By Raymond Bill
When I switched to a plant-based diet last year, I knew I would be giving up many of my favorite meals. As a seafood lover from a very young age, the thought of never enjoying fish tacos or crab cakes again was very defeating. However, I have recently been working to recreate some of these entrees through a vegan lens, and while some take more effort and creativity than others, all are achievable and delicious.
Over the holidays, I successfully prepared vegan crab cakes for my family and we loved them so much, I wanted to find a way to transform that dish into something new. The idea of Crab-Stuffed Peppers was born, and I believe this intermediate level recipe will impress even the most discerning seafood lover’s palate.
What you will need:
- 5 Medium to Large Fresh Pasilla Peppers
- 1 15oz Can Garbanzo Beans (save the liquid)
- 2 14 oz Cans Hearts of Palm (drained)
- 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
- 1 tsp Vegan Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 tsp Lemon Juice
- 1 tsp Granulated or Fresh Minced Garlic
- 2 tsp Nutritional Yeast (optional)
- ¼ Cup Vegan Mayonnaise
- ½ Cup Chopped Green Onions
- ¼ Cup Chopped Parsley (or Cilantro)
- 1 ½ tsp Old Bay Seasoning (a must-have for seafood lovers)
- 1 Cup Panko Breadcrumbs
- 2 tsp Kelp Granules or Crushed Seaweed Snacks.
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375F.
After rinsing and drying your peppers, place them directly on your gas range at a high flame to char the outside all around. Rotate for even charring. This can also be done with a brulee torch. Place in either a zip lock bag or sealed container while you prepare the filling. Once they have finished sweating, the skin will easily peel off and then you can slit them open and delicately remove the seeds without tearing the pepper apart.
Add garbanzo beans and hearts of palm together in a food processor and pulse lightly, do not puree. You want visible chunks that resemble crab meat. This can be done by hand with a potato masher or fork.
In a mixing bowl, whisk the liquid set aside from the garbanzo beans until it is foamy. Then add the vegan mayonnaise, Worcestershire, mustard, lemon juice, and all the dry ingredients.
Add to the mixing bowl, the hearts of palm/ garbanzo bean mixture and fold it in with about half a cup of breadcrumbs, green onions, crushed seaweed, and chopped parsley. This will be the stuffing for the peppers. Add Salt and Pepper as needed.
Finally, assemble your peppers on a baking sheet and spoon in the mixture. There should be enough to fill four peppers fully with one pepper remaining. Top the stuffed peppers with panko breadcrumbs and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Place in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
For a side dish, pick out your favorite rice/grain mixture (I use brown rice and quinoa) and prepare as directed. Add chopped cilantro, diced onion (I use the white parts of the green onions) fresh squeezed lime juice and the remaining pasilla pepper, diced.
This crab mixture can also be used to make crab cakes. I would just recommend storing it in the freezer for 20 minutes before shaping the patties to keep them firm. Enjoying a plant-based meal doesn’t have to be bland nor boring. Be creative, willing to think out of the box, and follow for more plant-based recipes.