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Vegetarian Crab-Less Cakes

Vegetarian Crab-Less Cakes recipe
Southern Girl Meets Vegetarian Boy

Chef notes

Masarepa mix (dehydrated cooked cornmeal) is absolutely key in this recipe. When reconstituted with water or broth to make dough, it holds its shape beautifully, which is great for making interesting and easy croquette-style dishes. It works especially well for crab-less cakes because the flavor is subtle and doesn't overpower the hearts of palm.

Swap option: Make this recipe completely plant-based by replacing the mayonnaise with vegan mayonnaise or vegetable oil in the cakes. For the sauce, replace the mayonnaise with vegan mayonnaise, and the cheese with 3 tablespoons tahini and 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice. The cooking times and steps remain the same.


  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons grated horseradish
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Crab-less cake
  • 1 14-ounce can hearts of palm, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon blackened seafood seasoning
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1 rib celery, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup masarepa (dehydrated cooked cornmeal)
  • 1 cup hot water
  • Vegetable oil, for pan-frying


For the sauce:

In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, cheese, horseradish, basil and garlic powder. Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper.

For the crab-less cakes:

In a large bowl, combine the hearts of palm, seafood seasoning, onion, celery, parsley, mayonnaise and mustard. Stir and then add the masarepa. Stir again to combine all the ingredients and then pour the hot water over the mixture. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Use a 1-ounce scoop to divide the mixture. Form each scoop into a 2- to 3-inch disk. Heat 2 to 3 tablespoons oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the cakes and sear on one side for 6 to 7 minutes, until golden brown and crispy. Flip the cakes and cook for another 6 to 7 minutes on the other side.

To serve:

Top each crab-less cake with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the sauce and serve immediately.