Easy Vegan “Crab” Cakes (GF)

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Vegan tartar sauce drizzled over a vegan crab cake next to a larger plate of crab cakes

Friends, forget about real crab cakes. These vegan crab cakes taste just like the real thing!

Jackfruit does it once again, creating the perfect flaky, fish-like texture, and chickpeas add some protein. Not only is the texture spot on, but they’re also mega flavorful and crispy thanks to bread crumbs and a quick pan fry. These are NOT to be missed! Just 1 bowl required. Let us show you how it’s done!

Parsley, celery, Old Bay seasoning, capers, mustard, flaxseed meal, avocado oil, worcestershire, chickpeas, breadcrumbs, jackfruit, and celery

How to Make Vegan Crab Cakes

The base for these vegan crab cakes is a mixture of young green jackfruit for its shredded texture and chickpeas for a protein boost that brings them into entrée-friendly land.

Bowl of jackfruit, mashed chickpeas, celery, parsley, Old Bay seasoning, and bread crumbs

We included many of the flavors of traditional crab cakes, including Old Bay seasoning, Worcestershire, dijon mustard, lemon juice, and parsley. And we also added celery for a subtle crunch and capers for a brine-y element that resembles seafood.

Bowl with vegan crab cake mixture before cooking

A flax egg provides the binding that holds them together and breadcrumbs help them get crispy.

Bowl and plate of vegan crab cakes before cooking

Once formed into patties, they get a quick pan fry to develop a golden brown exterior.

Cooking vegan crab cakes in a cast iron skillet

And they’re elevated with a drizzle of vegan tartar sauce for serving.

Drizzling vegan tartar sauce over a stack of vegan crab cakes

We hope you LOVE these vegan crab cakes! They’re:

Light
Flaky
Savory
Satisfying
Crispy
& JUST like the real thing!

They’d pair well with nearly any side, including our Perfect Roasted Asparagus, Vegan Caesar Salad, Instant Pot Potatoes (Fast, Tender, Buttery), and/or Crispy Cajun Baked Fries (Oil-Free!).

More Delicious Jackfruit Recipes

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Picking up a bite of a vegan crab cake from a plate

Easy Vegan “Crab” Cakes (GF)

Easy vegan crab cakes that are crispy, flaky, and SO flavorful! Made with chickpeas and jackfruit for a satisfying entrée. Gluten-free optional and just 1 bowl required!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Two plates with vegan crab cakes next to a jar of vegan tartar sauce
4.75 from 8 votes
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6 (Crab cakes)
Course Entree
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 3-4 Days

Ingredients

CRAB CAKES

  • 1 Tbsp flaxseed meal
  • 2 ½ Tbsp water
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14-ounce) can young/green jackfruit in brine, drained (NOT ripe/yellow jackfruit)
  • 1-2 Tbsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 2 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce (gluten-free friendly as needed)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp capers, minced
  • 2 tsp caper brine
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 3 Tbsp minced parsley
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs (gluten-free friendly as needed)
  • 4 Tbsp avocado oil, for cooking

FOR SERVING optional

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, make the flax egg by mixing flaxseed meal and water. Set aside to gel for 5 minutes.
  • To the bowl with the flax egg, add drained chickpeas and begin mashing with a fork or potato masher. You want some bigger pieces of chickpeas (~1/4 inch) and some chickpea paste.
  • Thoroughly rinse and drain jackfruit. Then begin sorting. The pieces come in chunks or triangle shapes. Cut off the center “core” portion of the jackfruit that’s tougher in texture and separate it from the rest of the fruit. Then chop the core into smaller pieces. Use your hands or two forks to pull the remaining portion of the jackfruit that appears more stringy into small shredded pieces. You’re aiming to get the jackfruit into small, shredded/chopped pieces. Once shredded, rinse once more in a colander, drain, and thoroughly dry.
  • Add the jackfruit to the chickpea and flax mixture and mix until well combined.
  • Add the Old Bay seasoning (starting with lesser amount), Worcestershire, lemon juice, mustard, capers, and caper brine and mix well. Add the celery, parsley, and panko and mix until just combined. Place in the refrigerator to chill for 10 minutes.
  • Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the oil (2 Tbsp (30 ml) // adjust if altering batch size). Using a 1/2-cup measuring cup, scoop the crab cake mixture and pack firmly into the measuring cup. Place the measured mixture into your hand and flatten slightly, making a disc about 3 inches wide by 1 inch thick. Add the crab cakes to the pan, working in batches to avoid crowding, and cook for 3-4 minutes per side, until deeply golden and heated through. Repeat with remaining oil and crab cake mixture.
  • Best when fresh. Optionally, serve with vegan tartar sauce. Leftovers will keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator up to 3-4 days or in the freezer up to 1 month.

Video

Notes

*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with the lesser amount of Old Bay seasoning and without optional ingredients. This is a higher sodium dish that doesn’t skimp on flavor. For a lower sodium option, you can use less Old Bay Seasoning and thoroughly rinse both the chickpeas and the jackfruit.

Nutrition (1 of 6 servings)

Serving: 1 crab cake Calories: 171 Carbohydrates: 16.4 g Protein: 4.1 g Fat: 10.6 g Saturated Fat: 1.1 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.8 g Monounsaturated Fat: 6.7 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 724 mg Potassium: 182 mg Fiber: 4.1 g Sugar: 4.1 g Vitamin A: 196 IU Vitamin C: 3.8 mg Calcium: 37.6 mg Iron: 0.7 mg

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  1. Sue Garofalo says

    These were sooooooo delish! And can we talk about the tartar sauce?? Nom nom nom!

    The recipe was easy to follow, however I did have problems with binding. I would suggest pulsing the chickpeas in a food processor to get a better mashed up consistency and either adding another flax egg or more brine. Mine literally exploded when I tried flipping them in the pan. Also, I have never used Old Bay seasoning before – it is crazy salty! Next batch I will reduce from 1 Tbsp down to 1/2 Tbsp. I will definitely make these again! (And again and again …)😋

  2. Marian Wang says

    Wow these are so good!!! We did feel there was a little too much tartness with the capers. That’s our preference. Other than that, this is such a great recipe! Everyone, plant and non-plant based people, loved it. I will definitely make again :)

  3. Kim says

    So trying this – gonna use banana blossoms instead of jackfruit. Will tag you on it! Thanks for your inspiration!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      How cool! We’ve never experimented with banana blossoms. Let us know how it turns out!

  4. Doniese McCaw says

    This is a very awesome recipe! Loved the ease at which it went together. I did find however it didn’t hold together as well as I thought it should, and was a tad bit crumbly, so I just added a bit of Just Egg, and that solved the crumbly issue. The flavors are exquisite and we will definitely be making this one again. Thank you! It’s a keeper and goes so well with the tartar sauce! Loved them both!

  5. V says

    Where does one find a can of jackfruit? I’ve never seen this before- are there certain stores that sell it? Thanks!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi there! In the US our favorite place to get canned jackfruit is Trader Joe’s, but most grocery stores should also have it in the international aisle! We also like Native Forest brand. Hope this helps!

  6. Shelley Harris says

    I made these this morning. The only ingredient I omitted was the chopped celery because I usually don’t add that to my crab cakes. I must say that these are delicious and the flavour is very authentic. Thank you for this recipe!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Woohoo! Thanks for the lovely review, Shelley! So glad you enjoyed the crab cakes! xo

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Toby! This recipe calls for canned jackfruit that is in brine, fresh jackfruit will not give the same results. Hope this helps!

  7. Angie says

    I think I may have needed to mash my chickpeas a little more, my poor little patties never wanted to stay together! Hahaha

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Oh no! Sorry these didn’t work out for you, Angie. Thoroughly mashing should help, and if it’s still too dry you could add extra caper brine until the dough holds together. Let us know how it goes if you try it again! xo

  8. Pat Holkestad says

    We tried these Vegan Crab Cakes tonight – they were delicious. However, they did not hold together very well. Should I try adding more Flax egg? Or do you have another suggestion. Thanks very much.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Pat! Glad you enjoyed these crab cakes, but sorry the texture wasn’t perfect! More flax eggs could certainly help, but we’d suggest adding extra caper brine or plain water (1 tbsp at a time) until it’s the texture you want. Hope this helps! xo

  9. Aliyah Bacca says

    So I made this last night with the tartar sauce recipe, your oven baked Cajun fries, and your vegan coleslaw recipe! It was smack yo mama good!!! The faux crab cakes were so delicate and crispy, with great flavor. I didn’t change a thing regarding the recipe because you are the expert, so I wanted to honor the original recipe-which was written perfectly. You knocked this one out of the park!! Thank you so much for sharing your ingenuity and creativity with the world!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thank you for such a kind and lovely review, Aliyah! All those dishes together sound *amazing*, we are so glad you enjoyed! xo

  10. Laurie says

    I want to make these ahead in morning for later. Is it ok to make the mix & refrigerate it for the day and cook in the evening? Instead of cooking & reheating later?

      • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

        We tried chopped hearts of palm and didn’t enjoy the flavor as much, but they do work. Let us know if you try it!

      • June says

        I made the crab cakes and the tartar sauce. I did use a cast iron pan and loved them, but I don’t like how much oil I had to use. I’m going to try baking them next.

        Here’s how I used it for dinner: In a bowl I started with quinoa, then shredded romaine lettuce, then the crab cakes, and finely chopped cooked beets on top with tartar sauce. It looked like a dish from a restaurant and the combination of flavors was fantastic.

        Thank you!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Bee, we don’t think they will be quite as crispy or sturdy, but might turn out okay. We would suggest spraying or brushing them with a little oil to encourage crispiness and add flavor. Let us know how it goes!

  11. Joan Money says

    I made these with no modifications because I usually love all of the Minimalist Baker’s recipes. They lacked flavor! The only thing I can think of is that I used 1 T Old Bay instead of 2.

    I really wanted to like them.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Oh no! Sorry to hear that, Joan. The Old Bay is a key flavor and adds saltiness, so that could be the issue. We provided a range for those who prefer things less salty, but we’d definitely suggest increasing it for more flavor.

        • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

          Yes! One other thing we thought about was to make sure the can of jackfruit you were using was 14 ounces and not a larger one.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Lisa, We’d suggest trying 1-2 tsp dried parsley. We don’t think they will be quite as crispy or sturdy without pan frying, but might turn out okay. Let us know how it goes!

  12. Srndptee says

    Hi MB!
    I live your whole concept and am an avid reader.
    The recipes I’ve tried have all been excellent
    This one seems perfect, will try soon.
    Wondering : I see you are using cast iron here. I like it, natural. I saw you were using the Always pan before -I don’t think you are affiliated. I know people don’t want to criticize the Always Pan, it seems « all the rage » I’m debating what to buy. Did you revert back out of a preference for cast iron after all?

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi, we like cast iron here because it adds a nice crispiness to the exterior of the “crab” cakes. You can find our updated thoughts on the Always Pan here (look after the second photo for the update). Hope it’s helpful!

  13. Dana Chalamet says

    Omg. For sure going to make this along with your vegan tartar sauce. Sounds and looks HEAVENLY!!! 😋 … have been wanting to make meals with jackfruit, but never have. This should be a really great start! ☺️ Thanks so much for sharing! 💞🙏🏼🌈💞

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Tricia, we like Native Forest or Trader Joe’s. Let us know how you like this one =)

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Julie, we like Native Forest or Trader Joe’s. Let us know how you like this recipe =)

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Katelyn, hmm, we aren’t sure about that one. We think they might add too much moisture, so we’d suggest compensating by using less water for making the flax egg. Let us know if you try it!

  14. renée says

    Hi there… I have dried jackfruit… what do you think about re-hydrating and using that in place of the green jackfruit in brine? thanks!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Renée, that might work in terms of texture, but we don’t think it will have the same taste because of the missing brine. Maybe add more caper brine to taste? Let us know if you try it!

  15. Jen says

    Wow!! These look amazing!! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!! I can’t wait to try them!! 😊💕

  16. Régine says

    Hi and thanks for the recipe. I would love to try it, but I am not crazy about jackfruit. Would King bolets work?

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Régine, we aren’t familiar with that type of mushroom so we’re not sure. You’d probably need to cook them to remove some of the moisture and add more caper brine for flavor. Let us know if you do some experimenting!

  17. June says

    You read my mind again, because you gave us the tartar sauce, and we needed those crab cakes!!! And how amazing is it that there’s no may in this recipe?
    What’s even funnier is that last night I came upon an old French chef making crab cakes (with mayo), and so, of course, I’ve had a hankering for it.
    Are you going to read my mind again tomorrow???

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Kei, hmm, that’s a little tricky. We tried chopped hearts of palm and didn’t enjoy the flavor as much, but they do work. Or another option might be well rinsed artichoke hearts? Let us know if you do some experimenting!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Sarah, we don’t think they will be quite as crispy or sturdy, but might turn out okay. We would suggest spraying or brushing them with a little oil to encourage crispiness and add flavor. Let us know how it goes!

      • Remy says

        Hi!
        I was wondering can I substitute an egg for the flax meal part that helps everything stick together?

        Thanks! Very excited to try this recipe out!

        • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

          Hi Remy, we do think that would work, though we haven’t tried it. Let us know how it turns out!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Jade, we think that should work. We’d suggest using 1-2 tsp dried parsley. Let us know how it turns out!