No crabs were harmed in the making of these vegan crab-less cakes! Chickpeas, fresh dill, Old Bay, and breadcrumbs come together with banana blossom (or artichoke hearts) for a crispy, flaky, rich and delicious plant-based cake.
This recipe requires a food processor.
Rinse and drain the canned banana blossoms well. Also, rinse and drain the chickpeas and set aside.
Separate the different parts of the banana blossoms: the long, thin floret pieces, the petals, and the hearts (right). If using hearts of palm or artichokes, skip this step.
Finely chop the different banana blossom pieces. Remove and discard any particularly sinewy petal and floret pieces that don’t cut easily. Chopping the different parts separately helps achieve consistent results.
Warm the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the sliced shallots and garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until softened (turn down the heat if starting to brown). Add the Old Bay and cook for 30 seconds more, or until fragrant. Immediately remove from the heat and transfer to your food processor.
Add the chickpeas and chopped banana blossoms to the food processor. Pulse until everything is broken into smaller pieces, about the size of a dried lentil. Stop to scrape down the sides as needed. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
Stir in the fresh dill, vegan mayo, mustard, and finally the breadcrumbs. Taste and add more salt, pepper, and Old Bay as desired.
Turn on your kitchen fan if you have one. Clean out your frying pan from before and heat 1-2 tablespoons of neutral oil over medium heat. Measure out 1/4 cup of the vegan crab cakes mixture and use your hands to squish it into a cake shape. Drop the formed vegan crab cakes into the heated oil, repeating until the pan is filled but not crowded. (I can fit 4 at a time in mine). Crowding the pan will stop them from getting crispy, so don’t do it!
Every stove and pan is different, so when first making these pay careful mind to the bottoms burning. Pan-fry the vegan crab cakes for about 3 minutes per side, or until nicely browned on both sides and hot throughout. Serve hot, with vegan remoulade or other sauce/dressing of choice. (I also enjoy them with just ketchup).
OLD BAY: Old Bay is good on most everything and I happily stock it in my pantry. However, if you don't want to buy it just for this recipe, substitute 1/2 tbsp paprika and 1/2 tbsp celery salt for something that's sort of similar.
ARTICHOKE HEARTS VERSION: If you can't find banana blossom, instead use one 14-oz. can of artichoke hearts in water, drained and chopped.
OLIVE OIL: I don't recommend olive oil for pan-frying just because it smokes easily and neutral oils are generally cheaper for this purpose. However, you can use olive oil (and I have in the past too), just be careful not to get it too hot or you'll be scrambling to remove the batteries from your smoke detector.
NUTRITION: Nutrition facts do not include the oil used for frying, which can vary depending on cooking heat and amount.