Jackfruit Crab Cakes from Fat Free Vegan

Last year before Vegan MoFo began, I started turning my gears, wondering what I’d do for a theme.  During my brainstorming I thought about Jeff Foxworthy’s stand-up routine around rednecks.  If you’re not familiar with it, he does a whole series of jokes about goofy, backwards things and says that if you do any of those, you might just be a redneck.  I thought about how all lifestyles involve certain idiosyncrasies.  As ideas came to me, I started jotting them down.  If you ______, you just might be a vegan.

As the idea transformed, I decided to do a silent film-style series in black and white with various unconventional ways to suss out a vegan.  As we brainstormed, my husband and I left a sheet of paper on the table for weeks, and whenever inspiration would strike, we’d jot down little notes.

(This is one of the videos from last fall.  It seems that people either really get it or they absolutely don’t.)

Well, I had reason to look for that paper the other day when Susan Voisin over at Fat Free Vegan posted her recipe for vegan crab cakes.  As I scanned the ingredient list, which includes canned jackfruit, tofu, nutritional yeast, and turmeric, I instantly thought, “Great, I have all of those things on hand.”  People, if your kitchen staples include canned jackfruit, tofu, nutritional yeast, and turmeric… You just might be a vegan.

I love vegan crab cakes.  Any excuse to use Old Bay Seasoning is a winner with me.  I like to think of those crisp little cakes as an Old Bay Seasoning delivery service.  There’s something about that bite of celery seed that comes to life in the mouth in the most satisfying way.  I’ve actually had get togethers centered around vegan crab cakes, in which guests had to figure out which cookbook author created the recipe for which cake.  That being said, while I’ve made crab cakes with zucchini, tempeh, tofu, and now jackfruit, I’ve never made them with the body of a crab…  And you know what that means.  I just might be a vegan.

Susan gives two options with the crab cakes of either using tofu or white beans.  I went with the tofu, because like I said, that’s what I had on hand.  The cakes are baked instead of fried, and have a delightful crisp crunch.  I omitted the arame, because I’m not into that flavor of the sea.  While I was making my last cake, I only had about ¼ cup of the burger mixture left, and so I made one small cake.  I actually enjoyed that cake the most, since it was pleasantly appetizer sized.  It was just a few bites, and was a bit firmer than the rest of the cakes.

For two people this makes quite a lot, and so we were eating them for a few days.  However, they reheated well, and the flavor actually improved as time passed and the flavors melded.  We definitely enjoyed them and will be making them again.  They would be an excellent choice for a dinner party appetizer or even just a casual game night.  Since the cakes bake for 40 minutes, you could slip them into the oven when guests arrive.  By the time everyone is settled in and has a drink, it would be time to serve the appetizers.

This man scooping up the last remnants of chocolate banana soft serve from the Vitamix thinks he might be vegan. How can he know for sure?

In case you’re wondering if there are any more ways to figure out if or if not you’re vegan, here are a few:

If your neighbor stops by and wants to borrow a cup of flour, and you offer up teff, rice, vital wheat gluten, all-purpose, whole wheat, whole wheat pastry, and besan, you just might be a vegan.

If your cat’s favorite treats are mushrooms, squash, asparagus, nutritional yeast, and coconut milk ice cream, you just might be a vegan.

If you have plenty to eat at potlucks because people are kind of afraid of the food you bring (even if it’s just fresh fruit or chips and salsa), you just might be a vegan.

If hummus is a delightfully appropriate food choice for dinner, lunch, snacks, and breakfast, you just might be a vegan.


  1. says

    I absolutely love your “You just might be a vegan” series. And I agree, jackfruit + tofu + nutritional yeast definitely = a vegan!

    I also love your photos. You really captured how the jackfruit makes the cakes slightly flaky. So glad you enjoyed them!

    • admin says

      Thank you, Susan! It’s quite a compliment getting a comment on my photos from you since yours are always so beautiful! My husband and I both eagerly nibbled up every crumb of the crab cakes. I look forward to making them again!

  2. says

    I discovered crab cakes and fell in love right before I went vegan 20 years ago (since then stepped back to vegetarian). I lamented missing out on them during my meat years but moved on. However, I still fondly remember those yummy little rich cakes when I see them on menus. I can’t wait to try this recipe. Thanks for reviewing it since I somehow missed it on FFV the first time around.

    • admin says

      I always have luck with Susan’s recipes. They’re fool-proof. Since you’re already a fan of the genre, I’m sure you’ll love these crab cakes!

    • admin says

      It’s good to find those subtle clues; otherwise, how would we ever know? 😉 I hope you enjoy the crab cakes!

  3. says

    I love your “You just might be a vegan” series too! Very clever (and so true!) Though I’m chagrined to say that not only do I not have canned jackfruit on hand now, I never have. In fact, I only ate my first jackfruit (in tacos) last summer – and had to go to Fort Collins, CO to do it. I fear there’s just not much (any) jackfruit to be found in northeast Wyoming! But I must hunt some down because I’ll bet it makes terrific crab cakes, and having made Susan’s delicious okara crab cakes before, I really want to try these!

    And how could anyone not think hummus is an appropriate food for all hours of the day? :-)

    • admin says

      Uh oh, now I’m worried that you actually aren’t vegan… You know, you can’t be too sure about these things! Perhaps we can use some kind of “Wyoming defense” to get you through on a technicality. :)

      I really enjoyed using jackfruit in a new way. It’s one of those foods that has so many different and unusual possibilities. It’s fun to play with them.

      I agree entirely on your feelings regarding hummus. When in doubt, choose hummus.

      • says

        I definitely need the “Wyoming Defense” when it comes to my paucity of jackfruit, but would it help to convince you of my genuine, card-carrying veganness if I told you I have jicama in my fridge and buy my nooch in bulk?! :-)

  4. says

    Hilarious post! I love it.

    I like the “potluck” version of you might be a vegan if….except at our church potlucks it’s more like there’s nothing to eat EXCEPT what we brought.

    • admin says

      Thanks, Pixie! I know what you mean about having only the food you brought to eat at some group functions. It’s always a lovely and thoughtful gesture when others bring something that everyone can enjoy. However, like you I’ve packed a full meal for myself and husband many times!

      Good call on the green smoothies! We definitely love our green drinks! Another one would be if you use cashews for snacking, for sauces, for spreadable cheeses, and for drinks… you just might be a vegan.

  5. Cecilia says

    I know I’m not Vegan, but I need to try this Jackfruit! What’s this???? Something I have not tried before and now I must quest for it! (Hey, try anything once or twice, right?) :)

    • admin says

      It’s always fun to try something new. Why not? :) Jackfruit grows in Asia, and you can buy it elsewhere in cans. For this recipe (and other savory recipes like it), you’ll want to look for canned Young Jackfruit that’s in water or brine, not syrup. (If you get the syrup one, it’s very sweet and used in desserts.) After you open the can, it’s important to wash the jackfruit thoroughly to get rid of any “can flavor” that’s left on it. Then it can be shredded apart by just pulling at it with your fingers.

      The first time I ever tried jackfruit, it was at the (now defunct) Pure Luck in LA. They made a stellar jackfruit carnitas burrito you might enjoy trying. Here’s a link to the recipe: http://cleangreensimple.com/2011/06/jackfruit-carnitas/

    • admin says

      Thanks, Richa! Yes, you’re definitely vegan! Any dog who has been introduced to roasted seaweed and besan crackers must live with a vegan. :) I look forward to hearing what you and your husband think of the crab cakes!

  6. Leah says

    “If hummus is a delightfully appropriate food choice for dinner, lunch, snacks, and breakfast, you just might be a vegan.” Or a Toby!! I love the short film : ) And this recipe sounds intriguing & delish.

    • admin says

      I suppose I should put some kind of asterisk next to that. “You’ve got yourself a vegan!*”

      *Or there’s a small percentage of chance that you’re Toby. If so, could I offer you a foot stool with removable top that you may enjoy?

      I think you’d like this recipe, Leah, especially since you’re an adventurous cook. Jackfruit has so many possibilities. It’s fun to explore them.

  7. says

    I love your “You Might Be Vegan” series- the videos always kill me! These look pretty amazing. I’ve never had real crab cakes or vegan crab cakes before so I’m looking forward to trying these. And yes, hummus is a delightful choice at any time of the day (or added to whatever else you’re eating). I suppose I’m vegan… :-)

  8. Anonymous says

    I love hummus! People at work call me the Chickpea Queen and people from all over my office send me chickpea recipes all the time!
    Where do you find jackfruit? It’s the one food I’ve wanted to use in recipes and I can’t find it.

    • admin says

      I like your nickname, Chickpea Queen. I can definitely relate! They sell jackfruit in the Asian section of my regular grocery store. I’ve also been able to find it pretty consistently at any Indian or Asian grocery store.

  9. says

    I loved your video series last year! Susan’s recipes always appeal to me and I bookmarked this one just the other day. I’ll definitely be giving them a try soon but I’ll be skipping the flavour of the sea too as fishy flavours don’t appeal to me either. I have all of these ingredients in the pantry so I must be a vegan…

    • admin says

      Thanks, Mel! I’ll look forward to reading your experience with Susan’s jackfruit crab cakes. I’ve found her recipes to be consistently good. That’s too funny that you have all of the ingredients in the pantry as well. I’ve had my suspicions for a while that you were vegan, and this seals the deal.

  10. says

    i am always looking for a good vehicle for Old Bay Seasoning, too. These look great, thanks so much for posting. Love your series “you just might be vegan … ” I think I spied a Vitamix in one of your pics … you might be vegan!

  11. says

    Yup, I most definitely am a pic-snapping, hummus loving vegan! I enjoyed the little video and can’t wait to check more out. I’ve also been wanting to try the crab cake recipe from Fat Free Vegan, it looks great!

    • Cadry says

      You’re in good company! It sounds like there’s a healthy contingent here. :) Definitely check out the jackfruit crab cakes when you get a chance. They’re a tastebud pleaser!

  12. says

    I love the you might be vegan if… (I had hummus for lunch today with carrots and pretzel chips.) Anyway, I ended up here by searching for vegan jackfruit recipes. We tried it the first time last night (pulled jackfruit bbq sandwiches) and will be posting about it soon. The crab cakes look like another interesting recipe to try!

    • says

      That’s great, Jody! Jackfruit is so perfect for barbecue sandwiches. I’ve also used it several times for carnitas, and the texture really works there. I look forward to reading your post about it!

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