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These crispy, crave-worthy vegan crab cakes are truly amazing! These patties will wow eaters of any diet. Serve them up with tartar sauce as a fun plant-based dinner or appetizer!

Vegan Crab Cakes with Vegan Tartar Sauce
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Here’s one of our most deliciously fun vegan experiments yet: vegan crab cakes! Essentially a plant-based patty that tastes like a crab cake, these crispy, crave-worthy bites will wow eaters of any diet. We made a plate for our omnivore family members and they couldn’t stop raving (really!). Packed with hearts of palm, artichokes, and chickpeas, serve them up with tartar sauce for a filling vegan dinner or vegan appetizer.

Ingredients in vegan crab cakes

On a trip to Philadelphia I ordered some vegan crab cakes at a vegan restaurant, curious of how they might taste. These golden crispy orbs were made with hearts of palm and artichokes, and from the first bite I was hooked! (And then I made everyone else at the table taste them.)

This vegan crab cakes recipe is our rendition of that recipe, and it is just as good as the original, we think! Each bite is a burst of tangy flavor, seasoned with savory spices to make it taste hearty and satisfying. We made it for our omnivore aunt and she happily gobbled them up, then asked for the recipe. Our kids loved them too. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • Chickpeas
  • Hearts of palm, canned
  • Artichoke hearts, canned
  • Vegan mayonnaise
  • Panko
  • All-purpose flour
  • Green onion
  • Fresh parsley
  • Dijon mustard
  • Old Bay
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil, for cooking
Vegan Crab Cakes

Notes on hearts of palm

The special ingredient in this recipe is canned hearts of palm. It can be tricky since some grocery stores don’t carry them, but it’s worth holding out for the real thing. (It took us a few tries to find which grocery stores keep them in stock!)

What are hearts of palm? These ivory-colored cylinders the tender inner bud of certain palm trees! They have a mild, slightly sweet flavor and a satisfyingly crisp texture. They are key to the crab-like flavor of these vegan crab cakes, so its worth holding out for them.

Tips on making vegan crab cakes

These vegan crab cakes are made like fritters or other savory cakes like tuna cakes or salmon cakes. Mix up the batter, then form into patties and pan fry them until golden. Here are a few notes for the process:

  • A food processor is helpful, but optional. It’s easiest to whiz together the chickpeas, artichokes, and hearts of palm in a food processor to get a nice even texture. If you don’t have one, you can mash the chickpeas with a fork in a bowl (mashing them as much as possible), then finely chop the hearts of palm and artichoke hearts and mix. This takes longer and might have a chunkier texture depending on your knife skills, so the cakes might have trouble sticking together. Use a food processor if at all possible!
  • Form into ¼ cup patties. Use your fingers to form the patties. You might have to wash your hands a few times if the batter becomes sticky.
  • Pan fry in a thin layer of olive oil. Add just a thin layer of oil to the bottom of a large skillet, then pan fry the crab cakes about 3 minutes per side. Remove them to a baking rack to keep the bottom crispy. Then fry the remaining patties in batches. Use your largest skillet possible to have less batches!
Vegan crab cakes with vegan tartar sauce

Meal prep and storage info

Want to prep these vegan crab cakes in advance? After forming them, you can refrigerate for up to 24 hours before cooking. If refrigerated, allow them to stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before cooking.

Store cooked crab cakes for up to 3 days refrigerated. They make great leftovers; reheat gently in a skillet.

Ways to serve vegan crab cakes

These vegan crab cakes are a great vegan dinner idea! While they also work as an appetizer, we prefer serving them as the main dish if we’re going to the trouble of frying them up. Because of the protein in the chickpeas, they’re a great filling option as a main course! Here are a few ways to serve them:

Vegan Crab Cakes

More vegan recipes

These vegan crab cakes are one of our new top ideas for plant-based meals! Here are a few more great vegan recipes you’ll love:

This vegan crab cakes recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based and dairy-free.

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Vegan Crab Cakes with Vegan Tartar Sauce

Vegan Crab Cakes


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5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 12 crab cakes 1x

Description

These crispy, crave-worthy vegan crab cakes are truly amazing! These patties will wow eaters of any diet, packed with hearts of palm, artichokes, and chickpeas. Serve them up with tartar sauce as a deliciously fun plant-based dinner or appetizer!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 15-ounce can chickpeas
  • 15-ounce can hearts of palm**
  • 15-ounce can artichoke hearts
  • 2 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise
  • ¾ cup panko (plain)
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 green onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, plus more to garnish
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder 
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil, for cooking
  • 1 recipe Vegan Tartar Sauce, for serving

Instructions

  1. Drain the can of chickpeas, hearts of palm, and artichokes. Add them to the bowl of a food processor and process for a few seconds until chopped but not pureed.*
  2. Remove the vegetables to a bowl. Stir in the vegan mayonnaise, panko, all-purpose flour, green onion, parsley, Dijon mustard, Old Bay, garlic powder, kosher salt, and a few grinds black pepper until a dough forms. 
  3. Use a ¼ cup measure to divide and form the dough into 12 patties, shaping them with your hands. (You can cook immediately or refrigerate for up to 24 hours before cooking. If refrigerated, allow them to stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before cooking.)
  4. Coat the bottom of a large skillet with a thin layer of olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add the cakes and cook until they are golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove to a baking rack (to keep the underside crispy) and cook the next batch. Allow to cool for 3 minutes, then enjoy with vegan tartar sauce as a dinner or appetizer. Store cooked crab cakes for up to 3 days refrigerated (they make great leftovers; reheat gently in a skillet).

Notes

*Alternatively, you can mash the chickpeas with a fork in a bowl (mashing them as much as possible), then finely chop the hearts of palm and artichoke hearts and mix them together. This takes longer and might have a chunkier texture depending on your knife skills, so the cakes might have trouble sticking together. Use a food processor if at all possible!

**Canned hearts of palm are essential to the crab-like flavor in these cakes! They are found canned and they are worth seeking out for this recipe (even if it takes another grocery trip).

  • Category: Main Dish or Appetizer
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Vegan
  • Diet: Vegan

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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14 Comments

  1. Lori says:

    I haven’t made these yet. Tonight. But I really want you to call call these chickpea of the sea 😂 🦀

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      LOL!

  2. Krista says:

    Made these today and cannot stop snacking on them!! I do find them a bit on the salty side but that is just my preference and will use less salt when I make them again (which I’ll be doing very soon). Thanks!!






  3. Nesa says:

    Can I freeze these?

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      We haven’t tried it, but I think they would freeze fine!

  4. Janet Rea says:

    What is the sodium for these crab cakes. I can’t eat meals with a lot of salt.

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      We know many people watch their sodium intake closely, so to be extra careful, we don’t include sodium in our recipe information. This is because ingredients like canned tomatoes and cheese can vary in their sodium content, and we wouldn’t want to give you inaccurate info!

      If you want, you can still get an estimated sodium breakdown! Just pop the recipe into this handy website: https://whisk.com/recipe-nutrition-calculator/

      This way you can check with your own ingredients. Thank you for reading!

  5. Horacio Schaden says:

    Wonderful web site Lots of useful info here Im sending it to a few friends ans additionally sharing in delicious And obviously thanks to your effort

  6. Barb Landes says:

    Hi,
    This looks intriguing. Could you please include the nutritional information for the recipe? I’m always interested in how much protein and fiber in particular your great food has. Thanks much!
    Barb

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      Added! Thanks for reading :)

  7. Sabrina says:

    very interesting chickpea crab cake, nice to have as an alternative to crab, thank you






  8. Alison says:

    Kids? When did you have another one?! More life updates please!

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      Haha! Sorry about that! We have a 1 year old now too :)