Zucchini “Mock Crab” Cakes

We all know my vegetarian heart weeps for the seafood I do not eat.  There are a lot of good meat substitutes out there (fake hamburger, bacon, sausage, chicken strips, and hot dogs to name a few) but there just isn’t a seafood stand-in.  The best cure for the seafood-sick heart seems to lie in substitutions rather than swaps.  For example, instead of a fake tuna sandwich, you replace the tuna with chickpeas.

And instead of fake crab cakes, you replace the crab meat with shredded zucchini and carry on.  I know it sounds doubtful, but the combination of traditional seasonings and the texture of zucchini really do create a resulting dish that looks and tastes a lot like crab cakes. 

Along with a side salad and some tartar sauce for dipping, you’ve got a light, flavorful supper perfect for summer.

This post was inspired by the whale watch I went on last weekend with my family.  Also, please note that I decided to cut off most of my hair.  Welcome back, 2001 Aimee.

Zucchini “Mock Crab” Cakes
Adapted from The Washington Post

2 medium zucchini (2 cups when shredded)
1 cup bread crumbs (Panko work best)
1 egg, beaten
1 Tbsp. mayonnaise
1 1/2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped


  • Coarsely grate the zucchini and place in a colander over a bowl.  Sprinkle with a few shakes of salt, and allow the zucchini to drain for 30 minutes.  Press the zucchini down to remove excess water, and pat dry with paper towels.  It should be damp, but not dripping.  Discard the water.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together zucchini and breadcrumbs.  In a small bowl, mix together egg, mayonnaise, Old Bay, mustard, lemon juice, and parsley.  Add egg mixture to zucchini mixture and combine.
  • Using an ice cream scoop, place portions of the mixture in your hands and form into a ball.  Press down lightly on the ball to form a cake.  Using the scoop will ensure that all of your cakes are equal size, so they will cook at the same speed.  Place the cakes on a piece of parchment paper until ready to cook.
  • In a non-stick skillet over medium-low heat, splash some olive oil, then gently transfer the cakes to the skillet using a spatula.  Turn the cakes after a few moments, then turn again, until they are golden brown and crispy.
  • Serve while hot with tartar sauce, lemon wedges, and a side salad.

Yield: 6-8 cakes.

Note:  Any cakes that you don’t cook right away can be stored in the fridge for up to 24 hours.  I just wrapped the parchment paper up around the extras and kept them in the fridge until ready to use.

Print Version

14 thoughts on “Zucchini “Mock Crab” Cakes

  1. Anonymous says:

    My garden is producing approximately one zucchini per minute. I’m always grateful to find another tasty option for using up some of the bounty…

  2. kellie@foodtoglow says:

    I have recently made these with a very similar recipe of my mother’s, and it was delicious. At this time of year the average gardener is knee high in courgettes/zucchinis so this is a perfect way for vegans and omnivores alike to sensibly use these mild vegetables. Gotta have the Old Bay though. I always buy a few tins when I am in the States visiting my Dad, with a few as ‘gifts’ for foodie friends. Thanks for reminding us of this simple and yummy recipe.

  3. Bonne B says:

    I’m from Virginia where we’re raised crabbing in the summer with a string, a chicken neck and a big wire net on the end of a stick. I’ve been making these for years and its amazing that people will argue with me that there is actually crab or “sea leg” meat in these! I’ve been complemented on getting all the shell out before! HA!

  4. Anonymous says:

    We have made it a couple of weeks ago and are going to make it again.! Absolutely delicious recipe.I have not changed anything.Thank you so much for this simple and nutricious dish.

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