Monday, September 5, 2011

Meatless Monday: Zucchini "Crab" Cakes

I have a confession. Even before I was a vegetarian, I'd never had crab or lobster or any shellfish. I have a memory from my childhood of my aunt sending my mom a box of live lobsters in the mail. It really freaked me out! A decade later, I treated my friend to lunch at Red Lobster, and seeing all the lobsters crawling around in the tank made me queasy.

That said, I can't tell you if these "crab" cakes taste like the real thing. I can tell you that they're delicious. There are lots of recipes available online for zucchini "crab" cakes. Some are more simple than others. If you want more protein, you can try adding pressed tofu (I haven't done this, but I image you'd have to add more bread crumbs if you added in tofu). If you want a variety of vegetables, you can use shredded carrot or thinly sliced mushrooms. Some recipes call for panko instead of breadcrumbs. The variations are endless. The simplest vegetarian crab cake recipe I've found is from (link here).

My husband and I have made these cakes a few times. It's rare for me to be in the mood for fried food, but, when the feeling hits, these really hit the spot. The first time we made them (a year or two ago), Andrew was so excited about them that he told me he wanted to make them for his fish-loving brother.

We eat these cakes with our own variation of tartar sauce. It changes each time. I've mixed a little diced dill into Miracle Whip and used that. I've minced onion and added it to the Miracle Whip as the sauce. Usually, I just mix a little grainy mustard into Miracle Whip and serve up the "crab" cakes with that.

Finally, the nutrition information on this recipe will vary widely, depending on your frying technique and how much oil is absorbed. My nutrition information will only be a rough estimate. This dinner is low on protein, but it's very cost effective. Consider serving it with a bean salad to add some protein to the meal.

Vegetarian Zucchini "Crab" Cakes, serves 4

2 zucchinis, grated
1/4 cup onion, minced
1/4 cup celery, minced
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 teaspoons Old Bay or Chesapeake Bay seasoning
3/4 to 1-1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup vegetable oil, for frying

1. Using a clean dish towel, squeeze the grated zucchini to remove any excess moisture.

2. In a large bowl, combine the zucchini, onion, celery, egg, butter and seasoning. Stir in 3/4 cup bread crumbs. Slowly add more bread crumbs until mixture is dry enough to form into patties.

3. Shape zucchini mixture into eight patties. Dredge in flour.

4. In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat until hot. Fry patties until golden brown on both sides.

Per Serving:
Calories: Approximately 320
Protein: Approximately 6 grams
Cost: Approximately $1.25

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