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Vegan Crab Cakes from Smith and Daughters

Shredded hearts of palm are a dead ringer for crab meat in these crisp and satisfying fritters. 
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Resting time30 mins
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Main
Keyword: vegan
Servings: 6
Author: Shannon Martinez and Mo Wyse


  • 18 ounces potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 4 garlic cloves, 2 peeled, 2 crushed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter
  • 15 ounces canned hearts of palm
  • 2 celery stalks, finely diced
  • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 jalapeño, seeds removed and finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dill
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • zest of 1 lime
  • vegetable oil, for shallow-frying
  • sea salt flakes


  • 2 cups soy milk
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup plain all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs


  • 1 large avocado
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/3 cup Garlic Aioli, recipe follows
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • 4 ounces silken tofu
  • 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup soy milk
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil


  • 2 mangoes, diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 jalapeño, finely diced
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • small handful cilantro, roughly chopped
  • small handful mint, roughly chopped
  • juice of 1 lime


  • Place the potato in a medium-sized saucepan and cover with cold water. Add the bay leaf, whole garlic cloves and salt, then bring to the boil over high heat and reduce to a simmer. Cook until you can easily pierce the potato with a knife. Drain, remove the bay leaf, and transfer the potato and garlic to a large bowl along with 1 tablespoon of the butter. Mash, then season to taste and set aside to cool to room temperature.
  • Drain the hearts of palm and rinse under cold water. Cut into 1-inch lengths and shred with your fingers until it resembles crab meat. 
  • Heat the remaining tablespoon of butter in a medium-sized frying pan over medium heat. Add the shredded hearts of palm and fry for a few minutes, until it begins to lightly brown. Add the celery, spring onion, jalapeño and crushed garlic. Cook until the vegetables begin to soften, then add the Old Bay Seasoning and ground cumin. Season with salt and pepper, then transfer this mixture to the mash. Add the mustard, dill, coriander and lime zest and stir to combine. Put the mixture in the fridge to cool completely.
  • Shape the mixture into tennis ball-sized balls (or roll into golf ball-sized balls for a finger-food option). Flatten your balls into thick discs and put back into the fridge for about 30 minutes to firm up.
  • To prepare the crumb, pour the soy milk into one bowl and add the vinegar. Mix and set aside – it will thicken slightly. Add the flour to another bowl and season to your liking with salt and pepper. Place the panko crumbs in a third bowl.
  • Coat each crab cake with the flour, then dip into the soy milk wash and finally in the panko breadcrumbs. Make sure they are well coated with no gaps.
  • Place the crumbed crab cakes back into the fridge so the crumb can set.
  • Pour vegetable oil in a large frying pan until 1 cm (1/2 in) deep and place over medium heat. Cook the crab cakes, 3–4 patties at a time, for 3–4 minutes on each side until golden and crunchy. Drain on paper towel and season with salt flakes.
  • Serve with mango salsa and avocado cream or any aioli dipping sauce that you love.


  • Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. It’s best to eat this on the day you make it, but it will keep in an airtight container with plastic wrap covering the surface of the cream for up to 2 days in the fridge.


  • Place all of the ingredients except the oils in a blender and blend until well combined. With the motor running on medium speed, slowly drizzle in the oils until well combined and emulsified.


  • Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Set aside for at least 1 hour for the flavors to infuse.


Used with permission from Smith & Daughters: A Cookbook (That Happens to be Vegan) by Shannon Martinez and Mo Wyse, Hardie Grant, 2017. Photography by Bonnie Savage.