*They can also be baked in an oven at 350ºF for about 15 minutes, flipping halfway through or grilled for a few minutes on each side.
Makes 4-6 patties
In previous posts, I've mentioned that I never enjoyed eating animal products as a kid. I decided to become a vegetarian at a very young age, around 10 years old. However, I did continue eating seafood for a while longer. One of my favorite foods were crab cakes. I loved the bright flavors, lots of lemon, and crunch from the fresh veggies. In my opinion, they were the perfect blend of summer smushed into one delicious patty. For me, recreating that delicious blend was a must.
I chose to use chickpeas as my base because.. well, because I love chickpeas. I also chose them based on color. Since we are going to be adding fresh veggies, I really wanted the colors to stand out. Not to mention, when they are fried or grilled, you get a really lovely brown on the outside. To add texture to these crab cakes, I chose to use grated zucchini. It may not have the most crab-like texture, but I was focused more on flavors in this recipe. For a texture closer to crab cakes, replace the zucchini with roughly chopped artichoke hearts or hearts of palm. Another reason I chose to use zucchini is that it's a whole food and artichoke hearts or hearts of palm are most often found in cans. I'm not a fan of using canned goods too often.
For some crunch, we'll be using finely chopped celery and red bell pepper. I love the crisp, freshness of celery. I know some people hate it for the string-y texture, but chopped up and mixed into a patty like this one or a salad, it's really lovely. The red bell pepper also adds a nice crunch and a bit of sweetness. I've also included a mixture of spices reminiscent of Old Bay seasoning. I find that pre-mixed seasonings such as Old Bay or Cajun seasonings are far too salty. However, if you prefer or have it on hand, feel free to use it to taste. We've also thrown in plenty of scallions and lemon juice.
Finally, I chose to top the chickpea cakes with a scallion aioli. I have yet to perfect my vegan mayo recipe. As you can see in some of the pictures, it began to melt from the heat of the crab cakes. While I work on stabilizing my mayo recipe, I would suggest using your favorite store-bought or homemade vegan mayo and folding in scallions, a bit more lemon juice, and black pepper. Typically, crab cakes are served with mashed potatoes, but I like to keep them light. In my opinion, the mayo is enough of a creamy contrast that the side should be something fresh and simple. The first time I made these, I grilled some corn and asparagus, lightly seasoned with salt and pepper. The second time, I opted for a fresh salad. Had I thought of it earlier, I would have done something with celery root and fennel. Here's your opportunity to get creative! I would love to see what you pair these guys with and how you present them. If you instagram, be sure to tag us when you try our recipes using #cookitkind or @cookitkind.
Baltimore Style Chickpea Cakes (Gluten-Free)
Why should Caesar just get to stomp around like a giant while the rest of us try not to get smushed under his big feet? Brutus is just as cute as Caesar, right? Brutus is just as smart as Caesar, people totally like Brutus just as much as they like Caesar..
Many of you have probably realized by now that when I'm trying to emulate a nonvegan dish, I like to give it a different name, while playing off the original name. The very first thing that came to mind when thinking of 'Caesar' was the above Mean Girls quote. So, we're going with Brutus, because people will totally like this salad just as much as they like Caesar salads.
Before I get into this mean, green masterpiece I must explain why I had to stop posting for a bit. I had some issues going on at the place I was working. I was the head cake decorator and both of my assistants left in the same week. I was then left to do the work of three people, every day of the week until we had people trained to replace them. So, not only was I working every day, but I was working extra long hours. I had almost zero time to myself, but.. I have since regained some peace in my life and I'm excited to start cooking real food to share with you again.
The inspiration for this came one night while I was throwing together whatever I had in my fridge to make a quick dinner. I chopped up some tempeh and threw it in a pan and as it was cooking I realized how similar it looked to grilled chicken. That's when it dawned on me to do a Caesar salad. Even as a kid, I never ate much meat, but I was always down with a salad. I know a lot of these recipes when I'm trying to recreate a nonvegan dish, I admit to you that I've probably never even eaten the original dish, but this one I have had. Not only that, but I swear every time my family when out to eat when I was growing up, my mother got chicken Caesar salad. It was kind of funny tossing this salad together because it actually smelled a lot like nonvegan Caesar salad, which has a very distinct smell to me that is tied to the memory of my mom. First, I was entertained by the smell. Then, I tasted this salad.. mm..
We're going pretty hard in the lemon with this salad. Of course, there is lemon in the dressing, but I also chose to season my tempeh with some lemon zest and fresh cracked pepper. I cut my block into bite size pieces, then tossed with in olive oil with a bit of lemon juice, the zest, pepper, sea salt, and paprika. It smelled delicious. I let that marinade for a bit before cooking it. When I made this salad, I roasted my tempeh in the oven as I was already preheating it for the croutons. I wouldn't suggest doing this, I think the tempeh browns much more evenly in a pan and it also retains more moisture. In fact, since it is summer, if you don't want to turn your oven on at all, you can also brown your croutons in a pan.
I have to say, my favorite aspect of this salad was definitely the 'parmesan' seed cheez. I knew I wanted to avoid cashews, so I opted for sunflower seeds as my base. I threw in some hemp seeds because they have a much softer texture, nutritional yeast for the cheesy flavor, garlic and sea salt, and then a bit of olive oil to help it all clump together nicely. I put it all in my food processor, tasted a bit of it, and was overcome with joy. Seriously, this stuff tastes so amazing.. expect some tomato pies with parmesan topping in the future, because I basically want to put this on everything now. Delicious.
As for the bed of this salad, I chose to use a large head of romaine, but I also added a small bunch of chopped kale for a boost of vitamins. While I think it added a lot to the salad in terms of nutritional value and flavor, the kale is optional. If it's easier to stick with romaine, feel free! This salad will surely please your nonvegan friends. It can be served as a main dish or a side and it's the perfect guest at a dinner party with friends.
Tempeh Brutus Salad
My name is Ellen Jane and I spend my free time doing vegan experiments in my kitchen so you don't have to. Take a look around.