I recently posed a plant-based meal challenge to students of our Natural Wellness Academy: The idea was to either create or redesign a recipe using tips and techniques they have learned in the Holistic Health and Raw Fusion areas of the course. The aim of this endeavor is to encourage their clients and/or family members to enjoy more plant-based meals, perhaps a Meatless Monday, and to appreciate how surprisingly good they can taste.
Recent grad, Diane White, elected to create a vegan rendition of crab cakes. and with some fun collaboration we have come up with a flavorful chickpea-based patty that can easily become a family favorite! Mashed chickpeas and bread crumbs (in this case gluten-free panko-style) can create a rather dry batter but with some ingredient inspiration and tweaking, these came out nice and moist -- truly redolent of the southern classic.
Although Diane's great photo serving suggestion is as a sandwich (toasted gluten-free buns) she has also enjoyed them crumbled up on a salad. She commented, "They really perked up my salad and I was looking under the lettuce leaves for more crumbles!" I enjoyed mine appetizer-style over baby greens with slices of avocado and tomato. The wonderful sweet wasabi mayonnaise gives this vegan dish a decadent feel.
Dulse is a mineral-rich seaweed that makes an excellent salt substitute and in this recipe lends that slight "seafood" taste. It is available either in shakers, like salt, in small flakes, or my favorite - strips, that make a nice "melt-in-your-mouth" snack. If using the strips, cut them finely with a kitchen shears
Chickpea "Crab" Cakes.
Makes 6-8 full-size patties or 10-12 slider size
3 cups cooked garbanzo beans (retain cooking/can juice)
1 cup gluten-free panko style breadcrumbs
2-3 TB. Vegan mayonnaise (we prefer the grapeseed variety)
½ red pepper, diced
3 scallions, chopped all the way to the white part
2-3 celery stalks, finely chopped
½ lemon, juiced
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
½ tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning (optional)
1 TB. dulse flakes
Sea Salt to taste (if you use Old Bay, there is some salt in there)
2-3 TB. reserved cooking/can liquid garbanzos
2-3 TB. cooking oil (grapeseed, sunflower or coconut)
Sweet Wasabi Mayo
½ cup vegan mayonnaise
1 tsp. wasabi powder or paste
½ tsp. garlic powder
1-2 TB. maple syrup or coconut nectar, depending on level of sweetness you prefer
Directions for Chickpea "Crab" Cakes
Place the drained garbanzos in food processor and pulse until smooth and paste-like but leaving some partial and whole beans.
Pour into a large bowl, stirring in all of the seasonings and chopped veggies and blending. Then add the breadcrumbs and work them through using your hands. Use reserved cooking/can liquid if the batter feels too dry. Taste and adjust seasonings. Form into patties. Heat cooking oil and brown well. Top with Sweet Wasabi Mayo and serve over greens or as a sandwich with tomatoes and onions.