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Plate with vegan crab cakes garnished with parsley and lemon slices.

Vegan Crab Cakes

  • Author: Brittany Mullins
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 10
  • Diet: Vegan


These vegan crab cakes are made with chickpeas, hearts of palm, zucchini and old bay. They’re super flavorful, crisp on the outside and perfectly moist on the inside.


  • 1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 14 oz can whole hearts of palm, drained and shredded by hand to crab consistency
  • ½ cup grated zucchini
  • ¼ cup diced onion
  • ¼ cup diced celery
  • 2 Tablespoons old bay seasoning
  • ¼ cup vegan mayonnaise
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup panko (gluten-free, if needed)
  • 1 Tablespoon nori powder or kelp granules (optional)*
  • 4 Tablespoons nutritional yeast 
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • avocado oil for pan-frying
  • vegan tartar sauce, for topping (optional)


  1. Add chickpeas to a food processor and pulse 3-4 times or until chickpeas are mashed apart, but not turning into mush/hummus. Transfer chickpeas to a large bowl.
  2. Using your hands, shred hearts of palm until it’s the consistency of crab meat.
  3. Grate zucchini and squeeze out liquid, if it feels wet. I didn’t find squeezing necessary.
  4. Add chickpeas, shredded hearts of palm, zucchini, onion, celery, old bay, mayo, Dijon mustard, panko, nori powder, nutritional yeast, parsley, lemon zest, pepper and salt into the large bowl and mix until everything is combined. Place mixture in the fridge to chill for about 1 hour.
  5. Once mixture has chilled, use your hands to form patties. Make larger patties to serve as a main dish or smaller patties to serve as an appetizer.
  6. Heat a large sauté pan with 1 Tablespoon of avocado oil over medium high heat.
  7. Once oil is hot, place cakes in one at a time and cook until golden brown and warm throughout, about 2 minutes each side.
  8. Place in 300°F oven to keep warm while you cook the remaining patties. Serve crab cakes warm with sauce of choice. I used a vegan tartar sauce.
  9. Store leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days.


  • Make your own nori powder: If you can’t find nori powder or kelp granules, you make your own nori powder by blending seaweed snack sheets in your processor. This is what I ended up doing and it worked great.
  • Inspired by this recipe.
  • Category: Lunch/Dinner
  • Method: Pan-Fry
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 1 patty
  • Calories: 120
  • Sugar: 1g
  • Sodium: 683mg
  • Fat: 6g
  • Saturated Fat: 1g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 5g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 12g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Protein: 4g
  • Cholesterol: 2mg

Keywords: vegan crab cake

Parchment paper lined with protein balls.


Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring!