Is it Gross? Vegan Taste Test: Gardein Crabless Cakes

After my last forray into vegetarian fish products you might think I’d be scared off for good, but no Toona will decide my fate. Also, Gardein is my favorite and most trusted brand of vegan alternatives. I’ve never been truly disgusted by any of their products, and when it comes to vegan food that’s quite the compliment.

These crabless cakes are a newer Gardein offering and I’ve been eyeing them since they first appeared at my terrible grocery store. I adore fish in general, but I also feel like replicating it poses the biggest challenge and provides the most potential for catastrophe. Crab cakes are a nice option because you can hide any weirdness with the breading. Still, I will be judging these like I would a potential life partner: what’s on the inside is just as important as what’s on outside.

Let’s check out the ingredients.

Gardein crabless cakes
Who decides which wheat gluten is vital and which isn’t?

Upon opening the bag I was hit with a very strong waft of processed fish scent. I immediately became unnerved, mentally travelling back to my time with the toona. Could these crabless cakes be just as bad? Will I again have to spit into my garbage again? Do I force myself to eat vegan fish because of a subconscious fish-related trauma I’m dealing with??

After a few minutes of thinking about Rihanna I calmed down and was ready to proceed. Here is the frozen mini crab cake.

Gardein crabless cakes
This got me thinking about fish Popsicles for far too long

As per the instructions I sauteed mine in oil for about 6-7 minutes.

Gardein crabless cakes
These crab cakes are like Kate Gosselin in 2009: overexposed

After some frying the outside layer got crispy and golden. I took them off the heat and put them on a paper towel to blot off the excess oil. Then I was ready to dive in.

Gardein crabless cakes

I broke into the cake with my fork. The breading made a satisfying crunching sound while the inside was very soft.

Gardein crabless cakes

The fake crab look pretty legitimate, especially if you do not Google image crab cakes right this moment. There are flecks of red pepper and green onion which I think is standard, but any crab cake connoisseurs (CCCs) can correct me on that.

Gardein crabless cakes
My bitten and bloody cuticles are what really get the boys goin’

I took my first bite of this crabless cake and the center was still slightly cold. This is my fault and definitely unappealing. My expert advice is to cook these all the way through, as you should most things. Once I got past the chilly party I found myself really enjoying these tiny cakes. The breading is spot-on, crispy and rich. The inside texture is fairly crabby, but the strong fish scent did not, thankfully, translate to the taste. Like many vegan imitations there was something very slightly off, but I can’t pinpoint what.

These crab cakes feel like a treat to me, good for a special occasion. I mean, they are breaded and fried, and those are things that healthy people make a big deal about limiting, right? Also they aren’t very filling, especially because my unresolved issues with vegan fish prevented me from eating more than three. I likely will not be repurchasing, but if you are a hardcore vegetarian looking for a crab cake fix, give the Gardein crabless cakes a try.

Gardein crabless cakes
Notice the white smudge, because what completes a vegan meal better than mayonnaise?

In summation: It’s not gross.


An hour after eating these I kept burping up the fish scent. #sexappeal

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