Some people can go vegan overnight, some transition from vegetarianism, and others gradually wean themselves off of different animal products in stages. If you struggle to imagine a world without seafood, this post is for you.
Veganism has made great strides in recreating your favorite seafood dishes without fish and without the unnecessary strain on our oceans. There’s vegan shrimp, vegan scallops, vegan tuna, vegan fish filets, vegan ceviche, vegan calamari, vegan salmon, vegan lobster and of course vegan crab cakes. You should definitely check out those examples above, they all look super yummy and I will definitely try my hand at some of these in the future.
So how the heck do you re-imagine seafood as vegan? Jackfruit, carrots, oyster mushrooms and of course soy and tempeh can all be used to recreate your favorite seafood dishes without cruelty and without harming our planet.
Overfishing is a very serious problem that is sometimes overshadowed by factory farming. Both industries account for trillions upon trillions of deaths each year. If I told you the numbers, you wouldn’t be able to fathom the sheer magnitude of killing that happens in our oceans.
- 970 – 2,700 billion fishes are caught from the wild, of which [source]
- 450 – 1,000 billion fishes are caught to make fishmeal and fish oil. 
- 37 – 120 billion farmed fish are killed for food. [source]
- 170 – over 400 billion farmed decapod crustaceans are also killed for food. [source]
This cannot continue.
When it comes to animal sentience, there are some who still believe that animals are not capable of experiencing pain and emotions in the same manner as we do. Unfortunately, this conversation often stops at pigs, cows, chickens, and animals we consider pets. Fish are too often overlooked in conversations about animal sentience and morality, even though they have been found to exhibit the same complex emotions and behaviors as humans and other animals.
I’ve never been one to use intelligence or an animal’s tendencies to display ‘human’ behaviors to determine whether or not they deserve my empathy. Often, the argument is made that cats, dogs, apes, horses, elephants, lions, etc. should be protected and revered simply because they are able to be commercialized by us in some way. We love dogs because they make us feel like they love and need us, we love horses because they are practical, we love apes because we have been told that we are related, so on and so forth. I think it’s time that we afford ALL ANIMALS the same love, respect, and compassion that we show animals like the ones mentioned above.
The first step is to realize that all living, breathing, moving creatures on this planet have feelings. An animal’s right to live is not dependent on how cute they are, how many tricks they can do, whether or not they get along with humans, or their perceived intelligence. An animals right to life is bestowed upon them by God from the moment they enter this realm….and the same goes for us.
Now that that’s out of the way, we can get to what you actually came for…jackfruit crab cakes. If you’re new around here, you’ll soon learn that I am obsessed with jackfruit and I really feel that it will be a major key to society’s transition to a vegan world.
Even when I did eat seafood a few years back, I never considered myself to be a crab connoisseur, so my endorsement of this dish as a crab cake replacement is really just based on how this particular recipe tastes, and it was damn good 🙂 It’s been so long since I’ve had crab that I can’t really remember exactly how crab cake tastes, but I can tell you that this recipe is delicious, whether it’s an exact doppelgänger or not.
The rice vinegar really set off the wannabe-fish taste and the combination of baking and frying the patties made such a huge difference in the taste. Top it off with a generous squeeze of lemon a dab of tartar sauce and I bet you could fool, or at least appease, a die-hard fish fan.
Vegan Jackfruit Crab Cakes
- 2 cans jackfruit
- 1/4 cup finely chopped celery (optional)
- 6 flax eggs (1 egg = 1 tbsp flax meal +3 tbsp water)
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil
DIY Old Bay Seasoning
- 1 tbsp garlic salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp mustard powder
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp red pepper
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp thyme
- pinch cinnamon
- pinch ginger
- pinch cayenne
DIY Tartar Sauce
- 1 cup vegan mayonaise
- 1/2 tsp rice vinegar
- 1/4 tsp mustard seed
- 1/4 tsp dill
- 1/4 tsp dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup finely diced cucumber or pickles (optional)
Drain the jackfruit, shred into small pieces and remove any seeds/hard parts. Pat the jackfruit dry with a paper towel. Set aside
In a separate bowl, mix the 6 flax eggs (measurements in ingredients list) together and set aside for at least 10 minutes
In a small bowl, combine the old bay seasoning ingredients together and set aside.
Combine old bay seasoning, drained jackfruit, flax eggs, rice vinegar, onion, and optional celery and form the cakes into patties. Place on a silicon pad on a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. You can even leave them overnight if you'd like.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 15 minutes
Line a skillet with a thin layer of sunflower oil and fry each cake until they are light brown/toasted on each side.
Mix tartar sauce ingredients into a small bowl and serve. Keeps in the fridge for at least one week.
Sautee the cakes on the skillet with a touch of oil to re-heat.
For this recipe, I used more water in my flax egg recipe than normal because I wanted to make sure that the jackfruit mixture was wet enough to stick together. I used 3 tbsp of water to 1 tbsp of jackfruit compared to 2.5 tbsp of water.
This is what the cakes look like after baking for 15 minutes. They tasted just fine with only baking, but when I baked and fried a batch, I was blown away by the taste and texture. Crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, they were everything I hoped to achieve in this crab cake dupe. I only added white onions this time, but as indicated in the recipe above, I think adding in really small bits of celery into the mix would taste divine but that it totally optional.
This is what the cakes look like after jumping from the oven into the frying pan. They taste the best when they are almost too hot to eat, so feel free to get heavy handed with the lemon squeezes and the tartar sauce. You won’t regret it.
Watch how I made vegan jackfruit crab cakes here:
Vegan ‘seafood’ recipes here
Overfishing facts here
How many fish are killed each year?
Countdown until there’s no fish left here
Fish feel pain…read more here
Watch the world’s smartest fish play basketball here
What does A TRILLION look like? here