Under the Sea, the Vegan Way

For many vegetarians, the hardest meat items to eliminate from their diets are the American classics: juicy hamburgers, Philly cheese-steaks, or pepperoni pizza. When I transitioned to a meat-free diet nearly six years ago, however, I had the most trouble letting go of my beloved tuna salad sandwiches. Rather than deprive myself of that fishy flavor completely, I’ve developed a pretty tasty mock tuna salad that seems to feed my fishy cravings. I’ve also expanded my mock seafood repertoire over the years to include foods that I admittedly never ate prior to my lifestyle change. Accordingly, these concoctions inspired by the sea may not be entirely authentic in flavor, but they make for delicious meals, nonetheless.

Mock Tuna Salad

(Serves 1)


  • 0.5 c cooked chickpeas/garbanzos
  • 1-2 T vegan mayonnaise (such as Nasoya brand)
  • 1 t Dijon mustard
  • 0.5 t kelp granules
  • 1 stalk celery, diced (optional)
  • 1 T sweet relish (optional)


1. In a small bowl, combine chickpeas, mayonnaise, mustard, and kelp granules. Mash the chickpeas until it reaches a chunky paste in consistency.

2. Stir in remaining ingredients (if using) and enjoy.

Serving suggestions: Spread on whole wheat bread with lettuce and tomato, or place on whole wheat toast and top with cheese for a mock tuna melt.

Mock Maryland Crab Cakes

Adapted from DeliciousTV.com; original recipe also appears in the Totally Vegetarian cookbook

(Serves 3-4)


  • ½ c. celery
  • ½ c. minced yellow onion
  • 1/3 c. minced carrot
  • ½ of a small green pepper, minced
  • ¼ c. chopped parsley
  • ½ t. neutral oil (canola or grapeseed)
  • 16 oz. firm tofu, pressed and dry
  • 1 sheet Nori seaweed, chopped
  • ½ c. vegan mayonnaise
  • 5 slices whole wheat bread toasted and processed into crumbs
  • 1 T. Old Bay seasoning
  • 2 t. dry mustard
  • 1 t. salt
  • 2-3 Weetabix biscuits, processed into a powder
  • Cooking spray


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a lightly oiled skillet, sauté celery, onion, carrot, pepper, and parsley until the vegetables are softened but firm. Set them aside.

3. Process tofu in food processor until it has a cottage cheese consistency, but do not purée.

4. In a bowl, combine the processed tofu, vegetables, half of the whole wheat bread crumbs, mayo, seaweed, and seasonings and mix everything well. If the mixture seems too wet and isn’t holding together, add the remaining toasted crumbs a little at a time until you have a mixture that is moist and easy to shape into patties. Usually I use the entire amount of toasted crumbs, however depending on how dry the tofu is, you may need less.

5. Form about 10 half-inch thick patties, using about 1/3 cup of mixture for each. Coat each patty with Weetabix crumbs.

6. Place the patties on an oiled, seasoned (or nonstick) baking sheet. Spray each patty lightly with cooking spray and bake about 15 minutes. Then, gently turn the patties and continue baking until toasty brown.

Serving suggestion: I like to serve these with tzatziki sauce!

Tofu Fish Sticks

(Serves 1)


  • 6 oz firm tofu, patted dry and sliced into sticks
  • 2 T Dijon mustard
  • 1 t agave nectar
  • 1 Weetabix biscuit, processed into crumbs
  • 1 t kelp granules
  • Ketchup or BBQ sauce, for dipping


1. Preheat oven to 420 degrees.

2. Combine mustard and agave. Coat tofu sticks with a thick, even layer of the mustard-agave mixture.

3.Combine Weetabix crumbs and kelp granules.  Pour crumbs on a plate. Dredge mustard-coated tofu sticks in crumbs until evenly covered.

4. Place sticks on a baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray.

5. Bake sticks until brown and crispy, approximately 25 minutes.

10 Responses to “Under the Sea, the Vegan Way”

  1. vegetarian crab cakes are genius. you’ve really outdone yourself now girl

    hows the treadmill boy!?

  2. Such great ideas! I eat fish, but I would try these anyway. As a Marylander, I approve of the crab cakes and Old Bay!

  3. Haha, cute post title 😀

  4. Yum! Thanks for these recipes. I’ve been loving fake meat recently but noticing they don’t make much immitation fish(and since I’m not actually a vegetarian I then resort to the real stuff)

  5. great recipes, thanks for sharing!
    i love tuna and crab, mock versions of course 🙂

  6. That mock tuna sandwich sounds classic!! I’ve never even had fish before….but will have to try that little diddy once home!!! I bet apples could also be a fun addition, no?! 🙂

  7. i’m a meat eater but all those alternatives look yummy!

  8. Nice to see a recipe for the mock crab cakes, Whole Foods has them at their prepared food section and we love it here, I have to try making it myself now!

  9. The Mock Crab Cakes look awesome! I love the ones made at Whole Foods and have been scouring the net for their recipe. Yours look pretty close. How do they compare? Looking forward to trying your recipe. Thanks!

  10. Just went to Whole Foods last night and gave their mock crab cakes to my carnivorous family. They loved them! They are willing to try all my new efforts at vegan fare.

    BUT I can’t afford to buy my very large family crab cakes…now I have found your recipe and I can’t wait to try them!


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