Vegan Crabless Crab Cakes with Mustard Seeds, Parsnips and Smoked Bell Pepper Sauce

September 11, 2021—0 Comments
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Crabless crab cakes, you ask? Heck, yes! These ‘crab’ cakes are plant based, and actually made using 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 a dash of homemade Old Bay seasoning, and… Voila! Crabless crab cakes for a meal your guests will not soon forget!

Serve with Smoked Bell Pepper Sauce.

To make ahead: The cakes can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated, a day in advance. Or, freeze. Thaw in the refrigerator before cooking.

Vegan Crabless Crab Cakes with Mustard Seeds, Parsnips and Smoked Bell Pepper Sauce

Servings: 4-5 Entree or 15-16 Appetizers
  • 1 (14 oz) jar hearts of palm
  • 1 medium parsnip (about 6 oz.) washed, peeled and cut into medium dice
  • 1 tsp. 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 tsp.  Nori flakes
  • 1-½ tsp. Old Bay Seasoning, preferably homemade without salt
  • 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
  • Lime juice and slices 


  1. For the hearts of palm:  they will be very salty, so drain and rinse, two-three times, then slice in half lengthwise.  Soak in warm water for 10 minutes, then drain.  Chop in medium dice and place in a food processor.  Pulse a few times until the hearts of palm look like crabmeat, about 8 pulses. Remove to a medium sized bowl.
  2. 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.
  3. For the shallot mixture: Heat a small sauté  pan over medium high heat and using a paper towel, wipe just a bit (⅛ tsp) oil on the bottom of the pan, and heat for 30 seconds.  Just this tiny bit of oil allows for the mustard seeds and curry leaves, if using, to bloom.  Add mustard seeds and curry leaves to the pan and cook until the seeds just start to pop, about a minute.  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 for a couple of minutes, or until the shallots are translucent.  Remove from the heat, and let cool.
  4. Make the cakes:  To the bowl with the hearts of palm, add shallot mixture, nori flakes, Ezekiel bread crumbs, old bay seasoning and freshly ground black pepper.  Form into 4-5 large cakes or make smaller for hors d’oeuvres, to make 15-16 bite size pieces.

Refrigerate for  15 minutes, or longer, before cooking.

To Cook

  •  If serving 4-5 as 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.
  • If serving as 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 cook for another minute or two.  Squeeze a little lime juice on top.

To Serve as 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 cake on a serving platter and add a dollop of Smoked Bell Pepper sauce on top.  Adorn with a cilantro leaf or chive sticks.

Find the Red Bell Pepper recipe here, and the Old Bay Seasoning recipe here!


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Hi, I’m Eydie!

Welcome to Garden of Eydie where my passion runs deep for helping others.  Here you’ll find inspiration for super healthy, vibrant recipes created to help prevent and/or reverse disease.  We are all about elevating each recipe’s nutritional content, and making it elegant to eat!  You’ll see this theme of elevate and elegance running through all of our information from cooking and entertaining tips to advice on how to curate, for yourself, a joyful, successful and blissful life.





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