This recipe for hearts of palm crab cakes is a tasty and unique way to make vegan crabless cakes! Its firm-but-flaky texture and tasty flavor is sure to excite whoever you serve these to. It’s truly a superior appetizer and comes together relatively quickly!
There are many ways to make vegan crab cakes but using hearts of palm is one of my go-to methods! Hearts of palm is an ideal base ingredient, although you may want to experiment with some others too since I also enjoy using jackfruit and artichoke too!
Get the Veg Out newsletter for vegan recipes + nutrition content!
This post contains affiliate links (including Amazon Associates) and I earn from qualifying purchases.
Are Hearts of Palm Crab Cakes Vegan?
There are many ways to create tasty vegan crabless cakes and using hearts of palm is a great choice! Hearts of palm has a delicious texture that works well to replicate crab meat.
With its mild flavor, hearts of palm can be spiced to taste more like seafood. Seasoning salt is key to recreate that flavor in this recipe!
Ingredients to Make Heart of Palm Crab Cakes
These are simple to make and loaded with flavor without requiring any fancy ingredients! To make vegan crabless cakes, you’ll need:
- Canned hearts of palm: With a firm and flaky texture, this is ideal for replicating crab meat. It holds its texture perfectly when baked for a delicious crabless cake. You’ll need to save 2 tablespoons of brine from the can before draining the rest away.
- Celery: For some crunch and nice flavor, chopped celery is a great addition.
- Onion: Along with celery, onion adds a great flavor that’s often found in a traditional crab cake.
- Chickpea flour: This protein-rich flour brings a nice flavor to the crab cakes and creates a very firm texture; one where you can easily pick up the baked crab cakes with your hand! See the substitution section below for alternative flour options.
- Parsley: Fresh herbs are essential to bring loads of flavor to any recipe, and I love the flavor of parsley in a crabless cake. Dill is another tasty choice that you can use if you prefer!
- Vegan mayo: For some fat and lots of flavor, vegan mayo helps round out this recipe.
- Dijon mustard: Add a slightly tangy and spicy layer of flavor with some Dijon mustard!
- Apple cider vinegar: Acidic ingredients like vinegar or citrus are always welcome when cooking. Sub for lemon juice if you enjoy that flavor!
- Old Bay seasoning: This is a key ingredient to create seafood-like flavor in the recipe. Old Bay is a seafood seasoning salt; if you don’t like or don’t have Old Bay, use a seasoning salt you enjoy.
- Garlic powder, salt and pepper: A few extra, classic flavors are always welcome to create a tasty heart of palm crab cake.
- Panko bread crumbs: For a beautiful golden brown, crispy coating, panko breadcrumbs are my choice! Regular breadcrumbs work but provide a different texture.
- Oil spray: This recipe is quite low in fat, so spraying some oil onto the breadcrumbs helps add flavor and allow them to turn golden brown in the oven. If you don’t have access to oil spray, lightly brush oil onto either side of the crab cakes before baking.
How to Make Hearts of Palm Crabless Cakes
This recipe is quite simple to make. Just chop the vegetables then mix everything together. Once combined, shape the crab cakes, coat in breadcrumbs and bake!
Watch the video below so you can see each easy step or read through the detailed directions so your hearts of palm crab cakes turn out great!
Step 1: Prep Ingredients
Start by prepping the canned hearts of palm. Reserve 2 tablespoons of liquid from the can before draining the rest of the liquid away. Then, roughly chop the hearts of palm into a flaky texture that resembles crab meat.
Add the 2 tablespoons of liquid and chopped hearts of palm into a large mixing bowl.
Next, chop the celery, onion and parsley. I like to finely chop the onion and celery, but you can chop it into any texture you prefer. Add the chopped celery, onion and parsley to your mixing bowl.
Step 2: Mix Crab Cakes
Next, add the remaining ingredients, except for the breadcrumbs, to the large mixing bowl. This includes chickpea flour, vegan mayo, Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar and spices including Old Bay.
Stir this mixture until evenly combined then let it sit for 10 minutes. This time allows the chickpea flour to soak up some liquid, making the next step much easier (you can shape the crab cake mix better after sitting!).
Step 3: Shape Patties and Coat in Breadcrumbs
When your mix is ready, prep a baking tray by covering it with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
Pour the breadcrumbs onto a plate or shallow bowl.
Begin forming the crabless cakes. I use a ¼ cup measuring cup to scoop evenly sized crab cakes from the mixture. Shape them into round disks, about ¾ inch (2 centimeters) thick.
Place your shaped crab cake into the breadcrumbs. Scoop extra breadcrumbs on top and lightly press them into the crab cake. Carefully transfer the crab cake, coated in breadcrumbs, to your baking tray.
Repeat until all the crab cakes are formed and coated in breadcrumbs.
Before baking, lightly spray each side of the crabless cakes with vegetable oil. If you don’t have oil spray, lightly brush oil onto either side of the crab cakes.
Step 4: Bake and Serve
Bake the crabless cakes in an oven preheated to 375 °F for 20-22 minutes, until both sides are golden brown. It’s best to flip the patties halfway through baking to help them brown evenly on both sides.
Once out of the oven, allow the crab cakes to cool for about 5 minutes. This time allows the flour to set, forming a firmer texture!
These are best served with a delicious, creamy dip like my easy vegan crab cake sauce recipe!
Vegan Crab Cake Tips and Variations
This recipe is straight-forward to make but there are a few substitutes and variations to consider.
You can also experiment with other types of flour. Chickpea flour offers a nice flavor and creates the firmest cakes. Using chickpea flour allows you to eat crab cakes with your hands without them crumbling apart.
However, you could also use whole wheat flour or coconut flour. Whole wheat flour brings a slightly nutty flavor and holds the crabless cakes together quite well, but they will be softer than a chickpea flour version.
Coconut flour brings a delicious flavor but creates a very soft texture. If using coconut flour, you’ll need to eat the hearts of palm crab cakes with a fork, not that there’s anything wrong with that!
You can also use regular breadcrumbs rather than panko. I like the large flake texture of panko but finely ground, regular, breadcrumbs can also make a nice coating.
Lastly, while I bake this recipe, you can also pan fry the crabless cakes. This creates a beautiful golden-brown coating, and the extra fat makes for a satiating meal!
How to Store Leftovers
Cool leftover vegan crab cakes completely, then refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
To reheat, you could use the microwave, but the crab cake will lose its crispy breadcrumb coating. If this isn’t a concern for you, go ahead and reheat in a microwave.
If you’d like to keep the outsides of your crabless cakes crisp, place in an oven at 375 °F until heated through.
If you make this recipe, please rate and comment below to help others benefit from your experience!
Hearts of Palm Crab Cakes
- 3 cups hearts of palm (2 14 oz/ 400 g cans)
- 2 tablespoons hearts of palm liquid
- ⅓ cup celery , finely diced
- ⅓ cup onion , finely diced
- ½ cup chickpea flour
- ¼ cup parsley , finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Old bay seasoning
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs (gluten free if needed)
- oil spray
Prep the Hearts of Palm and Other Vegetables
- Open canned hearts of palm and measure canning liquid into a large mixing bowl (measurement is total amount, NOT from each can).2 tablespoons hearts of palm liquid
- Discard the remaining liquid then dump the hearts of palm onto a cutting board.3 cups hearts of palm
- Finely chop the hearts of palm and add to your large bowl.
- Finely chop celery, onion and parsley. Add to the large mixing bowl.⅓ cup celery, ⅓ cup onion, ¼ cup parsley
Mix Crab Cakes
- To the large bowl, add chickpea flour, vegan mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, Old bay seasoning, garlic powder, salt and black pepper.½ cup chickpea flour, 2 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, ½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon Old bay seasoning, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon salt, ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- Mix until well combined.
- Allow this mixture to sit for 10 minutes.
Shape Crab Cakes and Coat with Breadcrumbs
- Prep your baking tray by covering it with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
- Measure panko breadcrumbs into a large, flat bottom bowl.½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- Once the crab cake mixture has rested, use a ¼ cup measuring cup to scoop the crab cake mixture. Take this out of the measuring cup and shape into a flat disk, about ¾ inch (2 centimeters) thick.
- Set the crab cake into the breadcrumbs and lightly press down. Flip your crab cake to lightly coat the other side with breadcrumbs.
- Place onto the baking tray then repeat to form all crab cakes and coat with breadcrumbs.
- Spray the crab cakes with oil (if you don’t have oil spray, lightly brush oil onto each crab cake). Flip your crab cakes over and spray oil onto the other side (or brush oil onto the other side).oil spray
Bake and Serve
- Put the crab cakes into an oven preheated to 375 °F. Bake for 20-22 minutes, until both sides are golden-brown.
- Crabless cakes can be served hot from the oven if you use a fork and knife. If you want to pick them up, allow them to cool for at least 15 minutes so they have time to firm.
- Serve with a creamy dairy-free dip, like this vegan crab cake sauce!crab cake sauce
More Vegan Appetizer Recipes
Like this recipe? You should also try:
About Nicole Stevens
Nicole is a vegan Registered Dietitian (RD) and founder of Lettuce Veg Out.
She helps people thrive on a vegan diet with balanced recipes and easy-to-understand nutrition science.