Vegan Crab Cakes (Happy Hearts “Crab” Cakes) from Sweet Potato Soul

By Jessica Hylton - - Updated

These Vegan Crab Cakes are crunchy on the outside, moist on the inside and pleased our entire family! With the perfect crust, texture and flavours, you’ve got to try them! It’s from Jenné Claiborne’s cookbook Sweet Potato Soul!

Top down view of vegan crab cakes on a plate with salad on the side.

What comes to your mind when you think of crab cakes? Great crust, flaky on the inside. Moist but still firm enough. Tender and of course, reminiscent of the sea. You definitely get that with these amazing Vegan Crab Cakes! This recipe is from my amazing friend Jenné from Sweet Potato Soul‘s Cookbook:  Sweet Potato Soul: 100 Easy Vegan Recipes for the Southern Flavors of Smoke, Sugar, Spice, and Soul.

When I say that this girl throws DOWN in the kitchen with her recipes! I’m not Southern, but these recipes make me feel like I could’ve grown up there. I learnt so much from her book – the history, her family stories, and of course, all those amazing recipes! I’m talking things from Spicy Fried Cauliflower “Chicken” (that are fried and look DIVINE), to Bourbon BBQ Tempeh Sandwiches to Oyster Mushroom Étouffée (I tried this – it’s divine!) to even dessert like Date Rice Pudding (which I’ve also tried). OH, and I already got to taste a bunch of these recipes so I KNOW they are 100% legit.

Vegan crab cakes, topped with sauce on a plate with salad on the side.

Back in February I attended Jenné’s Book Launch in California (who can see my 5 star review on the website). It was a total blast, I met some amazing woman and the food was fantastic. Like, Sweet Jesus Mac and Cheese fantastic. It was the first time we met in person, so it feels even more incredible to be reviewing yet another recipe from her cookbook.

Top down view of a cook book on a table.

So, these vegan crab cakes. Jenné describes them as Happy Hearts “Crab” Cakes in her cookbook, and for good reason. One, these will make you happy, for sure. Two they’re made with hearts of palm and chickpea for that texture, which is so perfect! She goes into great detail in the recipe for how to make these vegan crab cakes, so be sure to check it out and definitely give it a try.

Look at that photo friends, can you see that flakiness?! These vegan crab cakes plus her Roasted Red Pepper Aioli sauce really takes this meal over the top. I added raw kale in these photos, but the second time I ate them I had kale chips which added a beautiful textural element, so definitely try those. Arugula is my favourite kind of greens, so I can’t wait to get some fresh to try with this!

Top down view vegan crab cakes next to an open cook book.

I hope you enjoy friends! All of her recipes are vegan as stated above, so you can make anything from this cookbook. It’ll give you a real soulful experience from a true Southern girl, with a true gift for veganising the phenomenal recipes she grew up with.


Montage of vegan crab cakes with title text.
Top down view of vegan crab cakes on a plate with salad on the side.

Vegan Crab Cakes (Happy Hearts “Crab” Cakes) from Sweet Potato Soul

These Vegan Crab Cakes are crunchy on the outside, moist on the inside and pleased our entire family! 
by: Jessica in the Kitchen
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American
  • 2 14-ounce cans hearts of palm, drained and chopped into large pieces
  • 1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas see page 125 or 1 (15-ounce) can, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs plus ½ cup for coating
  • ¼ cup vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 jalapeño pepper seeded and rinsed
  • 1 ½ tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon ume plum vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 6 tablespoons grapeseed canola, or safflower oil


  • Place the hearts of palm and chickpeas in a food processor and pulse to combine and mash. Don’t overprices it; you still want some “crabby” texture.
  • Scrape the hearts of palm mixture into a large bowl and add the 1 cup panko, vegan mayonnaise, jalapeño, Old Bay seasoning, vinegar, and mustard. Stir well to combine.
  • Line a large plate with paper towels and keep nearby.
  • In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Place the ½ cup panko in a shallow dish. Form the “crab” mixture into 2 inch-wide patties, making sure to pack the mixture tightly, and then coat them in the panko in the shallow dish. Place the patties in the skillet (do not overcrowd) and pan-fry for 3 minutes on each side. Transfer the patties to the prepared plate. Repeat with the remaining mixture.
  • Serve with a dollop of Red Pepper Aioli (page 209) and fresh greens.
This recipe is from Jenné Clairborne’s Cookbook  Sweet Potato Soul: 100 Easy Vegan Recipes for the Southern Flavors of Smoke, Sugar, Spice, and Soul and printed strictly with one of


Calories: 224kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 165mg | Potassium: 1268mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 76IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 2mg
by Jessica

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Recipe Rating


  1. Amanda Allen says:

    This is one of my favorite recipes from her cookbook! Love to see other chefs/bloggers support each other. You ladies are amazing!

    • Jessica says:

      Aww thanks so much Amanda!! It’s such a good recipe, right?! Thank you for your kind words!!

  2. email login says:

    The crab cake looks so great! The book sounds cool, too, there are 100 recipes to try! Thank you for sharing!

  3. vivian says:

    I made these for supper tonight and they were delicious. In fact, they were even better than expected. I made roasted red pepper aioli to go with them and it was a good combination. Tartar sauce would be good as well. I may try these in tiny form as an appetizer. Thanks for posting this recipe!

    • Jessica says:

      Hi Vivian,

      That’s amazing to hear!! You can use this vegan tartar sauce:

      Thanks so much for your comment Vivian, and you’re so welcome!!

      • Shea says:

        5 stars
        This was really good! I made mine in the air fryer. Cooked on 400 for five minutes. Flipped it and spritzed it with a little oil. Then cooked on the other side for another 5 minutes. Delicious!

        • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

          Awesome Shea! Using it in your air fryer sounds like a great idea. Thank you for leaving such a nice comment.

  4. Daniella says:

    Oh my gosh this was so delicious!! I served it on a bed of arugula and topped with chives and some lemon juice and it was phenomenal. I’ll definitely be making this again. Thanks Jessica!

  5. Jessica says:

    5 stars
    So good that my non-veggie/non-vegan other half LOVED them! Thanks for sharing this recipe.

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Awesome Jessica! We’re so happy to hear this.

  6. Anna says:

    5 stars
    I made this and salad tonight and my boyfriend who “doesn’t like vegetarian food” liked these! I will definitely make them again. I did not make the red pepper aioli because I had a lot of cilantro so I made aioli with that and they were great. I think they would be good with any other side – soup or another vegetable or on rolls for a sandwich. Can’t wait to make them again!

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Oh wow so happy that you and your boyfriend liked this Anna! Thanks so much for the positive review.

  7. Cait says:

    5 stars
    Such a cool idea! I used artichoke hearts as a substitute because I couldn’t find hearts of palm. Thanks for sharing this!

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      You are so welcome Cait. We’re just happy that you like it!

  8. Priscilla says:

    5 stars
    I made these to add a vegan option to a family meal where fish was being served (my family is still non vegan) and these were a hit!! My sister made sure I sent her the recipe after 🙂 I’ve made these again since, and they’re sooo easy! I will be making these often!

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Oh wow thanks so much for this amazing review Priscilla! We’re so happy that you and your family enjoyed it.

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