Give Crab Cakes A Vegan Spin With Lion's Mane Mushrooms

lion's mane crab cakes with vegan tartar sauce
lion's mane crab cakes with vegan tartar sauce - Miriam Hahn/Tasting Table

Vegans and vegetarians are well aware of the rich umami powers and meaty textures that mushrooms bring. They're often used as substitutes for burgers, ground meat in chili, or even marinated and fried like bacon. While portabella, button, and shiitake mushrooms are the standard types used to substitute beef and pork, lion's mane mushrooms are the perfect shellfish substitute to use in vegan crab cakes.

Lion's mane mushrooms come in large bulbous masses with visible fibers that become chewy and tender when cooked. Their flavor is mild and sweet with delicate umami notes. However, unlike the earthy umami of a portabella mushroom, lion's mane mushrooms have an oceanic, fishy flavor. Furthermore, their fibrous and meaty flesh is perfect for shredding into scraps, similar to lump crab meat.

Their crab-like flavor and texture will provide a vegan spin on crab cakes that could fool any seafood lover, especially once blended into a creamy, multi-ingredient crab cake batter. While they might not be as ubiquitous as button mushrooms or standard white mushrooms, you can find lion's mane mushrooms packaged and sold in the produce section of higher-end grocery stores. If you're lucky enough to have a farmer's market in your vicinity, most mushroom vendors will have the freshest stock. For the mushroom-obsessed, you can also find lion's mane mushroom grow kits that'll provide a never-ending personal supply.

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Vegan Crab Cake Ingredients And Tips

lion's mane mushrooms on black plate
lion's mane mushrooms on black plate - JADE Zhang/Shutterstock

As veganism becomes more mainstream, it's getting easier and easier to find all the dairy, egg, and fish sauce substitutes you need to make vegan crab cakes that taste, feel, and cook the same as their non-vegan counterparts. Tasting Table's vegan crab cakes from recipe developer Miriam Hahn reveals that mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, and even panko bread crumbs come in vegan varieties. Vegan mayonnaise will come in handy for a long list of classic crab cake sauces, from remoulade to tartar.

Hahn goes above and beyond by adding nutritional yeast and dulse for a salty and savory enhancement that mimics the flavor of parmesan cheese and bacon respectively. If you can't find dulse, you can add crushed nori to enhance the oceanic flavor of the lion's mane. While panko bread crumbs are delightfully light and buttery, corn meal is another wonderful option for a more substantial texture and earthy savoriness. Since cornmeal is a common additive for breading and frying in the South, you could create vegan crab cakes with Southern flair by adding cayenne pepper and Cajun seasoning to the batter.

To ensure that your crab cakes don't fall apart when you fry them, flax meal is a good egg substitute and an effective binding agent. Furthermore, placing the crab cake mounds in the fridge for half an hour will firm them and help them hold their form in the frying pan or oven.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.