Since changing my diet to a plant-based diet, I learned, over time, savory, delicious food can be made low fat and vegan without losing the taste or decadency. Comfort vegan food does exist, and there are ways to prepare it without adding fat or frying to make it taste good.
My family LOVES crab cakes, and more often than not, they ask for ‘Not So Crabby’ Tofu Patties for dinner. According to my husband, who always eats two, they melt in your mouth, which is a testament to how good they really are.Most of the time, I serve Crabby Tofu Patties with lemon caper sauce, or I serve them with vegan tartar sauce. Both recipes are included; you can use one or both. This time, I chose both. I also serve brown rice with this dish, because it soaks up the lemon caper sauce.
I also served with roasted asparagus, because lemon and garlic go hand in hand with asparagus. In our house, the more lemon, the better. We like it tart and flavorful.
It is important to be picky when selecting Asparagus. Organic is obviously the best choice, but the thinner the better. Thin asparagus is crispier and much tastier than thick asparagus.
Kombu is a low-sodium, fat-free sea vegetable. It is high is vitamins, minerals, and possesses a sea-like flavor. Also used as a gas reducer when added to beans and other legumes, Kombu is used to flavor seafood dishes, or tofu as in this recipe.
Dulce flakes, another type of sea vegetable, is sustainability hand-harvested. Like Kombu, it is low sodium and fat-free. It enhances the flavors of spices and the Kombu in the tofu.
Although there are a lot of steps to this recipe, the effort outweighs the work.
Tofu “crab” cakes are my family’s favorite vegan dish. These crunchy cakes pack favor and texture of a real crab cake without any of the added fat or frying. They are baked with a fabulous crunch on the outside and a soft delicate inside.
- 2 packages, drained and pressed Extra-firm tofu
- 1 cup Italian Panko Bread Crumbs
- 1/2 cup chopped Italian Parsley
- 8, chopped Green Onions
- 2 cloves, minced Garlic
- 2 sticks Kombu
- 1 Tablespoon Dulce Flakes
- 1/2 cup Low-Fat Vegenaise or Silken Tofu (or for an even lower fat version Aquafaba (chickpea fluid)
- 1/4 cup Dijon Mustard
- 3 Tablespoons Creole Seasoning
- 2 Tablespoons Lemon juice
Lemon Caper Sauce
- 2 minced Shallots
- 2 cloves, minced Garlic
- 1/4 cup Low-Fat Vegenaise or Silken Tofu ( *or 1/4 raw cashews, rinsed and drained)
- 1/4 cup Lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
- 2 Tablespoons Capers
- 1/2 cup Organic Vegetable Broth
- 2 Tablespoons Wheat Flour
Vegan Tarter Sauce
- 1/2 cup Low-Fat Vegenaise or Silken Tofu (*or 1/2 cup soaked and rinsed raw cashews)
- 1/4 cup. diced Sweet pickles
- 2 teaspoons Lemon juice
- 3 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
*If using raw cashews, rinse and drain. In a cup sized blender, add raw cashews, lemon juice, dijon mustard and 1/4 cup water. Add other ingredients.
Preparing the Tofu (No So Crab Meat)
- Using a tofu press or an alternative method of pressing/drying out tofu, press the majority of the moisture out of both blocks of tofu. Make sure you are using extra firm.
- Now, using a cheese grater, grate (yes, I said grate) the tofu. Although it is the extra firm, some will crumble as you do this; it is normal.
- Take all shredded tofu and place in a sauce pan.
- Break two sticks of Kombu into four equal pieces, push the pieces into and beneath the tofu. The pieces should be submerged, but it is okay if they are sticking out a little.
- Now, add 1 1/2 cups of water (yes, water. I know you just dried the tofu, but you need to do this in order.
Cooking the Tofu
- Bring water and tofu/kombu to a boil; once boiling, turn down to low to simmer for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure Kombu is deep into the tofu.
- Take off the heat and let it cool completely; this is extremely important. The flavor of the Kombu seeps into the tofu during the cooling process.
- Once completely cooled, remove Kombu from tofu. Make sure you get out the little pieces that may have broken off in the stirring/cooking process.Now, drain the extra water out of the tofu. I use a collander and let it sit for a while so the water runs through.
- Now, drain the excess water from the tofu by placing it in a colander; let it sit and share it a bit, so all excess water is drained.
Making the Cakes
- Pre-heat oven to 375.
- Place drained tofu in a large mixing bowl.
- Add all the other ingredients into the bowl.
- Mix thoroughly with a fork.
- Prepare a baking pan with parchment paper; I use a silicone baking mat to avoid using any extra oil or fat. (If you are concerned about fat, you may also fry them in vegan butter in a pan)
- Using your hands, or a burger press, like I did, form a ball about the size of a tennis ball. Continue to move the mixture in your hands to form the ball, and then place on the pan, pushing down to form a patty, while continuing to reform into a circle; each cake should be about an inch and a half thick.
- Cook for 35 minutes.
- While cakes are cooking, prepare your lemon caper sauce
Preparing the Lemon Caper Sauce:
- In a medium skillet, cook minced garlic and shallots together. Use a little vegetable broth if it starts to stick.
- Cook until translucent.
- In a high speed blender, add cooked shallots and garlic, veggie broth, and 2 tablespoons of flour.
- Pour into a sauce pan, and heat on medium , stirring frequently until the mixture begins to thicken.
- Turn heat down to low.
- Add vegan mayonnaise or silken tofu, and stir with a whisk until mixed well (or blended raw cashew mixture)
- Add cayenne pepper
- Add lemon juice and whisk again
- Add capers and stir well
- Taste to see if you like the flavor; we like A LOT of spice, so add more cayenne if you wish
- Continue to stir on low. If it gets too thick, add some veggie broth a little at a time to a sauce consistency.
- Keep stirring occasionally until cakes are done
Vegan Tarter Sauce
- In a bowl whisk together Vegenasie or silken tofu, Dijon mustard, lemon juice and chopped sweet pickles.
- *If using soaked raw cashews, rinse and combine with Dijon mustard, lemon juice and 1/4 cup water. Blend on high. Add chopped sweet pickles.
Optional (Serve with Asparagus)
- Wash and clean asparagus
- Cut the bottom portion, about an inch off the bottom stalk
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Line a baking pan with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
- We don’t use oil, so we rely on the water we wash with, and season with garlic and onion powder.
- Cook for 15 minutes.