I love crab cakes any time of year, but especially summer. They are an easy treat to whip up and a crowd pleaser. Unfortunately, when we went gluten-free, I had a really hard time adapting my go-to crab cake recipes using gluten-free breadcrumbs. Though the crab cakes were tasty, they wouldn’t stay together in nice little patties. They would usually fall apart in the frying pan. Ugh.
Fueled by my frustration and loathing of gluten-free breadcrumbs (don’t get me started), I looked into grain-free versions of crab cakes online from my favorite Paleo cookbook authors. The Paleo approach to eating is naturally gluten-free, as there are no grains used at all. Although I don’t live an entirely Paleo lifestyle, I do like the philosophy – whole food eating focused on fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, meat/seafood, and limited to no dairy. Checking out some Paleo cookbooks is a great way to learn new techniques to cooking gluten-free foods in a healthy way.
One of my favorite cookbook authors, Paleo, gluten-free, and otherwise, is Michelle Tam of Nom Nom Paleo. Her blog and cookbook are awesome. Her crab cake recipe uses traditional crab cake ingredients (lump crab meat, egg, mayo, mustard, onions, spices) and coconut flour. Coconut flour takes some getting used to, especially in baking, but it is an excellent tool in gluten-free cooking. Coconut flour is like a sponge. It absorbs liquids easily and a little goes a long way. This is perfect for a fall-apart crab cake. The real trick is adding a little coconut flour to the outside of the crab cake to pull it together and aid in browning during frying.
My grain-free crab cake recipe is adapted from Michelle Tam’s “Paleo Krabby Patties”. I adjusted some of the ingredients to get a consistency and flavor I prefer. My family used to vacation on the Maryland shore, so any crab dish is not complete without Old Bay Seasoning. It is not easy to find here in New England, but it is available on Amazon. Just be careful adding salt because the Old Bay is already pretty salty. I also utilized one of my own tricks, found in my meatball recipe. I sauté onion and bell pepper until just softened, then add to the crab cake mixture. This creates a great flavor and consistency in the crab cake.
Feel free to add your own spices or veggies to create your own unique spin on these crab cakes. I hope you enjoy it!
- 1 lb lump crabmeat
- 2 Tbsp shallot, minced
- ½ cup bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp coconut flour
- 1 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced
- 1 large egg, beaten
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 Tbsp Old Bay Seasoning
- ½ cup additional coconut flour for dusting
- ½ cup coconut oil
- Heat olive oil over med-low heat in a frying pan and lightly cook shallot and bell pepper until just softened.
- Remove from heat and let cool for 5-10 minutes
- In a large bowl add lump crabmeat, 2 Tbsp coconut flour, parsley, egg, mayonnaise, mustard, Old Bay seasoning, and cooked shallot and bell pepper.
- Gently mix the ingredients being careful not to break up the crabmeat too much.
- Using your hands, form the mixture into 8 patties, approximately 3-4” wide and ½” thick.
- Place ½ cup of additional coconut flour in a shallow bowl.
- Lightly dredge each crab cake. Shake off or lightly wipe off any excess coconut flour so it is only a fine coating.
- Heat coconut oil over medium heat in a shallow pan or cast iron skillet.
- Fry crab cakes for a few minutes on each side or until browned.
- Place cooked crab cakes on a paper towel lined plate to cool.
- Serve immediately.