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How To Make Delicious Vegan Crab Cakes At Home

Photo courtesy of The Lusty Vegan
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You may have noticed that soft-shell crab is cropping up on menus these days, but what is a vegan to do? You could, of course, head over to celeb chef Tal Ronnen's restaurants like Crossroads or Lakeside, where their hearts of palm crab cakes will make you seriously contemplate giving up the meat game. Or you can DIY with this fantastic recipe from "The Lusty Vegan" cookbook by Chef Ayinde Howell and Zoe Eisenberg.

The two will be releasing their cookbook in October, which focuses not only on recipes, but also on love and relationships—which can understandably be tricky when the word "vegan" comes up. (We spent some time as vegetarians, and even in Santa Cruz it was a challenge.) The 80-recipe book includes tips for how to create vegan meals that meat-eaters won't complain about, and also hawks other relationship tips on dating while living animal-free.

The Lusty Vegans will be hosting a pop-up over on Abbott Kinney at the G2 Gallery tonight to showcase some of their delightful dishes, and will be serving these simple Baltimore Hearts Crab Cakes on the menu. Also on deck is a Citrus & Salt Pickled Fennel Salad; Balsamic & Truffle Mac N Cheese; a Filet de Soy with Blood Orange and Napa Cabbage Slaw; and a Fresh Biscuit Strawberry Shortcake with Vanilla Ice Cream.

You can find out more info on the event and their book, which comes out in October, here.

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Baltimore Hearts Crab Cakes

Serves 2


For Crabmeat

3 tablespoons grape seed or safflower oil, plus more for frying cakes
1 (14 ounce) can hearts of palm, (in salt not sugar) rough chopped to consistency of crab meat
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 cup vegan mayo
2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper

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For Breading

1/2 cup gluten-free bread crumbs, or more
1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning

Garlicky Dill Aoli Topping

1/2 cup vegan mayo
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 teaspoon minced garlic


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For topping

Step one: Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Mix well and add salt and pepper to taste. Set in the fridge to keep cool.

For crab cakes

Step one: Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the hearts of palm and sauté for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Cook until golden brown on all sides. Set aside to cool. Add the celery and peppers and mix well.

Step two: Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium-heat heat. Add the onions and sauté until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute.

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Step three: Remove from the heat, add to the hearts of palm, and mix well. Add the Old Bay seasoning and mayo.

Step four: Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and mix well. Set aside to cool to room temperature, then shape the mixture into 4 ounce round patties. In a shallow bowl, combine the bread crumbs and Old Bay seasoning, stirring to mix. Coat the patties with the breadcrumb mixture and place in refrigerator for 20 minutes.

Step five: Heat about 3 tablespoons oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until hot and shimmering. Carefully place the patties in the skillet and cook until golden brown on each side, approximately 2 minutes per side. Watch closely to prevent burning. Transfer the cooked patties to a plate lined with paper towels to drain any excess oil.

Serve hot, with Garlicky Dill Aoli and lemon wedges on the side.

Pro Tip: If hearts of palm and vegan mayo is not available in your area I found both by searching them online under the shopping tab on Google.