If you love crab cakes but have been looking for a vegetarian version, these lion's mane crab cakes are an excellent option. With the right texture and a hearty cajun flavor, you can make vegetarian crab cakes at home, using lion’s mane mushrooms to replace the crab.
What Is Lion’s Mane?
Lion's mane (Hericium erinaceus) is a giant, shaggy mushroom native to Europe, Asia, and North America. This adaptogenic mushroom has many health benefits, including the potential to prevent and treat diabetes. Their texture is meaty and full, and their flavor resembles seafood, which is why they’re also the perfect replacement for crab and lobster.
What Are the Benefits of Taking Lion’s Mane?
Lion’s mane is one of the healthiest mushrooms you can consume. Research on lion’s mane health benefits indicates that this fungus has the potential to relieve symptoms of depression, improve memory, and aid in overall brain health.
Some of the health benefits of lion’s mane include:
- alleviates oxidative stress and reduces inflammation
- improves memory and slows down the progression of dementia and Alzheimer's disease
- reduces symptoms of depression, anxiety, and ADHD
- slows down the progression of cancer via cancer cell apoptosis
- aids in weight loss and weight management
- aids in diabetes prevention and treatment
Does Lion’s Mane Have Side Effects?
There are no long-term side effects of lion’s mane. If you’re not used to adaptogenic mushrooms, you may experience slight digestive discomfort when you first start taking lion’s mane, but this should pass in a few hours.
However, lion’s mane can interact with some medications that produce blood-thinning effects. Since lion’s mane also has blood-thinning properties, it’s best to consult with a healthcare professional before taking this fungus if you are on blood thinners.
How to Make Lion's Mane Crab Cakes
Before you start, make sure that you have all the ingredients you need for this lion’s mane recipe. Read through the entire recipe before starting to ensure that you know what you are doing and how long each step will take. Here is how to make the best lion's mane crab cakes.
Ingredients for the crab cakes:
- 12 ounces shredded lion's mane mushrooms
- One lemon
- One large egg
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- Two tablespoons of mayonnaise
- Two teaspoons of dijon mustard
- One teaspoon of old bay seasoning
- ¼ cup sliced green onion
- ½ red bell pepper, finely diced
- Two tablespoons of finely chopped parsley
- 1 ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ½ teaspoon sriracha or hot sauce
- Salt and black pepper
Ingredients for tartar sauce:
- ¼ cup Greek yogurt
- Two tablespoons of mayonnaise
- ½ teaspoon old bay seasoning
- Juice and zest of ½ lemon
- Salt and pepper
Prep times: 10 minutes for the crab cakes and 5 minutes for the tartar sauce
Cooking time: 10 minutes
- Hand shredding the lion’s mane mushrooms gives them the best texture for crab cakes. You can also chop them, but they won't have the recognizable crab meat texture.
- Cut and zest the lemon. Save the zest and the juice.
- Whisk together the egg, mayonnaise, bread crumbs, mustard, seasonings, green onion, red pepper, lemon zest, and juice in a large bowl.
- Gently mix the mushrooms into the bowl.
- Once everything is mixed well, form the mixture into equal-sized patties (around an inch thick if you have 6).
- Place the patties on a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate for at least thirty minutes.
- While the mushroom cakes are chilling, mix all the ingredients for the tartar sauce. Juice and zest the half-lemon and mix that in.
- Set aside the tartar sauce, and store it in the fridge for up to a week.
- Preheat the air fryer to 400℉.
- Spray the inside of the air fryer with cooking spray (another cooking method is to fry them in a skillet over medium-high heat with olive oil).
- Place the patties next to each other in the air fryer (only as many as fit comfortably). Do not stack the cakes.
- Spray the patties with cooking spray and set the air fryer to cook.
- Cook the lion's mane patties for 8 minutes, or until they are browned and crispy, flipping halfway through.
- Place the patties on a serving platter and drizzle with the yogurt sauce. Squeeze a fresh lemon over the top for extra flavor.
- If you want to, garnish with fresh parsley and serve with lemon wedges.
Tips for Perfect Crab Cakes
This lion’s mane mushroom recipe for crab cakes is worth every minute of preparation. Despite the multiple steps, it's straightforward to put together and create delicious vegetarian crab cakes. To make these cakes as good as they can possibly be, follow these tips:
- Form the crab cakes tightly enough that they stick together on their own. This way, they don't fall apart in the air fryer.
- Use Japanese-style panko instead of traditional breadcrumbs. Panko will help the cakes form without drying them out.
- When you shred your mushrooms, aim for small, shredded pieces. This works better than chopped mushrooms to create a crab-like texture.
- Refrigerate the crab cakes for at least 30 minutes, but you can keep them in the fridge overnight (covered) if you need to.
- You can store the yogurt sauce in the refrigerator for up to a week in an airtight container.
- Don't wash the mushrooms; clean them with a damp paper towel. Running them under water will damage the flesh.
Other Popular Lion’s Mane Mushroom Recipes to Try
When it comes to lion’s mane mushroom recipes, crab cakes are by far the most popular. However, there are plenty of other ways to experiment with cooking lion’s mane. Some amazing recipes you can try include lion’s mane lobster rolls, crab rangoon, pasta, and a delicious lion’s mane crab dip.
Lion’s Mane Crab Rangoon
Lion’s mane is a popular choice of crab alternative in vegan crab rangoon recipes. Fortunately, lion’s mane crab rangoon is easy to make, especially if you’ve already experimented with other types of rangoon.
Lion’s Mane Crab Dip
If you’re looking for a vegan alternative to crab dip, you won’t be disappointed with lion’s mane. When it comes to making lion’s mane crab dip taste delicious, one thing to keep in mind is to drain the excess water from the mushrooms. Salt the lion’s mane and allow the mushrooms to sweat out some of the moisture. That way, they’ll absorb more flavor.
Lion’s Mane Lobster Rolls
Lobster rolls made with lion’s mane taste surprisingly delicious, especially when paired with a flavorful remoulade sauce. You can add the lion’s mane lobster rolls to a sandwich, a buddha bowl, or eat it with a healthy serving of vegetables such as butternut squash, eggplant, or broccoli.
Lion’s Mane Pasta
Lion’s mane is a great addition to any vegan or vegetarian pasta dish. It adds protein to an otherwise carb-heavy meal and makes paste dishes more complete. If you’re new to cooking lion’s mane mushrooms, a lion’s mane pasta recipe can be a great one to start with.
Substitutions and Common Questions
While this recipe is delicious and healthy, it uses several ingredients that may be hard to find. If you're looking for vegan crab cakes or a vegetarian crab cake with a more accessible mushroom that tastes like crab, here are some substitutions you can make to perfect your personal lion’s mane mushroom crab cake recipe.
How Do I Make Lion’s Mane Crab Cakes Vegan?
These lion’s mane mushroom crab cakes are naturally vegetarian but utilize dairy for the yogurt sauce and the cakes themselves. You can easily make this recipe vegan by using flax egg and vegan mayonnaise. With these ingredients, the cakes will be totally vegan.
You can omit the yogurt sauce or use vegan mayo and dairy-free yogurt (we recommend plain coconut or cashew yogurt).
How Do I Make This Recipe Without an Air Fryer?
If you don't have an air fryer, pan fried crab cakes taste just as well. Heat up some olive oil and fry the patties for about eight minutes, four minutes on each side, until golden brown and cooked throughout. Be very careful around the hot oil, and always use long tongs to pick up the cakes.
It's also possible to bake the mushroom crab cakes, but they won't get the same texture on the outside. If you are looking for a healthy alternative to an air fryer, you can use a toaster, convection, or standard oven for baking your crab cakes at 400℉.
How Do I Make Gluten-Free Lion’s Mane Crab Cakes?
Although this lion’s mane crab cake recipe is vegetarian, it's not naturally gluten-free. To make gluten-free lion’s mane crab cakes, swap out the panko crumbs for gluten-free panko crumbs. You'll be able to mix them in the same way and use every other ingredient regularly.
How Do I Make Mushroom Crab Cakes With Different Mushrooms?
Although lion's mane mushrooms are the best option for crab cakes because of their texture and meatiness, you can use other mushrooms with a similar effect. They won't taste quite the same, but regular mushrooms should simply be shredded and mixed in gently in the same way.
We recommend using portobello mushrooms or lobster mushrooms if you can't find lion's mane mushrooms.
Can You Freeze Lion’s Mane Crab Cakes?
Yes, you can freeze both fresh lion’s mane mushrooms and cooked ones. However, a better way to preserve fresh lion’s mane may be dehydrating it, as they tend to be more shelf-stable. Cooked lion’s mane can be frozen for as long as you want it to, as long as you make sure to defrost it properly before use.
How Long Does Lion’s Mane Last in the Fridge?
Fresh lion’s mane mushrooms last in the fridge for about a week. If you’re buying high-quality lion’s mane from farmer’s markets, they may last a bit over a week, but make sure not to consume them if you notice any spoilage.
Another Way to Get the Benefits of Lion’s Mane
Crab cakes are a classic summer meal, and these vegetarian lion's mane crab cakes are a great way to celebrate the tastes of summer. However, if you don’t like the taste of lion’s mane, you can still get the benefits of this fungus through our delicious mushroom granola.
In our breakfast granola bowl, you get a hyperconcentrated lion’s mane extract, as well as cordyceps mushroom and chaga mushroom extracts. The granola is gluten-free, vegan, and contains the lowest amount of added sugar on the market. What more can you ask for in a morning bowl of cereal?
FAQ on Lion’s Mane
How much lion’s mane is in Forij granola?
Forij granola uses a high-quality lion's mane mushroom extract made from whole medicinal mushrooms. Our dual extraction method extracts both water-soluble beta-glucans as well as alcohol-soluble triterpenes. Our decoction process breaks down indigestible chitin cell walls of the mushroom to get much more of these compounds out than ordinary processes do.
One serving of our granola provides 250 mg of hyperconcentrated lion's mane extract, which is eight times more concentrated than regular lion’s mane mushroom supplements. Therefore, you get as much potency as you would if you were taking a 2000 mg lion’s mane mushroom powder, all in one bowl of granola.
Does the lion’s mane mushroom taste like crab?
Yes, the taste of lion’s mane mushrooms does resemble seafood, especially crab. That’s why this mushroom is such a popular vegan alternative to crab meat.
Can I eat lion’s mane raw?
Though you can eat lion’s mane raw, cooking lion’s mane mushrooms is a better way to consume them. Raw lion’s mane is hard to digest, and you won’t be able to absorb some of the nutrients located in their indigestible chitin cell walls unless you consume them cooked, or in the form of an extract.
Do lion’s mane mushrooms cause gas?
Lion’s mane mushrooms can cause gas and digestive discomfort if you’re not used to adaptogenic mushrooms. These effects should subside after a few hours. If you want to avoid digestive discomfort, it’s best to take foods fortified with a high-quality lion’s mane extract (such as Forij granola).
How long does it take to feel the effects of lion’s mane?
While you may feel certain effects of lion’s mane immediately after taking the fungus, it takes about a month of regular use to get the full benefits of lion’s mane. Many users report decreased anxiety and increased mental clarity after 2-5 days of use. However, its anti-inflammatory and nerve-regenerative properties won't be apparent immediately.
How does the lion’s mane mushroom make you feel?
Lion’s mane provides an array of spiritual benefits and will certainly make you feel relaxed and alleviate stress. This fungus can make you feel more relaxed, less anxious, and more energized. With regular use, lion’s mane appears to alleviate symptoms of depression, as well.
This article was written strictly for informational purposes and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The statements contained herein are not evaluated by healthcare professionals or the FDA advisory board and are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment information.