Crab Cake Delight with gluten-free option

“Do not be the proverbial crab in a bucket and make war with those around you! Work together and grow! Love! Live Life!”–Marvin Gaye 

I know, I know!  Why am I writing a piece about crab cakes when I personally don’t eat meat?  Furthermore, why would I create a recipe that not only has meat, but also has “glutinous” bread crumbs, when I have celiac disease? I have several valid reasons, but the biggest of all is that I live in a world with a wide-array of taste/dietary preferences.  

Besides, I do not have the proverbial “crab mentality” that says, “If I can’t have it, you can’t have it.”  Goodness gracious, not eating meat is my personal choice; whereas, avoiding gluten is a necessity.  Regardless, my choices and restrictions do not dictate my ability to create recipes and share.  What’s more, I am already fast at work, creating my own plant-based, gluten free version of the following recipe, but I am getting ahead of myself.

Photo by Mark Stebnicki on

John, my husband, recently said to me, “You know what I’ve been craving that you haven’t made in years?  Crab cakes.”

I was delighted to make them for him, but I had to first hunt up the 20+ year old recipe.  When it wasn’t saved on my computer, I thought I was in trouble.  Nevertheless, I persisted and found my original recipe for crab cakes tucked inside an old Longaberger recipe basket, given to us as a wedding gift, nearly 34 years old.

I created this recipe when our daughter, now an adult, was a toddler, before I had decided to give up meat, and well before I knew I had celiac disease.  The recipe was now faded, yellowed with age, and full of stains from heaven-knows-what ingredients as I tend to multitask while cooking.  Looking at the neatly penned recipe, I recalled the chicken-scratched incarnations of the recipe as I originally crafted it.  Once I settled on the final variation, it was a recipe I frequently made–I even made it, a time or two, using salmon.  Then, like so many family foods, the recipe faded into the past, and it was replaced with other family meal-time favorites.

The yellowed card covered with the stains of cooking ingredients, speaks to its original creation of over 20+ years.

How was it this time?  Well, I didn’t taste them. What I can say is the cakes were super easy to make, and baked to a golden perfection, filling the house with the redolent scent of a seaside bistro. I did, however, make them with gluten-free Italian bread crumbs because I would be handling the ingredients. (Many people with celiac disease cannot touch/handle wheat products, or they break out in hives.  I typically don’t, but it wasn’t worth the risk.)  Nonetheless, John ate those crispy cakes with gusto throughout the week, often questioning why I ever stopped making them in the first place.

 Whether a person eats meat, or gluten for that matter, is a personal choice.   While I do sincerely believe that we all benefit from eating more whole plant-based foods, it is up to each individual to determine what foods are personally right for their unique body and life circumstances.  Regardless of dietary practices, I wholeheartedly believe that good food should be savored and enjoyed.  And, as a creative person who relishes the process of cobbling together new recipes, it is incredibly gratifying to see others smiling and enjoying the foods I create.

With that said, I hope you enjoy this recipe–whether for a Lenten supper or for lighter dinner fare.  Serve these crab cakes up with some grilled asparagus (as it will be coming into season soon), mango salsa, air-fried peppers and onions, rice pilaf or any number of side favorites.  The choice is yours!

Eat. Good. Food. Made. With. Love.

Steph’s No oil Crab Cakes


1 egg (or liquid egg substitute)

1/4 cup ranch dressing

2 (6 oz) cans lump crab meat drained, flaked*

4 teaspoons lemon juice (juice from about half a lemon)

½ cup Italian breadcrumbs (gluten free, if needed)

⅓ cup shredded parmesan, romano, or asiago cheese

1 teaspoon dried minced onion (can substitute ground onion powder)

¼ teaspoon ground red pepper

Directions for oven:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Beat egg lightly with a fork in a medium bowl.

Stir the remaining ingredients until mixed well.

Divide mixture into six equal portions.

Roll each portion of crab mixture into a ball, flatten into a patty, and set on parchment paper.

Repeat process, allowing an inch or two of space between each crab cake patty.

Place in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.

Directions for air fryer:

Follow directions above for mixing and dividing crab mixture.

Lightly spray the air fryer basket with cooking spray.

Set the air-fryer to 375 degrees.

Place crab cakes, three to four at a time, in an air fryer, lightly spraying the top of each with cooking spray.

Cook approximately 8 minutes on each side.

Serve immediately or keep warm until ready to serve.

Makes six cakes.

Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days, and reheated as needed. 

Leftover crab cakes make great sandwiches and/or wraps.

Stir together all ingredients into a bowl. I didn’t have have shredded parmesan on hand, so I used freshly shaved parmesan instead.
Mix well until ingredients are well-incorporated.
Divide into six approximately equal sections.
Form each section into a ball, press into a patty, and place on parchment lined paper.
Bake them up, being sure to cook on both sides, until golden brown.
Serve them with fresh lemon and your favorite side or dip! You can also use them to make sandwiches or wraps!

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