Vegan Crabless Cakes with Smoked Bell Pepper Sauce

butterfly Makes: 4-5 Entrée size or 15-16 mini hors d’oeuvres

Written By Eydie Desser


Love This Recipe?

Share It!

Crabless, you ask?  Yes!  These are plant-based made with hearts of palm, which mimics the texture of the crab, but not the taste. To turn it into a “sea” tasting dish without sacrificing our health!, we add nori seaweed, curry leaves, mustard seeds  and  homemade Old Bay seasoning, and. voila—-crabless cakes for a meal your guests will not soon forget!


  • 1 (14 ounce) jar hearts of palm 
  • 1 medium parsnip (about 6 oz.) washed, peeled and cut into medium dice 
  • 1 teaspoon black or brown mustard seeds  
  • 8 curry leaves (optional) 
  • 1 large shallot, finely minced (¼ cup) 
  • 1 red or green jalapeño or fresno chile, seeds removed and finely minced 
  • 3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced, (1 tablespoon) 
  • 1 teaspoon Nori flakes 
  • 1-½ teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning, preferably homemade without salt    (Link) 
  • 1 slice Ezekial bread, toasted until golden brown & processed to fine crumbs 
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste 
  • ¼- ½ cup fresh herbs, chives and cilantro or parsley
  • 2 limes, 1 juiced, 1 sliced
Serve with: Smoked Bell Pepper Sauce


For the Hearts of Palm:

Drain and rinse, two-three times, then slice in half lengthwise.  Soak in warm water for 10 minutes, then drain. Coarsely chop and place in a food processor.  Pulse a few times until the hearts of palm resemble crabmeat, about 8 pulses. Remove to a medium sized bowl.

For the Parsnips:

Place in a steamer and steam for 8-10 minutes or until very tender. Remove from the steamer and pass through a ricer or mash with a potato masher. Let cool.

For the Shallot Mixture:

Heat a small sauté pan over medium high heat.  Add mustard seeds and curry leaves, (if using), to the pan and cook until the seeds just start to pop, about 1-2 minutes.  Don’t let it go too long or the seeds will burn. Reduce the heat to low and add the shallot, chile and garlic.  Sauté until the shallot is translucent.  Remove from the heat, and let cool.

Make the cakes:

Mix together the shallot mixture, nori flakes, Ezekiel bread crumbs, Old Bay Seasoning, black pepper and hearts of palm.  Form into 4-5 large cakes or make smaller for hors d’oeuvres, about 15-16 bite size cakes. Refrigerate for  15 minutes, or longer, before cooking.

To Cook For an Entree:

Place a non-stick pan over medium-high heat for one or two minutes.  Gently place the cakes in the pan and turn the heat down to medium.  Cover and cook for two-three minutes.  Check to see if the bottom has browned.  Once lightly browned, carefully flip the cakes over and brown the other side. Squeeze a little lime juice on top.

For Hors d’oeuvres:

Preheat the oven to 400℉.  Place the tiny cakes on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for about 10-12 minutes or until the tops are dry and lightly browned.  Turn over and lightly brown the other side, about 2-3 minutes.. Squeeze a little lime juice on top.

To Serve for an Entrée:

Place a dollop of smoked bell pepper sauce on the serving dish and top with cake.  Squeeze a little lime juice on top and adorn with chives, parsley and/or cilantro.  Add a slice of lime on the side.. Serve with a nice arugula salad dressed with one of the oil free dressing from the Garden of Eydie!

To Serve as an Hors d'oeuvres:

Place the cakes on a serving platter and add a dollop of  smoked bell pepper sauce on top. Adorn with a cilantro leaf or chive sticks.

butterfly Cook's Notes:

Make ahead:  The cakes can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated, a day in advance, or freeze the cakes on the sheet pan, then place in a freezer safe zip top bag. Thaw in the refrigerator before cooking.

Love This Recipe?

Share It!