Vegan Salmon Cakes

Salmon patties/cakes were a staple food item from my childhood. My mama would always make them a few times out of the month along with biscuits for making breakfast sandwiches out of them. I asked her for the recipe years ago when I moved into my first apartment, and she basically gave me the “oh, you just put some onion in there, and some other seasonings” run down and OF COURSE there were no real measurements. I never tried it because I didn’t want to mess them up, but also because she told me that I’d have to pick the bones out of the canned tuna. Girl, no.

I mostly eat pescatarian these days, but the thought of touching fish has always freaked me out. I guess it’s because I remember how my granddaddy would go fishing and bring home a cooler of fish for my mom to clean. The sound of them jumping around in that styrofoam cooler and the sight of fish scales coating the porch while I watched mama scaling and filleting like it was an Olympic sport scared the shit out of me. So when I craved these things last week I had to find a workaround.

In my journey towards finding healthier food options for myself, I’ve discovered that I like chickpeas and jackfruit. In the back of my mind, that little girl from the taco shell commercials whispered to me: “¿Porque no los dos?”

And I was like: “You right, sis.”

Now, mind you: my measurements and the nutritional estimates are approximations because, like mama, I don’t measure shit for real. The ancestors guide my hand and my eyeballs, so feel free to tweak as you see fit!


Vegan Salmon Cakes

Karmen | June 30th, 2019

  • prep time: 20 minutes
  • cook time: 15 minutes
  • total time: 35 minutes

Servings: 4 people

Tools Needed:

  • Large skillet with high sides
  • metal spatula or tongs for handling cakes during cooking
  • paper towel-lined plate or baking sheet (metal rack for cooling optional)
  • large mixing bowl
  • medium mixing bowl
  • food processor or blender (optional)
  • ice cream scoop (optional)


For the cakes:

  • One 14 oz can chickpeas (drained, rinsed)
  • One 14 oz can young jackfruit in water or brine (drained, rinsed)
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1/5 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tbsp dijon mustard (yellow is fine also)
  • 1 large nori sheet (shredded)
  • 1/2 cup of seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsp dried dill
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 2 tbsp ume plum vinegar
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • your preferred oil for frying

For the coating:

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp parsley


  1. Add nori sheet and 1 tablespoon of water to a food processor and pulse to combine. Alternatively, you can crumble the sheet between your hands and rub them together over a bowl to create smaller pieces for even distribution throughout your vegan salmon cake mixture. Set aside when done.
  2. Drain and rinse chickpeas and jackfruit and add to a large mixing bowl. Use a fork to mash the chickpeas and jackfruit until you have a consistency that looks almost like tuna salad.
  3. Add diced onion, garlic powder, dijon mustard, shredded nori, dill, parsley, ume plum vinegar, breadcrumbs, and pepper to your mashed chickpeas and jackfruit, and stir gently until combined.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, smoked paprika, onion powder, salt, pepper, and parsley to create the coating for frying. Set aside.
  5. Pour roughly a 1/2 inch of oil into a skillet with high sides and preheat on medium high.
  6. Using an ice cream scoop or your hands to portion the mixture, begin to form the cakes by rolling and pressing into hamburger patty shapes. Coat each cake in the flour mixture on both sides and all edges, then set aside. Repeat until all of your mixture has been formed into patties. Depending on how big you form your patties, you could end up with anywhere between 8-12 cakes.
  7. Test oil by dropping a pinch of flour in. If it bubbles, you're ready to start frying the cakes.
  8. Fry cakes in batches of 3-4 at a time, flipping after 3-4 minutes. Fry on other side for 2-3 minutes, and transfer from oil to paper towel-lined plate or cooling rack.
  9. Repeat step 8 until all vegan salmon cakes have been fried.
  10. Let cool for 5 minutes, then serve.