Vegan Crab Cakes are made with artichoke hearts and simple wholesome ingredients for perfect texture and taste. Pair these crabless cakes with my delicious tahini crab cake sauce for an easy vegan and gluten-free appetizer that’s super fun and tastes incredible.
This post has been updated from the original posted December 23, 2015.
Artichoke crab cakes have great texture that mimics classic crab cakes. The flavor and texture are spot on.
If this is your first time making plant-based crab cakes, have no fear. They’re easy to make with simple, wholesome ingredients and so delicious, everyone will be begging for the recipe.
Why you’ll love these
- Easy to make…but they look and taste fancy.
- Crab-like texture is spot on.
- One of my favorite things to serve at a cocktail party….because EVERYONE adores them.
- They’re baked, not fried…and also crunchy…oh yes, it’s quite possible…just like my baked latkes.
- Vegan artichoke cakes are also gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free and dairy-free so everyone can enjoy them.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Artichoke hearts: I don’t usually buy the briny artichoke hearts because they have heavily processed vegetable oil and preservatives. I buy the artichoke hearts packed in water. A good sub would be hearts of palm, or a combo of the two.
- Oats: Ground oats help hold these together. Ground flax is a good substitute. Panko breadcrumbs or regular breadcrumbs would also work as will gluten free bread crumbs.
- Red bell pepper: any color pepper will work, but I like to use red for the added pop of color.
- Celery: Substitute with finely chopped fennel.
- Corn: They add a little crunch, a good sub is frozen edamame
- Scallions: Use red onion, leek or chopped fennel instead.
- Parsley: Fresh herbs brings so much flavor. Substitute with fresh dill.
- Garlic: garlic powder would work in a pinch, but not garlic salt.
- Dijon mustard: Sub with yellow mustard and add a splash of white wine vinegar.
- Spices: I used paprika, salt, black pepper and nutmeg. You could also add celery seed, seaweed flakes or old bay seasoning.
- Avocado oil: just one tablespoon is used to brush on top of the vegan crab cakes before baking so they crisp up. Substitute with olive oil or skip it if you’re oil free and put the temperature in the oven up to 475.
How to make vegan crab cakes
Preheat your oven to 450 and line a baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper.
Step 1: Use your food processor to pulse the old fashioned oats until they resemble a coarse meal. Set aside in a small bowl.
Step 2: There’s no need to wash out the processor bowl. Place rinsed and drained artichoke hearts into the bowl and pulse until broken up, with some paste and some chunks, so they resemble crab meat. Seriously, that’s the goal.
Your crab cakes will get their flaky texture from the varied texture of the processed artichokes. They’re a great ingredient to use in this vegan seafood recipe since they have a similar texture after processing to crab meat that’s been broken up with a fork.
Step 3: Use a large mixing bowl so there’s plenty of room to combine all ingredients. First add the artichoke hearts from the food processor. Then add remaining ingredients, except for ground oats and oil.
Step 4: Mix well and then sprinkle on the ground oats and mix again until everything is well combined.
Step 6: Use wet hands to shape artichoke mixture into patties, then brush tops with 1 Tablespoon avocado or olive oil.
Step 7: Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, until golden brown on the underside. Flip and then bake on other side for 12 minutes, until crispy on the edges.
While the artichoke cakes bake, make the simple tangy sriracha sauce.
How to make crab cake sauce
You can make homemade tartar sauce, spicy mayo or, my favorite, tahini sriracha sauce to enjoy drizzled onto your crab cakes. Here’s my easy recipe that uses just 4 ingredients and whisks together quickly.
Use a small bowl and a whisk or a fork to thoroughly mix the tahini, lemon juice, pickle juice and sriracha together. For best results make sure your tahini is thoroughly mixed in the jar before you use it.
This crab cake sauce gets its seafood-ish flavor thanks to the pickle juice. If you don’t have any, substitute caper juice and all will be good. If you love tartar sauce, finely dice some pickles and add them to this
Keep whisking until sauce has a uniform texture. Whisk in 1-2 Tablespoons water until desired consistency is reached. If you like a spicier sauce, add another teaspoon sriracha or your favorite hot sauce.
What to do with leftover crab cakes
Leftover vegan crab cakes will stay good in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
How to freeze crab cakes
Artichoke crab cakes freeze well. Make sure they are completely cool and then lay in a single layer on a parchment lined tray. Freeze for about 2 hours and then individually wrap in plastic wrap or foil before placing in a freezer-safe container or zip top bag for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge and reheat in a single layer in preheated 450 oven for 15 minutes until heated through.
Debra’s Pro Tips
- Make them large and serve them as a main course on a bed of greens for an unforgettable meal.
- Make miniature patties and they’re perfect as finger food, passed around as vegan appetizers, or served as a delicious side dish.
- Looking for a healthier vegan tartar sauce? Skip the vegan mayonnaise and use tahini to make it with some pickle relish, dijon, maple syrup and a teaspoon lemon juice.
- Next time you’re in the mood for sushi, grab some nori sheets, make the batter to this vegan crab meat and roll it tightly. Slice and enjoy!
The main ingredient in vegan crab cakes is either artichoke hearts or hearts of palm that are pulverized in a food processor to have similar texture to crab.
Either works, it’s a personal preference. I prefer to bake my vegan crab cakes because it takes less time and uses less oil than using a frying pan or even a non-stick skillet.
No. Imitation crab is made of ground fish and bones plus artificial flavors, sodium and often MSG.
What to serve with Artichoke Crab Cakes
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Vegan Crab Cake Recipe
- 1 cup old fashioned oats
- 2 15-oz cans artichoke hearts rinsed and drained
- 1 stalk celery, small dice
- ⅓ cup small dice red peppers
- ¼ cup frozen corn kernels
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley flat leaf
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon sea salt finely ground
- ½ teaspoon black pepper finely ground
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg ground
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
Sriracha Tahini Sauce
- 2 tablespoon tahini drippy
- 2 tablespoon olive oil extra virgin
- 1 teaspoon sriracha
- 1 tbsp pickle juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1-2 tablespoon water
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees and line a large baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper.
- Place oats in food processor and pulse until partially ground. Ideally a combination of textures, some ground to flour, some larger pieces. Set aside in a small bowl
- Now, place rinsed and drained artichoke hearts into the bowl of processor and pulse until somewhat pasty, but still with some chunks. Transfer to large bowl.
- Prepare veggies and add to large bowl with artichoke hearts. Small dice red peppers and celery. Thinly slice scallions. Chop parsley into small pieces. Add corn, spices, mustard and thoroughly mix. Then add the ground oats and mix well.
- Scoop into 12 portions onto the prepared pan. Use wet hands to form each portion into a crab patty. Brush tops with avocado oil and bake in preheat oven for 15 minutes.
- Flip crab patties over and bake for another 12 minutes, until golden.
- While crab cakes are baking, make the Sriracha Tahini Sauce. Whisk together tahini, olive oil, sriracha, lemon juice and pickle juice. Whisk in water 1 Tablespoon at a time until sauce is desired consistency.
- Serve warm or at room temperature, drizzled with sauce.