Cook This for Your Vegan on Valentine's Day

A couple of thawed veggie burgers won't induce any swoons. Instead, whip up this recipe.
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In the U.S., every major holiday has a food tie-in. Thanksgiving has the turkey, Halloween has its candy fetish, and Valentine's day has a corner table in a dimly lit restaurant with an overpriced menu. Whether you loathe or love Hallmark's heart-shaped holiday, Valentine's Day is one of the biggest restaurant days of the year.

This year, bend the trend by cooking for your valentine, which is more romantic than bumping elbows with the forlorn-looking couple sitting at the table next to you, and offers the opportunity to show off your kitchen skills. But what happens when your Valentine is vegan? Gulp. A couple of thawed veggie burgers won't induce any swoons. Instead, whip up this recipe for Heart's of Baltimore Crab Cakes, as impressive as it is delicious.

Hearts of Baltimore Crab Cakes
From The Lusty Vegan © 2014 by Zoe Eisenberg and Ayinde Howell.
Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 10 minutes | Serves 2

Garlicky Dill Aioli
1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 teaspoon minced garlic

Crab Cakes
3 tablespoons grapeseed or safflower oil, divided, plus more for frying
1 (14-ounce) can hearts of palm (not packed in sugar), roughly chopped to the consistency of crab meat
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise

1/2 cup gluten-free bread crumbs, or more
1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
Lemon wedges, to serve

1. Garlicky Dill Aïoli: Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Mix well and add salt and pepper to taste. Set in the fridge to keep cool.

2. Crab Cakes: Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the hearts of palm and sauté for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Cook until golden brown on all sides. Set aside to cool. Add the celery and peppers and mix well.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a skillet over medium-heat heat. Add the onions and sauté until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute.

4. Remove from the heat, add to the hearts of palm, and mix well. Add the Old Bay seasoning, cornstarch, and mayo.

5. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and mix well. Set aside to cool to room temperature, then shape the mixture into four round patties.

6. Breading: In a shallow bowl, combine the bread crumbs and Old Bay seasoning, stirring to mix. Coat the patties with the breadcrumb mixture and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

7. Heat about 3 tablespoons oil in a medium skillet over medium- high heat until hot and shimmering. Carefully place the patties in the skillet and cook until golden brown on each side, approximately 2 minutes per side. Watch closely to prevent burning. Transfer the cooked patties to a plate lined with paper towels to drain any excess oil. Serve hot, topped with the aïoli, with lemon wedges on the side.

This recipe has been excerpted fromThe Lusty Vegan © 2014 by Ayinde Howell and Zoe Eisenberg.

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