Some foods that don't come up often in a whole food, gluten-free, plant-based diet:
Luckily, recipes like this exist where we can recreate a similar deliciousness while being kind to the planet (and kind to our bodies).
These vegan gluten-free crab cakes were inspired by a recipe over at Bold Vegan, which lit a little fire of "I could make those!" a couple of weeks back. We paired them with roasted kabocha squash and lemon-tahini quinoa, a favorite at our place. I also experiment a bit with a spin on crispy onions, inspired by the Mejadra recipe in Yotam Ottolenghi's and Sami Tamimi's Jerusalem cookbook. (Also absolutely worth checking out!) Sunday dinners are the best.
Dulse is the secret to elevating these from regular ole' vegan bean burger to truly sea-tastic yumminess. Dulse is a red seaweed that grows in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans (huzzah, Atlantic Canada!) and is most commonly sold as a dried flake or powder. It's a great source of iodine (great if you're dealing with a thyroid condition, and something that can be lacking in unbalanced plant-based diets). Dulse also provides calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, and iron... it's basically the nutritional profile of milk, but without the lactose, cholesterol, and animal hormones.
Added bonus: the glutamic acid found in seaweed has also been linked with a reduction in sugar cravings. Nice, hey?
For the purposes of these no-crab crab cakes, dulse provides the fishy flavor. It's not at all overpowering or overly fishy, just delightfully sea salty. Flavor and a pile of nutritional benefits? Cool.
Second added bonus for families: if your kids are on the picky end of the spectrum and belong to the white pasta and chicken nugget camp, give these a go. The crispiness is similar to that of a nugget, and you can omit the dulse in half the batter if you'd like to tone down the fish-esque taste. Voila! Easy, kid-friendly meal!
Bold Vegan's recipe calls for a balsamic mayo, but we opted to serve these crab cakes naked. (I'm not a huge mayo fan in general, but her recipe looks interesting. Give it a whirl if you're mayo kind of person.) Otherwise, these little guys are awesomely flavorful on their own.
- 3 cups cooked chickpeas
- 1 1/2 cups organic gluten-free breadcrumbs
- 1 medium white or yellow onion, diced
- 1/2 cup crimini mushrooms, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- 3 tbsp curly kale, stems removed, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon coarse grain dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup flaxmeal
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dulse flakes or powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1. Place 3/4 of the chickpeas in the food processor and process until smooth.
- 2. Transfer chickpeas to a large bowl and add all remaining ingredients except oil. Stir to combine.
- 3. Form your batter into 6 cakes.
- 4. Heat oil in a large pan (ideally large enough to hold all the crab cakes at once) and heat oil over medium-high for 2-3 minutes.
- 5. When the surface of the oil shimmers, it's hot enough to cook your crab cakes. Place cakes in oil and allow to cook until one side browns (about 5 minutes). Flip and cook other side.
- 6. Transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to blot and drain.
- Serve immediately.