All this cookie excitement made me almost forget that Vegan Brunch will be out in just a few weeks! I’m going to share a few recipes with you over the next month and maybe even a video if I can get it together. I know today is Saturday but maybe you’ve got enough time to procure the ingredients in time for Sunday for one of my favorite brunch appetizers, Chesapeake Tempeh Cakes.
Chesapeake Tempeh Cakes
I love the succulent little pieces of tempeh you get when biting into this crisp, flavorful cake. Crab cakes are the inspiration here. I used to spend lots of time in Baltimore and back then pollution in the Chesapeake Bay was a big issue. I think it’s doing much better now and these cakes are a tribute to it. Update: Came to find the Bay is actually doing worse. All the more reason to eat tempeh instead of crabbies!
Make ahead: Make the entire mixture and the remoulade the night before. In the morning, form into cakes and pan fry.
For the cakes:
8 ounces tempeh (use the nori tempeh if you can find it, but plain soy tempeh is fine, too)
1 cup water
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons Vegenaisse
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard (stone ground Dijon works, too)
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 cup very finely chopped red bell pepper
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspooon salt
fresh black pepper
1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs, plus extra for dredging
Optional: 1 finely chopped nori sheet or 1 tablespoon kelp granules (if you like a little fishiness)
Oil for pan frying
For the remoulade:
2 tablespoons Vegenaise
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard (stone ground dijon works, too)
1 tablespoon hot sauce
2 teaspoons capers (try not to get too much brine)
Lemon wedges for serving
First we’re going to steam the tempeh to get the bitterness out and also to infuse some flavor with the soy sauce. Crumble the tempeh into a saucier or small pan in little bits. Add the water, soy sauce, oil and bay leaf. The tempeh won’t be fully submerged, but that’s fine. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, let boil for 12 to 15 minutes, until most of the water has evaporated. Stir once during boiling.
Transfer contents to a mixing bowl, remove bay leaf, and mash with a fork. Let cool for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to hasten the cooling process. Make sure the tempeh is barely warm before you proceed, or the cakes may fall apart when you cook them. Add the mayo, mustard, hot sauce, vinegar, chopped bell pepper, spices salt and pepper, and mix well. Add the bread crumbs and nori and use your hands to incorporate.
Once you are ready to form the cakes, preheat a thin layer of oil in a heavy bottomed non-stick skillet (cast iron is great) over medium heat. Pour a few tablespoons of panko into a bowl. Scoop a little less than 1/4 cup batter into your hands and form into a ball. Flatten between your palms and then roll the sides gently with your hands cupped to smooth them. You should have ten 2 1/2 to 3- inch patties. I do them in batches of five. Press them into the panko to lightly coat. They don’t need to be thoroughly covered, just a little bit for some texture.
Fry a batch of five cakes for 4 minutes on one side and flip when dark golden brown. Fry for 2 minutes on the other side and transfer to a paper towel or paper bag to drain. Do your second batch and in the meantime make your remoulade by mixing all the ingredients together in a bowl.
Serve with lemon wedges.
Made these for Easter brunch today and they were DELICIOUS! I was a bit worried that they wouldn’t hold together during frying, so I added some extra vegenaise and then ended up baking them anyway. I did 20 minutes at 375, flipping once after around 11-12 minutes. Then to crisp the outside turned the broiler on to 475 and broiled each side for a couple minutes. Fantastic! My husband loved them too!
is there an alternative for veganaise?
i abhor it’s “miracle whip-ness” sooo much… but really want to make this recipe!!! any info is appreciated.
not even sure if anybody will see this because of how old this post is, but… like almost everyone else that commented here, these are one of my favorite recipes of all time. I’ve made them a ton, but I ALWAYS run into the problem of them falling apart when I go to fry them. I’ve tried a lot of variations, but nothing seems to work- has anyone else had this problem? and found a solution? the seriously crumbly ones are delicious, but I’d love to figure out why they always fall apart when I go to fry them.
These were super yummy–made them out of my Vegan Brunch cookbook. I fried them, since I was craving that heavy crab-cake goodness. I was so excited for leftover, but the power went out and the ice in my makeshift cooler-fridge melted and made them a soggy mess. So sad. I’ll have to make these again!
Making these tonight – my wife and I became vegan recently and she is originally from around the Chesapeake bay so hopefully she likes them! I boughyt ordinary tempeh with the intention of adding a few sheets of nori to the mixture, though I’m not too sure how many to use.
Can I use tobasco for the hot sauce?
Thanks for providing a newbie vegan with some incredible recipes!
I am SO excited to try these tonight! My mother used to make Tuna Cakes which were absolutely divine…but now that I’ve been eating vegan, I’ve been missing them terribly! I am utterly excited!!!
Earlier today I decided I HAD to make these….they looked amazing, they seemed a better alternative to just simple baked tempeh, and they reminded me of my mother’s tuna cakes that were so tasty when I was a kid. Earlier today I was so very very very SUPER excited about this meal. Like jumping up and down like a child excited.
I made these Tempeh Cakes with a side of mashed potatoes and Isa’s mushroom gravy. The ONLY changes I made to the Tempeh Cakes were A: I didn’t add any Nori or fishy tastes and B: I used sweet bread and butter pickles diced instead of the capers in the remoulade and C: I baked them with a bit of oil at 375 for around 20 minutes or so.
THESE came out absolutely wonderfully mind blowingly amazing!!!! I cannot state how absolutely divine these are!! Crispy, meaty, savory and filling. Definitely an ALL TIME favorite and I will be making these regularly and sharing them with all my friends and family!
Is there a substitute for Vegenaise? Obviously I don’t do mayo, and I can’t do Vegenaise. It makes my skin crawl!
These were to die for! Followed the recipe and they were better than regular crab cakes! Paired with the New England Blam Chowder from Sexy Vegan, it was phenomenal!
these are soooooo good. thank you!
It would be great if you added the nutritional values.
i have no idea what crab cakes are supposed to taste like, but holy shit these are amazing! i can’t get them in my face fast enough! also i imagine the remoulade would be great with EVERYTHING.
First time I’ve eaten tempeh and enjoyed it! I would recommend this to others who are not that fond of tempeh. I added Old Bay to the second batch, grabbed some whole grun buns, arugula and tomato and made tempeh cake sandwiches. I know it was a lot of carbs but they were great!
Now I have to try and brave a seitan recipe. I’ve been making the Irish Stew recipe from Apetite for Reduction and subbing TVP for the seitan and love it. Any suggestions for a seitan trial?
I’m so glad this is here! I bought a few of these at a local natural foods store. 3 for five bucks!!! I paid less for this whole batch. And they are delicious!!! I added old bay instead of some of the seasonings.
These were absolutely divine! Curious if you have ever tried to baked them as an alternative option?
OMG these were so good hubby and I ate the whole batch for dinner! He developed a shellfish allergy several years ago and always says he misses crab cakes. This is a *fantastic* replacement – the chopped up nori gave it the perfect seafood flavor. Thanks!!! I will definitely be making these again 🙂
These were delicious but crumbled really badly! My first 6 just started to fall apart in the pan as they heated up, like they were exploding or something. So for the next 6 I added a little more vegenaise and some water and didn’t dredge them in bread crumbs before frying, and they held up nicely. Once you try to eat them, though, they sort of crumble on your plate still. lol I used onion instead of bell pepper and blended my own bread crumbs from some left over dried sour dough cubes. OH and when boiling the tempeh, it only took about 6 minutes for all the water to evaporate.
I was a tempeh hater – well…I hated tempeh I had cooked, it tasted sour and disgusting. But on various forums this was a pretty universally reccommended recipe.
I’m so glad I finally tried it! Steaming the temph really did remove the foul flavour, and the mashing is a great way to introduce the texture.
I baked these, because I try to reduce the amount of oil I use – I also used Plamil garlic mayo as Veganaise isn’t widely available in the UK.
My partner, who last ate fish in 2009, commented on the ‘fishy’ taste of the mixture (sans nori!) I have no real memory of fish so couldn’t verify/deny haha!
Served with a rainbow stir fry, roasted tomatoes and a nice vegan Merlot 🙂
These were mind-blowing! They taste exactly like crab cakes from what I can remember, and my flexitarian parents thought so, too. I served it with the remoulade but also whipped up some vegan tartar sauce and the combo was superb. I also tried baking a few of them, following the recommendation from a person in the comments below to bake at 375 for 10 minutes, flip them, and bake for another 10. I put them under the broiler for a few minutes and they were crisp and delicious. They’re great pan fried, too, and I’d recommend trying them both ways to see which one you like better. I thought I’d never have crab cakes again and I used to love them before I was vegan, so thank you so much Isa for creating this amazing recipe!
These were truly exceptional! Tempeh can be a hard sell around here but the genius marriage of ginger with oregano made it almost undetectable, even to the most suspicious palate!
I cannot wait to cook these for my clients.
I just made these this morning and they are absolutely fabulous. My new favorite way with Tempeh. Sauce is delicious as well. Thank you.
If I hadn’t made these myself I wouldn’t believe they were the real deal but they are! I’ve had a few crab cakes since I moved to Maryland several years ago and I bet I could serve these at a local restaurant and no one would no the difference. We sprinkled some old Bay on the remoulade for extra kick, it could be put in the mix too.
My husband decided to go vegan last week for health reasons and recipes like this make the transition easy. Thank you!