apart as I’m trying to scoop and coat the crab cakes in panko.
Crab cakes can be formed in advance, then stored in the fridge. Use parchment paper to help separate the crab cakes, if you’re stacking them in a container.
Did you try this Hearts of Palm Vegan Crab Cakes recipe?
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Note: I was invited to do a cooking demo at the FINEX kitchen. This was not in exchange for a positive review and all opinions expressed here are my own.