Raise your hand if you love crab cakes.
Raise your hand if you think crab meat is too expensive.
Raise your hand if you want to eat something that tastes exactly like crab cakes, but is a.) healthy and b.) cheap.
I was craving crab cakes the other night. I usually order them at restaurants when I dine out at a place known for good seafood (like in Maine!) I adore the crispy fried crust and the smooth, creamy texture inside. Topped with a little cream sauce or amped up mayo and my taste buds are happy campers.
But buying fresh crab meat, or even canned crab meat, is a little out of my price range. So I thought I’d get by with making some tuna patties instead. Then I had the idea of adding chickpeas to the mix, and go figure, someone else on the internet had also already thought of this brilliant combo. I figured it would taste wonderful because I’ve made a mock tuna salad with just mashed chickpeas and mayo before. So add them together? You’ve got a mock crab cake on your plate. For pennies.
Chickpea Tuna Patties
- 2 cans tuna, drained (either white albacore or chunk light will work — I used 2 cans of chunk light)
- 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 tbsp chile garlic sauce (or other type of hot sauce such as siracha or tabasco)
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp oregano
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I used unseasoned, but seasoned will work, too)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place everything in a food processor and process until everything is well combined and sticking together. Add more breadcrumbs if it seems too wet. If you don’t have a food processor, use a potato masher to mash the chickpeas, then a large spoon to combine everything together.
- Form the mixture into 8 balls, then flatten on a cookie sheet and refrigerate for about a half hour (so they’ll firm up a bit and make them easier to handle and flip).
- Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat. Spray with nonstick spray or coat in a thin layer of olive oil. When the pan is hot, add the patties. Cook for 5 minutes, or until browned, then flip and cook an additional 5 minutes.
- Serve with a colorful array of veggies, atop a salad, or inside a burger bun with either mayo, mustard, ketchup, or all three!
My Two Cents
These are cute, delicious, affordable, and though don’t taste like your authentic restaurant style crab cakes, come pretty darn close. I chose to only cook these using nonstick spray to cut a little fat, but you could also fry them. Or deep fry them. I think baking them in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes (flipping halfway through) would also work.
Experiment with the spices and how spicy you want it. I thought these were the perfect blend, though!