Old Bay Tofu “Crab” Cakes

Recently I had the honor of making dinner for the #1 top fundraiser for Team Vegan, Nancy, and 5 of her close friends. First prize was a gourmet vegan dinner for 6, including dishes! Nancy raised $3,025 to create more vegetarians, so it was an honor (and a blast) to cook for her.

The menu:

Crostini with heirloom tomatoes and fresh basil, some with FYH vegan mozzarella, some with extra virgin olive oil
Roast asparagus spears with lemon
“Crab” cakes with lemon-dill dipping sauce
Caesar salad
Vegan Chicken and Wild Mushrooms in White Wine Butter Sauce
Herb-roasted New Potatoes
Swiss chard with Balsamic
Chocolate-Peanut Butter Brownies with Two Kinds of Vegan Ice Cream and Fresh Strawberries

I’m including the recipe for the “crab” cakes here, but I also have to include a confession. I totally cheated on the dessert. Believe me, I had every intention of making a rich chocolate dessert from scratch, but then one week before the dinner I found myself eating a brownie from Allison’s Gourmet. If you haven’t tried her treats…it’s time you did. So the recipe for dessert is right here. All of her treats are scrumptious, vegan, and organic. But her brownies are from another world.

Old Bay Tofu “Crab” Cakes
The recipe is from Chef Tal Ronnen, the founder of VegAdvantage and the chef for Oprah! They’re delicious and easy.

Try to plan ahead so you can make this the day before—it’s much easier to cook when it’s had a chance to firm up in the fridge.

For the cakes:

½ cup onions, finely diced
½ cup carrots, finely diced
2 Tb olive oil
2 tsp minced garlic
2# firm tofu
1.5 Tb cornstarch
¼ cup nutritional yeast
1/8 cup white wine
1 Tb salt
1 tsp pepper
Juice of 1 lime

–Sauté the onions and carrots in olive until soft, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté 1 minute longer. Cool.

–Add the remaining ingredients, mix well (I use a food processor), cool in the fridge for at least 30 minutes (preferably overnight).

For the dredge:

1.5 cups unsweetened soymilk
1.5 cups flour
1.5 cups breadcrumbs
3 Tb Old Bay seasoning
1 tsp salt
Canola oil for sautéing

–Remove the tofu mixture from the fridge and form into small cakes, approximately 2 oz, by hand.

–Put the flour in a bowl.

–Mix the breadcrumbs and Old Bay, put in a bowl.

–Mix the soymilk and salt, put in a bowl.

–Line the bowls up in this order: Flour, soymilk, crumbs.

–Dip each cake in the flour, then the milk, then the crumbs.

–Sauté on medium heat in the oil, until both sides are golden brown. Keep warm in the oven. Serve with the dipping sauce. They re-heat beautifully.

Dipping sauce:

1 cup veganaise or Nayonaise
2 Tb Dijon mustard
1 Tb dill
2 Tb lemon juice

–mix well, taste, adjust the seasoning and serve chilled.


  1. linda says:

    What can I use in place of breadcrumbs? I’m allergic to wheat.

  2. Faith says:

    How about cornstarch?

  3. Jack says:

    Why do you want to call them crab cakes? That’s a real turn-off for me, a vegan. Just the thought of eating something that taste like crab is a little nauseating, and recalls to mind the eating of a real crab… ugh!

    I think we have to someday move away from the language of carnivorism and convince people that plant-based foods are appetizing in reality and in name, and not think of it as faux food, like faux crab.

    If you called them Tofu Cakes, I’d want to try them in an instant… but as Tofu Crab Cakes, my appetite vanishes in an instant. Sorry, but there’s years of associations that aren’t easily willed away.

  4. BAVeg says:

    Bread crumbs replacement – okay, I am not the chef (that is Alex) but that reminded me of a vegan potluck I attended many years ago. The recipe called for breadcrumbs which Steve didn’t have on hand. So he crushed corn flakes instead! I don’t remember what the dish was .. but I thought it was a great story and reminder of how it is fun to be creative in the kitchen.

    But I think there is also a more professional way to make bread crumbs from the whatever bread you have on hand … I’m sure it’s there on google somewhere.

  5. Disco says:

    How about Crab Fakes? ahaha! Well I’m trying this recipe tonight, so I’ll probably go with what sounds most appetizing to my seafood-loving parents.

  6. Kate says:

    I made these cakes using firm tofu. I followed directions letting them firm up 30 minutes in refrigerator. The mixture was too wet to hold together. They completely fell apart in the pan….
    Any ideas or suggestions?

  7. Tascha says:

    I too had the problem that Kate had…which ruined my lunch birthday party and caused much gnashing of teeth and arguing with spouse. I finally gave up, bought Thai food for guests of honor, and baked it meatloaf style because I wanted to get a feeling of all the flavors together. Next time I might try making it but not mixing it in the food processor. I think by hand, “meatloaf” style mixing might work better. Glad to know I’m not the lone failure on this one.

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