By Fredrica Syren
Studies show that going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It can also help reduce your carbon footprint, and save important resources like fresh water and fossil fuels.
This week’s recipe,from Kris Carr’s Sexy Crazy Cookbook, is a real treat. Because my husband used to love eating crab cakes, I made it. When I told him they were vegan and made from hearts of palm, he looked very suspicious and I don’t blame him. How on earth can you make a vegetable taste like crab? I don’t have the answer to that because I have not eaten crab cakes; however, I can tell you that these are so amazing that no one will care if they taste like crab or not. Hubby keeps telling me how good they were and that he wants them again … soon.
Hearts of palm are packed with Vitamin A, folate, iron, phosphorus and zinc. This recipe also boasts a dose of nori, which is chock-full of Vitamin A, B12, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, and iron, and stimulates the metabolism.
· 1 cup vegan mayonnaise
· 1 tablespoon ketchup
· 1 teaspoon hot sauce
· 1 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
· 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
· 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
· 2 teaspoons minced capers
· 2 teaspoons minced shallot
· 1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
· 2 teaspoons minced red bell pepper
· 1 sheet of nori or 2 teaspoons toasted nori flakes
· Two 14-ounce cans hearts of palm
· 1/2 cup canola oil, more if needed
· 1/4 cup finely diced red bell pepper
· 3 tbsp. Vegenaise or other vegan mayonnaise
· 2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
· 1 tbsp. nutritional yeast flakes
· 2 tsp. arrowroot or cornstarch
· Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
· 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
Prepare Rémoulade: Place all rémoulade ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend on high for 1 minute. Set aside or store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Prepare Crab Cakes:
1. Toast nori sheet by holding it with tongs and fanning it over a low gas flame or electric burner. Be careful not to let it burn. Turn the sheet frequently, so that it toasts evenly.
2. Using a spice grinder or a coffee grinder that you use exclusively for spices, grind the nori. Break the nori into pieces, place it into the grinder, and pulse until powdered. Alternatively, crumble it as finely as you can with your hands or pulverize it with a mortar and pestle.
3. Drain the hearts of palm and press in a towel to dry them. In a food processor, pulse gently until it looks like the consistency of crabmeat.
4. Place a small sauté pan on medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon of oil and heat for 30 seconds, being careful not to let it smoke. Sauté the onion and bell pepper until soft, 3 to 5 minutes.
5. In a large bowl, combine the hearts of palm, onion, bell pepper, Vegenaise, 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning, nori flakes, nutritional yeast flakes, arrowroot or cornstarch, and salt and pepper. Mix until incorporated. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
6. Scoop with an ice cream scoop or a large tablespoon to portion into small cakes. Combine breadcrumbs with 1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning. Coat the small cakes with breadcrumbs. Form and let sit in the refrigerator for 1 hour or until firm.
7. Cook Crab Cakes: Place a sauté pan on medium-high heat. Add some canola oil and heat for 2 minutes. Working in batches, sauté the cakes (make certain that the oil comes about halfway up the sides of the cakes) until browned on both sides and heated through, 2 to 3 minutes on each side.