Tempeh Crab-Free Cakes

Random item of the day: Someone found my blog by searching “sprint 2 police.”



Do you ever get jealous of a dish your friends eat but you can’t/don’t/won’t?

Maybe you’re out and a friend orders the most juicy, perfectly garnished cheese burger on the planet… and you don’t eat meat.

Or the guy next to you is scarfing down a perfectly orgasmic-looking piece of chocolate sea salt cakebut you have a gluten intolerance.

This happens to me all. the. time.  I drool reading many of the ways seafood items are prepared/served.


Seared Rainbow Trout, Porcini Grits, Beef Bacon Vinaigrette… yes, please!

Wait.  Can you hold the seafood?


I know, I know.  It’s my choice not to eat seafood.  It grosses me out!

No, thank you.


They all poop.  In water.  Then float around in it.  *shudder*

Imagine my excitement when I discovered a recipe for crab cakes that DO NOT involve crab.  They’re VEGAN.

And they come with a remoulade.

I’m crab-free!

Non-gross crab cake recipe after the jump…


Last night I served these to guests who assured me that they were, in fact, reminiscent of “real” crab cakes.  I made sure to ask ’cause how would I know???

Seafood or no, this deliciousness is a must-try!

<3 Shun

Try me – I don’t have crabs!


Warning: They would be a bit time consuming to make at once.  I made the remoulade and tempeh the night before, mixing in everything EXCEPT the panko (didn’t want it to get soggy).

Just before frying, I mixed in 1/2 the panko and formed 8 patties.  It worked like a charm.  Cheers to prep work.

The remoulade can also be made in advance.



The cakes were tasty with the remoulade, but I think I liked them even better with Muhammara!


2 Cakes = 2 Toppings

Tempeh Crab-Free Cakes

(Inspired by Post Punk Kitchen’s Chesapeake Tempeh Cakes)

  • 8 ounces tempeh
  • 1 C water
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 T Vegenaisse
  • 1 T whole grain mustard (I used herbed)
  • 1 T chili garlic sauce
  • 1 T red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 C finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/4 C finely chopped onion
  • 2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger
  • 3/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp celery salt
  • fresh black pepper
  • 2/3 C whole wheat panko crumbs
  • 1/4 C oil (for pan frying)


Break up the tempeh into a small pot.  Add the water, soy sauce, oil and bay leaf.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, let boil for 10-12 mins, stirring once, until most of the water evaporates.

Remove bay leaf and place steamed tempeh into a large mixing bowl.  Using a fork, mash until about 50% smooth.  Let cool for about 15 mins, until tempeh is lukewarm.  Mix dry spices in a separate, small bowl to evenly combine.  Add the mayo, mustard, chili sauce, vinegar, bell pepper, lemon, and ginger and stir together.  Add the spices and mix well.

If you are making ahead, cover and place in refrigerator.

Before frying, add half of the panko to the tempeh mixture.  Stir until just combined.

Preheat a thin layer of oil in a heavy bottomed non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Don’t get oil too hot or you’ll burn the outside of your cakes!

Pour a remaining 1/3 C of panko onto a plate.  Scoop a heaping 2 T of the tempeh batter into your hands and form into a ball.  Gently flatten balls between your palms and then dip them into the panko to lightly coat – just a bit for some crunch.

Fry cakes for 4 mins on one side, flipping when dark golden brown.  Fry for ~2 mins on the other side and transfer to a crumpled paper towel to drain (crumpling the towel better allows the oil to drain).

Makes 8 cakes (~3-4 servings).



  • 2 T Vegenaisse
  • 1 T whole grain mustard
  • 1 T chili garlic sauce
  • 2 tsp capers
  • pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix to combine.  Can be made ahead.


Thank you, Post Punk Kitchen for opening my eyes to the possibility of eating one of the most popular seafood dishes on earth.

What do you not eat that you wish you could?  

Have you found a version you can eat?


  1. says

    I don’t necessarily get jealous that their food looks good, more so jealous that they have a million things that they can eat at any given restaurant and I do not. Although, it’s self imposed, so I don’t really get too upset about it.

    I love real crab cakes. I’m from Maryland though where they are known for crab.

  2. says

    Umm, I’m really digging this post :)

    I used to LOVE crab cakes… LOVE. And like you, they are one of those foods that I kind of miss and/or drool over when I’m at a restaurant.

    I once tried a raw recipe for crab cakes, but let’s just say – it wasn’t cutting it! I’m going to bookmark this for the next time I get a ‘crab cake’ hankering :)

    • Laura says

      Thank you! I’ve never had a “real” one, but I’m willing to bet these are just as good Let me know what you think if you try it!

  3. Spicie Foodie says

    Hi Laura, You had me laughing at why you won’t eat seafood:) I’m a very adventurous eater with no food allergies so I’ll try everything. Tempeh is something I’ve been wanting to try and this sounds like a perfect way to do so. Can’t wait to try it out. Thank you for being a part of March’s YBR.

    • Laura says

      Glad I could entertain. I realize it is totally neurotic. :)

      Let me know if you try them! It’s a great first-tempeh dish. Thank you for organizing and including me!


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