During the summer, there’s nothing better than being by the water with its roaring waves and cool breezes. For many people, the coast brings to mind seafood and in particular, crab cakes. Crab cakes are especially associated with east and west coastal areas but especially the area surrounding the Chesapeake Bay and the state of Maryland.

Crab cakes are fishcakes made from crab meat and other ingredients such as milk, mayo, bread crumbs and seasonings. They can be pan-fried, baked or broiled. The two most common types of crab cakes are Boardwalk crab cakes which are breaded, deep-fried and served on a bun and Restaurant crab cakes which are made with little filler and served on a platter with side dishes such as fries and slaw. Condiments for crab cakes include tartar sauce, remoulade, cocktail sauce, mustard and Worcestershire sauce.

For those of us who would rather let the crabs live, there are a variety of ways to make vegan crab cakes. The construction and preparation of a vegan crab cake is very similar to making veggie burgers. You can make them from tofu, tempeh, chickpeas and other legumes, jackfruit or hearts of palm. The seasonings, especially the trinity of Old Bay Seasoning, seaweed and lemon, can help give them the taste of the sea. For more, see How to Make Vegan Seafood Without the Fish and You Don’t Need Fish to Make Delicious Seafood Dishes: Use These Tips Instead.

They can be baked or pan-fried and made gluten-free, if desired. All the condiments can be made vegan as well. So if you’re ready to indulge in some compassionate vegan seafood, we have recipes that will make you feel like you’re enjoying your dinner by the ocean.

1. Vegan Crab Cakes with Sweet Balsamic Mayo


These Vegan Crab Cakes are made from garbanzo beans and taste very similar to those made with fish. Serve them on a bun with a homemade sweet balsamic mayo.

2. Baked ‘Fish’ Cakes With Lemon Herb Mayo

Baked “Fish” Cakes With Lemon Herb Mayo [Vegan]

If you’ve been missing crab cakes, these Baked ‘Fish’ Cakes will fix that. Made with chickpeas, these cakes have miso and lots of nori to give it that familiar flavor. Serve with a bright lemon herb mayo.

3. Hearts of Baltimore Crab Cakes

Hearts of Baltimore Crab Cakes [Vegan]

Maryland crab cakes are traditionally oversized, and these Hearts of Baltimore Crab Cakes are recreated using hearts of palm and traditional seasonings. Serve them with garlicky dill aioli.

4. How to Make Homemade Vegan Mayo


Mayo is an important ingredient in both the vegan crab cakes and the condiments served with them. By making your own Homemade Vegan Mayo, you can control exactly what goes in it. Oh, and it’s way cheaper than buying it at the store.

5. ‘Crab’ Cakes With Green Tartar Sauce


Artichokes and chickpeas combine to make these vegan Crab Cakes that are baked. Serve them with a green tartar sauce made from vegan mayo and avocado.

6. Creamy Low-Fat Vegan Mayonnaise With No Extracted Oil


For those who are allergic to soy, prefer not to use oil, do not like tofu mayonnaise, or the commercial “light” mayos (most are not vegan, anyway), this Creamy Low-Fat Vegan Mayonnaise is a delicious (and inexpensive) solution. Flavor it with dill, lemon or your favorite flavors to make it your own.

7. Tempeh ‘Crab’ Cakes with Horseradish-Dill Mayo


These Tempeh Crab Cakes have all the flavors – Old Bay, kelp, dill and lemon – that remind you of the sea. Tempeh gives the cakes a flaky texture similar to the traditional cakes. Serve with homemade horseradish-dill mayo.

8. Cajun Quinoa Cakes & Lemon-Dill-Sriracha Rémoulade


These Cajun Quinoa Cakes have lots of flavor and if you want them to taste like crab cakes, just add some kelp or other seaweed to the spice mix. Served with a lemon-dill-Sriracha remoulade, this meal will have your taste buds singing.

9. ‘Crab’ Cakes

Vegan "Crab" Cakes [Vegan]

Hearts of palm are at the heart of these vegan ‘Crab’ Cakes. They are made small for the perfect appetizer or party food. Serve these with your favorite vegan tartar sauce.

Get creative. Choose your favorite ingredient – beans, tofu, tempeh or jackfruit – and make your own vegan crab cakes. They’re the perfect dish for summer meals.

Lead image source: Crab Cakes