Tempeh “crabcakes,” vegan of course, are a perfect snack for any time of the day or night. What’s more, they are beautiful to look at and taste much better than any crabcake ever did, at least to my tastebuds.
Tempeh, which has a chewy texure, is a perfect substitute for crabmeat. It is also protein-rich and really good for you.
One of the ways in which I add a seafood flavor to my vegan tempeh “crab cakes” is by using Old Bay seasoning which is completely vegan and which gives the recipe just that bit of a kick that lifts it above the ordinary. You can leave it out if you prefer. I sometimes snip any seaweed I have on hand into the “crabcake” batter, which further adds an authentic seafood flavor, but I didn’t have any this time so I went without. They still turned out delicious.
I also used vegan “mayonnaise” which is made with canola oil and makes a great and healthier substitute for regular mayo. Like tempeh, it is pretty easy to find in natural food stores. I get mine from Whole Foods.
So here they are, my vegan “crabcakes”: crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and totally delicious.
Tempeh Crab Cakes
- 1 package tempeh (8 oz), grated fine or crumbled into small bits
- 2-4 tbsp vegan mayonnaise (use more if needed to ensure the batter holds together when formed into cakes)
- 1/2 medium onion , minced
- 1 tbsp grated ginger
- 2 tbsp coriander leaves , chopped
- 1/2 cup whole-wheat breadcrumbs
- 1 heaping tbsp Old Bay seasoning
- 1 tsp chili powder , like cayenne or paprika
- 1-2 tbsp oil for shallow-frying the "crabcakes"
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. The mixture should hold together when formed into a cake. If it doesn't, add some more breadcrumbs and mayonnaise. (Update: a couple of people who tried these said they had trouble getting the crabcakes to hold together. I'd advise pulsing a few times in a food processor. Also these are delicate so don't make them too big. Mine were just over an inch in diameter. Be gentle when you flip them over.)
In a non-stick or cast-iron skillet, heat the oil
Take about a 1-inch ball of the batter and flatten it slightly.
Place as many cakes as possible into the skillet without overcrowding them. If you put too many in, they will steam and turn soggy instead of getting that beautiful golden-brown crust.
Turn after 1-2 minutes, once the underside is thoroughly browned. Cook the other side.
Serve hot, either by themselves or in a chapati or tortilla wrap smeared with some more mayonnaise. You can also add tomatoes or other veggies like cucumber or lettuce.