Vegan No-Crab Mini Crab Cakes Recipe Plus Plant-Based Eating Tips for Success

If you read my post about my whole food plant-based diet that I have been following for the past year and have written to me wanting to know more, then this post is for you.

When I posted about my weight-loss success, I had no idea so many of you would be interested.

So on Fridays, the day of the week when things start to wind down online for the weekend, I will post about how I made the changes in my diet work for me.

I will plan on posting a winning recipe – as I have tested, experimented and tried many and some are just not very tasty. Other weeks, I will answer the questions I receive or share new findings and doable ways to live a more healthier life.

Plus I would like to hear your tips and tricks and will share these so other readers will benefit.

Whole Food Plant Based no oil vegan crabless mini crab cakes on a plate ready to be eaten

For this post, I am sharing my top 3 WFPB success tips and a winning recipe for WFPB no-oil, Crabless Mini Maryland Crab Cakes that I recently made.

When Ed and I sat down to eat these mini crabless crab cakes, after the first bite, at the same time, both of us said… this is good! :-) We knew it was a keeper recipe that would make it into my recipe box.

Not only were they delicious, but it was easy to make a big batch of them to freeze so I would have a few meals ready to go for another night. This is one of the things I had to learn to do.

3 Things I Did to Have WFPB, No-Oil Diet Success

I had to change the way I did a lot of things. Instead of learning to do everything at once, I took my time so the changes I was making wouldn’t feel overwhelming or unattainable.

I am proof that change does work when you take your time and figure out what works for you. For instance, some WFPB eaters don’t use tahini since it is a fat, but I add it when the recipe calls for it, only I half the amount. This works for me… you have to become a test subject to find what works and tastes best for you.

Salad and bean sprouts on white plate.

1. I Had to Re-Think What a Meal Looks Like

One of the most successful things I did to follow the WFPB, no-oil way of eating and stick with it was rethinking what a meal looks like.

For me, breakfast use to mean milk and cereal, toast, oatmeal or eggs. Lunch a lunchmeat sandwich, and dinner a meat, starch, veggie and a sweet dessert.

When eating WFPB, you have to rethink this mindset. Why not have a salad for breakfast? Standard breakfast, lunch and dinner fare is just a notion – what has become the norm. But it doesn’t have to be your norm.

For me, what a meal consists of has been an ongoing process of learning to appreciate vegetables, beans, legumes and whole grains in completely different ways and for every meal. I am always searching for new recipes online, at the bookstore and my local library.

My focus has shifted away from ingrained patterns and preconceptions about what a meal should be like; it is no longer meat based, but instead every meal evolves around veggies in all colors of the rainbow.

2. I Learned to Batch Cook

When preparing whole foods that require you to cook from scratch, it takes time. I had to learn to lessen my time in the kitchen by learning how to batch cook and bake.

Flattening banana oatmeal cookies on baking sheet with a fork

I now schedule one morning a week for batch cooking. It takes planning to gather recipes and shop for all the food you will need, but once you get the hang of doing it, it makes life so much easier, especially when 5 o’clock rolls around and you ask yourself, “What’s for dinner?” and you don’t feel like cooking.

Just head to the freezer and pull out something that you batched prepared.

3. I Set Up My Kitchen to Feel Like a Chic Bistro

Another thing I did to be successful was to find ways to make my WFPB, no oil journey interesting and that would be, for the lack of a better term, elegant.

I didn’t want granola crunchy style, but rather one of simple elegance, like I was eating at a chic bistro every night. If you have watched The Lost Kitchen from The Magnolia Network that is on Discovery+, then you know what I mean. :-)

Plant Based no oil vegan crabless mini crab cakes on a plate ready to be eaten

When I make dinner, I enjoy a glass of wine, put on one of my favorite Spotify playlists and have learned to enjoy the process of making a meal.

When it is time to serve it up or as they say in bistro language – plate it. I try to make my food look delicious on the plate by adding a sprinkle of herbs or spices. Nothing fancy, but simple healthy fare served in style.

A Winning WFPB Recipe: No-Crab Mini Crab Cakes

These plant-based crab cakes are loaded with that Maryland crab cake flavor, deliver that texture that makes a crab cake, and are easy to whip up for a meal, side dish, or appetizer. No crab claws needed to make them, only frozen artichokes that I buy at Trader Joes.

Plant Based no oil vegan crabless mini crab cakes on a plate ready to be eaten

I made the recipe into mini crab cakes, but you can make the patties any size you want.

Vegan WFPB No Oil: No-Crab Mini Crab Cakes

When you eat a whole food plant based diet with no oil, fish or meat and miss the flavor of eating a Maryland style crab cake, this recipe is for you.
Course: Appetizer, Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: American
Keyword: artichokes, crab cakes, plant based, vegan, whole food
Servings: 4


  • Nonstick skillet


  • 2 cups artichoke hearts thawed frozen works better than canned – I buy them at Trader Joes
  • 1 – 1/2 cups loosely packed and cooked brown rice
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed and chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon white miso I buy it at the health food store or Whole Foods
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning add more to taste
  • 1 medium clove garlic
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp salt this is optional since the Old Bay Seasoning has salt in it


  • In a blender or food processor, add the artichoke hearts, brown rice, nutritional yeast, sunflower seeds, parsley, miso, Dijon mustard, Old Bay Seasoning, garlic, black pepper and vinegar. Puree to mix ingredients but don't over blend. You want the mix to have texture and be a bit lumpy.
  • Once the mix is coming together, add the oats and pulse a few times to mix them in.
  • Refrigerate for one hour.
  • After chilling, scoop out the mixture to form patties using your hands. About 1/2 cup for a burger size. A 1/4 cup for a sliders.
  • To cook: Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Wait for it to get hot and spritz with water. Add the patties and cook 5 – 7 minutes on the first side and then flip and cook the second side until it is golden. Keep spritzing with water if they begin to stick.
  • Serve as an appetizer with sugar-free ketsup or the fixings of your choice.


I chose to cook with no oil, but these can be pan-fried with oil if you use oil.
You can also bake them in a 400 degree oven for about 8 minutes for burgers, then flip and bake another 8 minutes.  If making mini crab cakes, bake for about 5 minutes on each side until they turn golden brown. 

What to Serve With No-Crab Mini Crab Cakes

If making the crab cakes for a dinner you can make them into burger size patties and serve with roasted herbed veggies or potatoes, and a salad with a no-oil dressing. When roasting veggies and potatoes I found a drizzle of the liquid in a can of chickpeas called Aquafaba makes a good replacement for oil to give them a crispy texture. Just look for chickpeas will less sodium. So far the brand with the lowest that I have found is Furmano’s in the yellow can.

For lunch, make a crab cake sandwich: Place on a toasted whole wheat bun and pile on a tomato, shredded purple cabbage or lettuce and slices of avocado.

If you have any questions or would like me to post more winning recipes or lifestyle topics just let me know in the comments.

If you missed it: Link to My Plant Based Weight Loss Success Story.

A plate on a table filled with Vegan mini crab cakes/

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  1. Let me begin by saying this: I understand these are crab-less……no crab….nada….none. They look delicious and I would love to try them, however I can not stand the taste of seafood or anything with a “fishy” smell or taste. Since I have never used a crab boil product, I’m wondering if I could eat this without having the automatic response to regurgitate it. Sorry, that’s the nicest way I could explain my body ‘s response to seafood. So, how does this particular recipe mimic an actual crabcake without the taste of the crab? Is it just the lumpy texture and traditional seasonings? I hope someone can help me with this! And, as much as I can not stand seafood, I am an absolute die-hard carnivore! My body craves meat protein. I can see me adjusting to some of this way of eating but I don’t believe I could give up meat. I love most all vegetables so that isn’t a problem. Any suggestions?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Sharon – The faux crab cakes don’t taste like fish at all, but do have the same texture and seasonings. Some of the vegan recipes do use Dulse flakes to give it a fishy taste, but I don’t like the taste of it at all.

      Old Bay Seasoning is the best seasoning for just about anything. It is not a fishy taste and has no fish ingredients in it. Only Celery Salt (Salt, Celery Seed), Spices (Including Red Pepper and Black Pepper), and Paprika. If you have ever visited the Baltimore Inner Harbor area where there is a McCormick spice plant the air smells like Old Bay Seasoning. :-) So good! I like to use it on pasta and potatoes, but it was invented to season fish.

      1. Diane! Thank you so much for your explanation, I really want to try this so next week when I go to the store I will get the crab boil! I have everything else so I will be good to go! Thank you again😍

  2. Dianne made your crab cake recipe
    From Savannah and we make crab cakes from crabs we catch
    Checked my 92 year old neighbors family recipe and added some of her spices
    Bell Pepper
    Poultry Seasoning
    Worstershire sauce

    Excellent thanks for sharing.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Barbara – Sounds good. I love any seasoning when it as Poultry seasoning in it. :-) Thanks for sharing.

  3. Isabelle Smith says:

    Thanks for the recipe! I will do this for my husband. He really likes crab cakes. Thanks a lot!

  4. Thanks for the recipe. I will make it for dinner tomorrow. I have come across some real dud recipes lately. Thanks so much for continuing to post on this topic.

  5. Thank you for pointing out how important it is to take your time and finding your comfort level. Important with so many things in life-food, exercise. I think I’ve made a similar recipe using chickpeas (garbanzo beans), instead of artichokes. I am going to give these a try because I LOVE artichokes. I watched a youtube video on aquafaba. The video showed how you whip up the aquafaba, like whipping cream (it is used in Indian cooking). It worked but the flavor is BLAAAAH! A substitute food I love is using pale-colored sweet potatoes as cream cheese frosting I do not use anywhere near the maple syrup amount in the recipe. Interesting how the less (sugar, salt, etc) we use the more our taste buds are able to detect.

  6. This looks amazing! Any chance you will be adding nutritional information to your recipes?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Rebecca – Good idea. I do use a recipe app for my blog and will learn how to add the nutritional info and add it from now on.

  7. christine wilson says:

    I love this wealth of info! The artichoke sub for crab is such a great idea, I’ll be making them..I made the no bake energy balls..delish!
    Ever since my breast cancer diagnosis 1 year ago, I’ve “cleaned up” my eating even more. For me, there’s always room for improvement towards good health. I’ve been very focused on cruciferous greens, right now I can’t get enough of roasted brussel sprouts. My love of baking was always focused on using healthy flours, flax seed, less sugar, etc., but now even more so. I’m not sure if I will stop, but I do less baking for sure.
    “Eat Pretty Every Day” by Jolene Hart is an excellent resource with simple recipes and other advice such as clean beauty.
    I am now taking pre and probiotics and my gut is thanking me. Olipop drinks are delicious for prebiotics. I’ve also been making my own sauerkraut in a lovely crock my daughter had made for me for some probiotics. Also I take supplements since I don’t want kraut every day, ha ha!
    Speaking of supplements, I hope women take vitamin D if not exposed to enough daily sun. It’s a great immunity enchancer ( Many women diagnosed with bc are low in D as I was).
    Reading about your journey and tips helps educate, motivate and re-enforce better, healthier lives . These posts are helpful in keeping us committed to the new habits, out with the old ones.
    You are inspiring and beautiful! Thanks Diane😁💛

  8. I am about as far from a plant based eater as you can get…but your recipe sounds like one I’d eat. I actually like all the ingredients! I thought for sure onion would feature heavily (which I don’t like) but was so pleasantly surprised! I will definitely be trying this recipe!

    I would love to hear tips on batch cooking in your Friday posts too! When do you like to freeze that particular recipe (before/after cooking) and how do you take it from the freezer and to the table? I’m sure it seems basic to a batch cooking pro, but it’s very overwhelming to me. I like the idea of batch cooking, but get bogged down in these questions and never follow through. I will be checking out the links you included in this post too.

    I appreciate you sharing your gained knowledge with us. I’ve seen similar topics on other blogs/websites but you make it seem achievable and “grounded” somehow. Not an excited fan waving their hands in your face, but a quiet success just sharing what you learned. Thanks. :)

  9. I also learned that herbs and spices are your best friends. I use them by the handful. Also, it takes time for our corrupted taste buds to get back to normal. It took me two months to not crave salt, but now if I eat something salty, it tastes briney to me.

  10. When we started eating this way over three years ago, I had the same problem. What is the center of the meal. Learned that all kinds of potatoes can be the center, or whole grains or brown rice. We are so brainwashed that carbs are bad for you, when it is exactly the opposite if we stick to WHOLE grains and potatoes without fat (or grease) like Dr Goldhammer likes to call it. Dr. klaper always says that we are starch burning machines. It is what God created us to burn as fuel. Brand New Vegan is a good website for simple recipes, Chef AJ, Nutmeg Notebook, eat plant-based are good. Forks Over Knives, Nutrition Facts .Org, Colin T. Campbell, Jane and Anne Esselstyn, have excellent websites and hundreds of recipes. The list goes on and on. Just remember this is whole food plant based, NOT vegan. Vegans eat lots of fake foods and junk food, and tons of oil. I love to cook once and eat at least twice or three times, that way I only cook a couple of times a week. The longer you eat this way, the easier it becomes and the healthier you will be.

    1. Susanne Marie Luchetti says:

      Hi Pam,
      Your comment: “Just remember this is whole food plant based, NOT vegan. Vegans eat lots of fake foods and junk food, and tons of oil” prompted me to clarify as there is already way too much nutrition information out there already. All of the above wonderful people you mention are vegan. Yes, there are many processed plant based foods to choose from but many vegans stay with whole foods.
      So a better way to present your style of eating is Whole food Vegan. I am happy to see so many people open to healthy eating.
      Here are the nutrition textbook definitions of the following terms.
      Vegan diet- An eating pattern that excludes all animal-derived foods including meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products.
      Whole foods – Fresh foods such as vegetables, whole grains, legumes, fruits, seafood, meats, poultry, eggs, nuts, seeds, milk that are unprocessed or minimally processed.
      Minimally processed foods can provide an abundant safe, convenient and nutritious product. Examples of minimally processed foods include frozen vegetables, unsweetened fruit juices, whole grain breads (they go thru a ‘process’ to make them).

  11. This recipe sounds delicious! I will look forward to your Friday posts on PBWF in addition to all your other inspiring posts. You really do it all! And so elegantly too!

  12. I, too, love the posts about your journey with PBWF food. I have tried it and like it, but, boy, it is a lot of work. And you need access to good grocery stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, which I don’t have.
    I look forward to future posts about this.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Joy – Eating plant based foods does require planning and time, but it does get easier once you get in the groove. I have to travel 45 minutes to get to a Whole Foods and Trader Joes. I wish they were closer, but I am finding almost everything I need at a local health food store and even Walmart. :-)

      Enjoy your weekend.

    2. Actually you can shop at Walmart and eat this way. In fact, Aldi’s food stores have the only oil free marinara sauce that I know of. All stores have produce, rice, whole wheat spaghetti, frozen veggies, dried and canned beans etc.

      1. Oh, yes. I shop at Aldis, etc. But, as mentioned in the recipe, I won’t find frozen artichokes at Walmart. I can’t even get organic strawberries at my local Walmart. That why I do shop at Aldis.

  13. Good Friday morning~
    HOW happy am I that you are doing this!!! Finishing up week 2 of IF with WW.. and doing OK………..
    Still working on mason jars and re decorating the inside of my REF!

    Love the idea of these crab cakes and LOVE the photo of the salad!

    warmly, patti

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Patti – That is great to hear. It does take some effort in the beginning, but trust me, it gets much easier. Same with getting your fridge organized. The salad picture in the post is something I eat everyday. I make an oil-free dressing that is better than an oil based dressing. I love adding crunchy sprouts to it to… extra yum. If you didn’t see the salad dressing recipe link, it is in my weight loss success post, but I will also be adding it to my site under the Plant Based Living category. Happy Weekend!

  14. Am so grateful that you are adding WFPB tips every FR to your blog. I will look forward even more to receiving your updates.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Nancy – :-) Thanks – I love having a place to share everything that is working for me and open up a reader discussion so we can all help each other.