Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and full of delicious Old Bay seasoning these Vegan Seafood Cakes are fantastic! The recipe is super easy and uses a combination of hearts of palm and chickpeas to achieve the perfect texture. They make a great appetizer or main dish.
In case you didn't know, I live in Los Angeles, but I'm actually from Maryland. The land of Old Bay seasoning! And the stuff is used on all kinds of foods there from seafood to corn to tofu to pasta. It's just so darn good! People from Maryland put it on everything and for good reason.
So when I decided to take a stab at vegan seafood cakes I knew that I had to use Old Bay as a main ingredient. It gives the cakes a yummy seafood like taste along with an addictively good touch of salt and spice. The recipe doesn't work quite the same without it.
And for that reason the recipe does not disappoint on flavor! I can promise you that.
This recipe uses a combination of easy to find ingredients that you can find in almost any market.
- Hearts of Palm- You will find hearts of palm near the olives in most grocery stores. They are used to give the cakes a seafood like fish texture.
- Chickpeas- Canned chickpeas are used in this recipe to create texture and help bind the cakes together.
- Onion- I used brown onion in this recipe.
- Celery- The celery adds flavor along with the onion.
- Ground Flaxseed- Mixed with warm water the ground flaxseed is used to make a vegan egg used as a binder.
- Vegan Mayo- Any brand of vegan mayo will work.
- Dijon Mustard- The mustard adds another layer of flavor.
- Vegan Worcestershire Sauce- This ingredient adds a dash of tang that you find in seafood cakes.
- Old Bay Seasoning- You can find Old Bay in most chain grocery stores.
- Lemon Juice- Fresh lemon juice creates the best flavor.
- Fresh Parsley- You need fresh Italian parsley for this recipe.
- Panko Bread Crumbs- Make sure to use panko. Regular bread crumbs will not work not the same.
How To Make Vegan Seafood Cakes
To begin the cakes, you make your flax egg by mixing together one tablespoon of ground flaxseed meal with two and a half tablespoons of warm water in a small dish. Then you set the mixture aside to turn into an egg like consistency.
Now, you prep your hearts of palm and chickpeas. For the hearts of palm you start by thinly slicing them longways and then cutting them diagonally into half inch lengths. Then transfer the cut hearts of palm into a large bowl and break them up using your fingers until they resemble fish flakes. For the chickpeas, you need to drain and rinse them before pulsing them in the food processor until chunky. Then add them to the hearts of palm. You can also use a fork to make the chickpeas chunky.
Next, saute the finely chopped onion and celery in oil for about two to three minutes. Once the veggies are soft you add them to the bowl with the hearts of palm and chickpea mixture.
Then in a different small bowl, mix together the flax egg, vegan mayo, dijon mustard, vegan worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, and Old Bay seasoning until combined well. Now, fold this mixture into the hearts of palm and chickpea mixture until fully incorporated. Then gently fold in the fresh chopped parsley and ¾ cup of the panko bread crumbs. Again, until evenly distributed.
At this point, taste your mixture for salt and season if needed. I did not feel the need to add more salt or anything else. But if you do this is the time to do it.
To form the cakes, put the remaining ½ cup of panko in a medium bowl. Then scoop about a quarter cup of the seafood cake mixture and form it into a ball. Now, take that ball and form it into a cake that is about 1 ½" thick. Then take the formed cake, lay it in the bowl of panko, and dredge it with the bread crumbs before setting it on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or wax paper. Then continue forming cakes until you run out of the mixture.
Finally, to cook the seafood cakes, you heat 1 to 2 inches deep of a neutral oil on medium high heat in a deep frying pan until it's hot. Then add about 5 to 6 cakes to the pan and fry for about 2 minutes on each side until nice and brown. Be sure not to add all the cakes at once as they won't cook as well and they are easier to manage in batches. Once crispy on both sides remove them from the pan and set them on a paper towel to drain the excess oil.
The seafood cakes can be served as an appetizer or main course. And they are super tasty when served with vegan aioli, which is basically a mixture of vegan mayo, fresh lemon juice, garlic, and ground black pepper.
The vegan seafood cakes store well in the fridge for up to a week. They can also be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months when placed in an airtight container. To reheat, you simply place them on a nonstick sheet pan and heat them in the oven at 375 degrees fahrenheit for about 12 minutes out of the fridge and about 30 minutes when frozen.
Tips For Success
- Prepping Hearts of Palm and Chickpeas: When prepping these ingredients be sure not to over smash them. They both need to retain some of their texture or your seafood cakes will be mush. We want the cakes to a have a fish like feel, so remember to keep some chunks when slicing and smashing those two ingredients.
- Use Panko: You must use panko bread crumbs for this recipe. Regular bread crumbs will not produce the same results or the same crunchy outer texture.
- Hot Oil: First off, be extra careful when working with hot oil any time you are frying something. But also make sure that the oil is hot enough before adding the cakes to the pan. If the oil is not hot enough the seafood cakes will just be greasy and we don't want that. My suggestion is to either test the oil temperature first to make sure it's at about 350 degrees fahrenheit or add just one cake to the oil to make sure it's hot enough before adding more.
These Vegan Seafood Cakes are fantastic because they are...
- Crispy on the outside
- Full of yummy Old Bay seasoning
- Quick and easy to make
- Perfect as an appetizer or main dish
If you try this recipe please let me know how it turns out by leaving a comment and rating. You can also hashtag #danceswithknives with a photo of your creation on Instagram where you can find me @dances_with_knives.
More Vegan Appetizer Recipes
- Vegan Salvadoran Pupusas with Curtido
- Vegan Ceviche with Hearts of Palm
- The Best Guacamole Recipe
- Easy Crispy Fried Tofu
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Vegan Seafood Cakes
- 2 teaspoon neutral oil (canola, grape seed, sunflower, safflower)
- ½ cup onion, finely chopped
- ⅓ cup celery, finely chopped
- 14 oz can hearts of palm, drained
- 15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 flaxseed egg (1 tablespoon flaxseed meal + 2.5 tablespoon warm water mixed)
- 3 tablespoon vegan mayo
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon vegan worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon old bay seasoning
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 ½ tablespoon fresh Italian parsley, chopped
- 1 ¼ cup panko bread crumbs
- Make your flaxseed egg by mixing 1 tablespoon of flaxseed meal with 2 ½ tablespoons of warm water in a small dish. Then set it aside to let it turn into a gel egg like consistency.
- Thinly slice hearts of palm lengthwise. Then cut the slices diagonally into half inch lengths and add to a large bowl. Now using your fingers break up the hearts of palm into shreds that resemble fish.
- Prep the chickpeas by pulsing them in a food processor until chunky. You can also smash them with a fork if you prefer. Then add to the bowl with the hearts of palm.
- Heat the oil on medium and then add the finely chopped onion and celery to saute for about 2 to 3 minutes. Then add the cooked veggies to the bowl with the hearts of palm and chickpea mixture.
- In another small bowl, mix together the flaxseed egg, vegan mayonnaise, dijon mustard, vegan worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, and Old Bay seasoning until well blended.
- Add the vegan mayo mixture to the large bowl with the hearts of palm mixture and gently fold to combine. Then add the chopped parsley and ¾ cup panko. Once again gently fold to combine without smashing the hearts of palm or chunky chickpeas.
- Taste for salt and season if needed. I found that I didn't need to add any salt.
- Put the remaining ½ cup of panko in a medium bowl.
- To make the cakes, scoop ¼ cup size portions of the mixture and form into a ball. Then form the ball into a cake that is about 1 ½" thick. Now, lay the cake into the bowl of panko and dredge with the bread crumbs on all sides. Set the pattie aside on a sheet pan lined with wax or parchment paper. Then continue making patties with the rest of the mix.
- To cook, heat 1 to 2 inches deep of a neutral oil on medium high heat in a deep frying pan until it's hot and shimmering about 350° F. Then add the crab cakes to the hot oil and fry for about 2 minutes on each side until nice and brown. Be very careful when flipping the cakes and don't crowd the pan. I did this in 2 batches cooking 6 cakes at a time. When the cakes are nice and crisp remove them from the pan and set on a paper towel to drain the oil.
- The seafood cakes can be served as an appetizer or main course. They go great with vegan aioli, which you can easily make by mixing together some vegan mayo with a dash of garlic, fresh lemon juice, and ground black pepper.