These Vegan Crab Cakes are a dream. Perfect for a main meal served with tomato sauce and potatoes, or as a starter or canape. They're made with a base of artichokes and white beans, plus other delicious ingredients for that 'Of-the-Sea' flavour and taste. I used to love crab cakes before going vegan because of their salty 'Of-the-Sea' taste and their texture, so this recipe is perfect to recreate that!
🦀Why they're the best
All my friends got so excited when they tried these Vegan Crab Cakes. They're great because they're:
- Gluten-free - which is great for people with gluten allergies/intolerance.
- Full of protein and fibre - from the beans, which make them very filling.
- They can be a main meal, starter or canape - you can make the vegan crab cakes different sizes so they can be part of a main meal, or smaller if doing starters or canapes and finger food.
These are the ingredients for the vegan crab cakes:
- White beans (cannellini beans); they make a great change to chickpeas, are softer than chickpeas and work with more subtle flavours.
- Artichokes; gives them their stringy texture and subtle briny flavour (which adds to that crab-like taste). For vegan crab cakes, it's easiest to just get artichokes in a can/tin or buy a jar of marinated artichokes.
- Pinenuts; optional, but they have a nice crunch and are full of lovely good fats. In any bean cakes, I think it’s fun to have some sort of nut or seed for a crunchy contrast.
- Rosemary; the perfect pairing with white beans.
- Milled linseed; a great vegan egg substitute to hold the cakes together (check out our guide on replacing eggs in any dish!
- Buckwheat flour; helps hold the cakes together along with the linseed, adds more bite and gives the cakes more firmness. Regular flour will work, but buckwheat flour keeps these vegan crab cakes gluten free.
Then we have some extra secret ingredients for making the vegan crab cakes taste fishy. Read on below...
🐟How to get the fish taste
There are some additional ingredients that are key for giving that fishy taste to the vegan crab cakes, or that 'Of-the-Sea' flavour as you might call it. Getting familiar with these is great for when you come to make other vegan fish recipes - we've even round up over 30 Vegan Fish and Seafood recipes for you to try.
The ingredients you need for that 'fishy' taste are:
- Lemon zest - gives that fresh 'Of-the-Sea' taste
- Seaweed - this is optional, but it really makes the vegan fish cakes taste authentic. We love these nori seaweed flakes. You can also just break up a sushi sheet. You'll find nori flakes at most health shops or Asian supermarkets. But just leave them out if you can't find them.
- Dill - traditionally used in a lot of fish and seafood dishes, and it makes the vegan crab cakes reminiscient of seafood we ate before going vegan.
- Dijon mustard - this gives the vegan crab cakes a kick, and brings out the lemony flavours even more. This can also be optional. We love this one.
Here's how to make them:
- Sautee the onion and garlic.
- In a bowl mash ¾ of the beans, and add the rest of the whole ones.
- Add all the other ingredients except the linseed and artichokes.
- Chop the artichokes into small pieces (around 1cm) and add to the mix.
- Add the linseed mixed with water. Combine everything well.
- Put in the fridge for an hour to chill, then make into patties (your choice of size).
- Then fry or bake the vegan crab cakes.
This recipe was developed by Vanessa, one of the original co-founders of this site. Vanessa is now working on her plant based health coaching business, Energise and Thrive Plant Based. She helps people get high energy, great health, and balanced eating with delicious plant-based food.
She’s also brought out her FREE Guide - 5 Steps to Balanced Plant Based Eating which you’re welcome to download. Of course, all the recipes she has created for The Vegan Larder (like this one!) will remain here for you to access.
The vegan crab cakes can be served in various ways, which make them really versatile:
- As a main meal - we love these served with mashed potatoes or chips and a delicous tomato sauce.
- As a starter - particularly great for a dinner party, served on a bed of lettuce leaves and extra slices of lemon.
- As a canape - the vegan crab cakes look beautiful made small and laid out on a plate with a dot of our vegan tartare sauce on top. See how cute they are in the photo below.
If you love this recipe, then you'll love our other fishy vegan recipes:
- Vegan Smoked Salmon Carrot Lox
- Vegan Sesame Tofu 'Prawn' Toast
- Vegan Chickpea of the Sea 'Tuna' Sandwiches
We hope you loved these crab cakes, and would love to know if you make them.
Vegan Crab Cakes
For accuracy, I measure all ingredients in metric as standard, then convert and test the recipe for American cup measurements etc.
(Heads up Aussie and UK readers- your measurements in cups are sometimes different, so please use metric or check you have the correct cup and spoon type!!)
- ½ medium onion (chopped finely)
- 4 cloves garlic (chopped finely)
- 2 teaspoon olive oil (plus extra if frying the cakes)
- 1 tin/can drained cannellini/white beans (drained tin weight ~250g or 1½ cups)
- 35 g (¼ cup) toasted pinenuts
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Pepper (to taste)
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh / dried rosemary
- Zest of ½ an unwaxed lemon
- 30 g (¼ cup) oat / buckwheat flour
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 130 g (1 cup) marinated / tinned artichokes (drained) (chop off the hard ends and save for a salad - you want the softer stringy pieces which comes to ~90g / ¾ cup)
- 2 tablespoon milled linseed / flaxseed (mixed with 4 tablespoon water)
- 2-3 teaspoon nori seaweed sprinkles (optional)
- 1 teaspoon dried dill (optional)
- Extra fresh dill (optional garnish)
- Sautee the onion and garlic in a frying pan using the olive oil.
- Mash ¾ of the cannellini beans roughly (keep it a bit chunky for texture) in a bowl. Then add the rest of the whole cannellini beans.
- Add the pinenuts, salt, pepper, rosemary, lemon zest, flour, mustard, seaweed (if using), dill (if using), and sauteed onion and garlic to the beans. Mix together.
- Chop the artichoke into small(ish) pieces, then add to the mixture. About 1cm by 1cm pieces.
- Add the milled linseed/flaxseed mixed with water. Mix in with a spoon, then start to use your hands to combine everything well.
- Put the whole mix in the fridge for about an hour to firm up.
- Make the mix into round patties / cakes (it should make about 8 medium-sized cakes). Pan fry in oil for about 4 minutes on each side, or until they are nicely browned but not burnt. Or bake for 35-40 minutes at 200°C / 400°F / Gas Mark 6.
This is such a great idea! Love the base of beans and artichoke
Vanessa Sturman says
That's great! And also super healthy!
Oh my gosh, this looks like such a fun appetizer! And I'm always looking for vegan options to some of my favorites to switch things up... these sound so good!
Vanessa Sturman says
Thank you, they're super fun and all our guests loved them too!
Kristen Wood says
These turned out fabulously! Thank you for the wonderful recipe! 🙂
Jacqueline Meldrum says
I know just who would love these. Good timing.
Vanessa Sturman says
Ha ha, can't wait for them to try the vegan crab cakes!
Evelyne Cultureatz says
I have never tried vegan crab cakes before but they sound wonderful!
Vanessa Sturman says
Oh thank you! They're so tasty