Gluten Free Vegan Fish Cakes Recipe

by Carol Kicinski on June 1, 2012

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Gluten Free Vegan Fish Cakes Recipe

I am happy to report that no fish were harmed in any way in the making of this gluten free recipe! These delightful delicacies are crispy on the outside, lush and creamy on the inside and taste surprisingly like my traditional fish cakes recipe made with potato and cod but without one speck of actual fish.  Hubby thought they were crab cakes!

There were a few challenges for me in making this Gluten Free Vegan Fish Cakes recipe. For one thing, I wanted them to be soy free and most vegan fish cakes are made with tofu. I started with some mashed, canned white beans and a couple potatoes for the base of these cakes, added some grated zucchini to simulate the flake of fish and brought it all together with Vegenaise Tartar Sauce and gluten free flour. Tasty but more like a vegetable cake than a fish cake. They needed something, but what?

To get these patties tasting more like a fish cake, I used a couple of ingredients that don’t normally reside in my pantry but were not hard to come by. For the taste of the sea without fish, I used some powdered kelp, a type of seaweed that is nutritionally dense and rich in minerals including iodine, which is good for thyroid health. For some depth of flavor and to add a sort of nutty parmesan cheese like flavor, I used nutritional yeast which is loaded with vitamins and minerals and a good non-animal source of protein. I found both of these ingredients at my local health food store.

To test the success of this recipe, I gave one to my husband (a card carrying, badge wearing carnivore) and asked him to guess what it was. He suspiciously took a small bite, then a larger and yet another before he replied, mouth full, eyes gleaming with joy, “Crab cakes!” He then proceeded to demolish 4 of them.

I am equally happy to report that these gluten free vegan fish cakes surpassed my expectations – they were simple to prepare, absolutely wonderful to eat and even with the purchase of kelp and nutritional yeast, a lot less expensive than if I had made them with cod.

So what do you call a fish cake that is entirely fish free? I just called it “dinner.”

Gluten Free Recipes Vegan Fish Cakes

Gluten Free Vegan Fish Cakes Recipe


2 medium potatoes, approximately ¾ of a pound (or use 1 cup leftover mashed potatoes)
1 – 15 ounce can white beans, rinsed and drained (or use 2 cups cooked white beans)
½ cup Vegenaise Tartar Sauce plus more for serving
¼ cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon powdered kelp
1 teaspoon hot Hungarian paprika
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 large zucchini, grated (approximately 3 cups grated)
1 cup gluten free flour – use divided
Grapeseed or other vegetable oil for frying


Peel and cut the potatoes into small chunks, place in a small saucepan filled with cold, salted water. Bring to a boil and let cook until very tender – about 10 minutes. Rinse under cold water and put in a food processor with the beans, ½ cup Vegenaise Tartar Sauce, nutritional yeast, powdered kelp, paprika, salt and pepper and pulse until almost smooth. Transfer the mixture into mixing bowl. (If using leftover mashed potatoes,  just add to the food processor with the other ingredients.)

Place the grated zucchini in a clean kitchen towel (or paper towels) and squeeze out any excess liquid. Stir into the potato/bean mixture. Add ½ cup gluten free flour and stir to combine. The mixture will be soft and sticky. Put the remaining ½ cup of flour on a plate.

Pour about ¼ inch of oil into a large skillet and heat over medium heat until a little flour thrown into the pan sizzles immediately.

With wet hands shape the mixture into 8 equal sized balls, about 1/3 cup each. The balls will be soft but don’t worry, they firm up when cooked.  Roll each ball in the flour, coating well, and then flatten into a patty about 3 inches wide and ½ inch thick. Carefully add the patties to the hot oil in batches (do not over-crowd the pan) and cook for 3 – 4 minutes per side or until golden brown. Serve hot with more Vegenaise Tartar Sauce.


This Gluten Free Vegan Fish Cakes recipe serves 8

The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blog owners.  This blog accepts free manufacturers’ samples and forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation.

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Alta June 1, 2012 at 5:01 pm

Carol, you are a genius – I was like “how do you make vegan fish cakes?” (I didn’t realize there was such a thing – I would have called these bean patties or something) But WOW, they look good! Gonna have to try. :)


Carol Kicinski June 1, 2012 at 10:18 pm

Thanks Alta. I keep telling my husband I am a genius, now I am going to show him your comment as proof :)


Alisa June 1, 2012 at 6:39 pm

This is so creative Carol! I keep meaning to pick up some kelp to trial in recipes. Do you buy it in store or online?


Carol Kicinski June 1, 2012 at 10:17 pm

Thanks Alisa, I bougth it at the health food store, they had several kinds, in bulk too but I don’t trust the bulk stuff to not be contaminated with gluten.


Alisa June 2, 2012 at 12:43 am

Awesome, will look for it in stores, thanks!


Ricki June 1, 2012 at 7:04 pm

These look incredible. I’m floored!! And so, so happy to find a tofu-free vegan fish cake!! :D


Carol Kicinski June 1, 2012 at 10:20 pm

Thanks Ricki! I have been playing around with more vegan recipes lately as my son has gone vegan and he really misses fish!


Maggie June 2, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Seriously! I love these – so much love in these fish cakes Carol :) I just need to get some kelp powder and I am in!


Brain Vitamins June 10, 2012 at 1:54 pm

I don’t think I’ve ever tried fish cakes. I love crab cakes- they’re truly one of my favorite foods. So I will give this recipe a try and hopefully I like it just as much!


Adey April 11, 2013 at 2:28 am

First time I made this I used Nori flakes and needed 3 tsp or 1 tbs of seaweed. I have also made a variation of these cakes with fresh Russian seaweed (Kelp). I washed and drained it properly then doubled the nutritional yeast and added 1 tsp of flax. Also Vegan mayo plus a 1/4 tsp of capers and couple of small gherkins works well if you haven’t got Tartar Sauce. I also add 1 tsp of Dill.

If you are not ‘gluten free’ using 1/4 cup of Vital Wheat Gluten and 1/4 Semolina rather than the 1/2 cup of gluten free flour then kneading the resulting dough makes a wonderful firm texture.

You’re welcome x


Carol Kicinski April 11, 2013 at 9:03 pm

Thanks for all the tips!


Rosemarie Hoard April 24, 2015 at 7:42 am

Hello good morning time 7:37here in Cincinnati, Ohio .was thinking about making vegan fish cakes I voice command my phone. How to make fish cakes .was a maze there is a recipe for vegan fish cakes. Praise the Lord


Carol Kicinski May 27, 2015 at 10:50 am

haha Rosemarie, I’m happy I could provide you exactly what you were looking for. :)


Charmaine August 29, 2016 at 1:17 pm

I’m a vegan and your son surely is lucky to have a mom like you :)


Paco July 12, 2018 at 4:41 pm

Just finished making them and they are delicious!
We use an ice cream scooper like they use for falafels. I like mine a little more fishy next batch will add more kelp powder.


Carol Kicinski July 16, 2018 at 10:42 am

Yes, ice cream scoopers are the best! I use them to get evenly sized cookies all the time. Glad you liked the fish cakes!


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