There were a few challenges for me in making this 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 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.
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