Meet your new favorite recipe. Lion’s Mane Crab Cakes! These Lion’s Mane Crab Cakes are incredibly delicious with a texture unbelievably similar to the real thing. Each bite is heaven: crispy edges, tender meaty and moist center, and so much flavor. It’s worth seeking out Lion’s Mane mushrooms to make this delicious entree. Keep reading for highlights, tips, and the full recipe!
Lion’s Mane Crab Cakes Are
- Easy-to-make and require no special equipment
- Kid-friendly (a great way to get your child to eat nutritious mushrooms)
- Perfect for impressing friends at a dinner party
- Simple enough to enjoy as any weeknight meal
Why Lion’s Mane Works
Lion’s Mane mushrooms are so hot right now! When cooked, these fluffy white mushrooms are meaty and juicy, reminiscent of lean meat like shellfish or chicken (depending on the cooking method). For these Lion’s Mane Crab Cakes you’ll shred the soft mushrooms to create a flaky crab like texture. Pan frying these vegan crab cakes will concentrate and caramelize their delicate flavor and texture. You won’t believe how similar these taste to real crab cakes, thanks to the Lion’s Mane mushrooms.
Lion’s Mane mushrooms contain powerful antioxidant compounds and help support your immune system. They are also reported to help support a healthy nervous system.
The Star Ingredients
Lion’s Mane Mushrooms: I go into detail about why these mushrooms work so well above. Lion’s Mane mushrooms can be a little difficult to find, however. Look for them at your local Asian or International grocery store, or buy them at the farmers market from a local grower. If you cannot find Lion’s Mane at a market, consider growing your own at home using a mushroom kit, like this one. Lion’s Mane is apparently very easy to grow at home, and takes just a few weeks to fully fruit.
Old Bay Seasoning: The star seasoning in any crab cake recipe is Old Bay. Made with celery seeds, paprika, and other special ingredients, this spice blend will make your vegan crab cakes taste like the real thing. Use the original Old Bay for this recipe. But keep in mind, it contains quite a lot of salt. If you are cutting back on sodium, try the salt-free version and salt to taste. Look for it at any mainstream grocery store, Costco, or online ($4.43).
Dulse Seaweed: When you want something to taste like the ocean, use seaweed. This iodine rich ingredient has a very briny flavor. Use dulse flakes for this recipe, not the thick sheets. Look for dulse at any health food store, or find it online ($8.40).
Ume Plum Vinegar: For even more brine and saltiness, use ume plum vinegar. This unique vinegar is made in Japan from umeboshi plums and shiso leaves. It’s super salty, yet with fruity undertones. It’s the absolute best vinegar for any kind of vegan seafood recipe thanks to its briny flavor. Look for it at your local health food store, or online ($4.40).
How to make Lion’s Mane Crab Cakes
I love a recipe that is easy to make AND tastes like something you’d get at the best of restaurants. These vegan crab cakes fit the bill!
- Shred the Lion’s Mane Mushrooms. This is the first step in prepping the mushrooms for your crab cakes. Shredded Lion’s Mane mushrooms will taste like crab meat when seasoned and cooked, and they will hold together with the other ingredients to make the cakes. Use your hands to break the mushroom into small pieces. You can use a fork as well, but the mushrooms shouldn’t be overly shredded. See the photo below for an example. Transfer shredded mushrooms to a large bowl.
- Add panko breadcrumbs, vegan mayonnaise, dijon mustard, and the other ingredients (save the oil) to the shredded mushroom. Stir well with a wooden spoon. Make sure that all of the ingredients are equally distributed throughout the batter. Use your hands to insure this.
- Form the batter into 6 patties. We’re not using eggs or flax egg for this, so use your hands to tightly pack so that the crab cakes will successfully hold together while cooking. Patties should be no more than 1/2 inch thick to insure that they completely cook through.
- Make sure the oil is hot before adding cakes to the pan. To test, drop a tiny bit of batter into the oil. It should sizzle immediately. If the oil is not hot enough, your cakes will get soggy.
- Cook the Lion’s Mane crab cakes on medium-high heat. Cook each side for 5 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy on each side. Transfer the fried crab cakes to a plate lined with 2 sheets of paper towel to catch excess oil.
- Serve with red pepper aioli, lemon wedges, fresh parsley or dill. These crab cakes are delicious over greens, or on a sandwich, Maryland style 🙂
Tips for making the best crab cakes
- When making the batter: The mixture should hold together in the palm of your hand. If it doesn’t add 2 tablespoons more panko, or place the batter in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to firm before cooking.
- How to form patties: Your crab cakesshould be no more than 1/2 inch thick to insure that they completely cook through.
- No soggy crab cakes: Add no more than 4 cakes to cook at a time, depending on the size of your pan. Be sure not to over pack the pan, because this could lead to soggy crab cakes too.
- Use Veganaise vegan mayo to make these crab cakes. For most recipes it doesn’t matter what vegan mayo you use, but this one requires the thickest mayonnaise, and Veganaise is my favorite.
- I admit, Lion’s Mane Mushrooms can be difficult to find at the store. If you’re having a hard time, but still want vegan crab cakes, try this recipe!
- Ume plum vinegar doesn’t have a perfect substitution. No other vinegar has this briny and slightly fruity flavor. However, if you don’t have any, use apple cider vinegar.
- If you don’t have dulse flakes use shredded nori. If you have sheets of nori, use scissors to shred them as small as possible. Or you can totally skip seaweed. Sure, the crab cakes won’t be as crabby, but they’ll still be delicious.
- Panko breadcrumbs can be replaced with crushed saltine crackers. However, regular bread crumbs are not a suitable substitution.
How to reheat Lion’s Mane crab cakes
Don’t reheat these Lion’s Mane crab cakes in the microwave. They will get soggy and loose their crisp. For best results reheat the crab cakes in a toaster oven at 350° for 10 minutes. Or reheat in an air fryer for 10 at 350°.
Can I freeze vegan crab cakes?
Yes, you can freeze these crab cakes. Fry them, allow them too cool completely on a plate lined with paper towel. Transfer the crab cakes to a baking sheet or freezer safe container lined with parchment paper, and freeze completely. Once frozen transfer them to a freezer safe container or freezer bag. Pan fry to reheat, or reheat them in the air fryer or toaster oven.
Try these other seafood inspired recipes
Lion's Mane Crab Cakes
- 2 Lion's Mane mushrooms 2 1/2 c, hand shredded into small pieces
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp Panko breadcrumbs or crushed saltine crackers
- 1/2 cup vegan Mayo
- 1 tbsp Old Bay use less if using saltine crumbs
- 1/2 jalapeño pepper seeded and minced
- 2 tbsp fresh dill minced
- 1 tsp dulse flakes
- 1 tsp ume vinegar
- Add the shredded Lion’s Mane mushrooms to a large mixing bowl.
- Add the panko, vegan mayo, Old Bay, jalapeño peppers, dill, pulse, and Ume vinegar. Stir well to thoroughly mix.
- Heat 1 cup of avocado or olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Test the oil by adding a tiny speck of the batter to make sure it is hot before adding the crab cakes.
- Add 3-4 cakes to the hot oil (depending on the size of your pan), and cook each side for 5 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy.
- Transfer cooked crab cakes to a plate lined with 2 sheets of paper towel to catch excess oil.
- Repeat with the remaining batter.
- Serve the crab cakes hot with red pepper aioli.