Vegan fish cakes with Kalamata sauce

Don't worry, there ain't no fish in this recipe. But these "fish" cakes surely deliver some great texture and the taste of sea. Usually all my recipes are made with affordable and widely known ingredients. But this time I got sent some really interesting stuff from Thai Choice. Not that some these ingredients are super expensive or too extravagant, but I definitely don't use them in my everyday cooking. From time to time, it's pretty great to try something completely new and experiment with different ingredients.

So here they are. Crispy vegan fish cakes with tons of flavor inside them. The filling was so good, I ate it straight from the pan (again!) and then I remembered I have to save some for the cakes. This is one of those foods, which needs a little bit more effort and time but totally worth it. Like cabbage rolls. Worth every second! For the sauce, I used sunflower seeds of course. They just keep surprising me with their versatility. To make this sauce tangy and extra delicious, I used some marinade from the Kalamata olives. I start to drool instantly when thinking of Kalamata olives. It's one of the luxuries I allow myself from time to time. They have such a rich taste and texture. These olives often have stones in them, but it's super easy to remove them. Just pinch each olive, until the stone ejects. Kalamata olives often also have this amazing marinade, which you can use as a salad dressing or make this Kalamata sauce.

We definitely enjoyed these crispy and flavorful fish cakes with a creamy and tangy sauce. These go well with potatoes or rice or why not to make yourself a vegan fish burger? It's definitely something different yet with a comforting and satisfying taste and texture.

Preparation time: 30-40 minutes

Serves: 14 fish cakes


For the fish cakes:
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 10 ½ oz / 300 g root celery
  • 9 oz / 250 g white head cabbage
  • 2 heaped tsp dried dill
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 3 nori sheets
  • ½ cup / 120 ml hot water
  • 14 oz can / 400 g canned chickpeas
  • pack of rice papers (I had 14 papers in my pack)

For breading:
  • 5 heaped Tbsp tempura flour
  • ½ cup / 120 ml cold water
  • breadcrumbs 

For the Kalamata sauce:
  • 1 cup / 150 g peeled sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup / 120 ml marinade from the Kalamata olives (the marinade has a red color)
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar


Heat up a pan and pour some oil in it. Peel the root celery and cut it into tiny cubes. Add the cubes into the pan. Cook for a couple of minutes. Add thinly shredded cabbage, dill, salt and ground black pepper. Cook for a couple of minutes. Roll the nori sheets very tightly into "cigars" and cut them into shreds. Add the nori shreds into the pan. Stir everything and add hot water. Cook for a few minutes, until the cabbage has softened. Drain and rinse the chickpeas and mash them with a fork. Don't make hummus out of them, just mash them a little bit, until they are mushy chunks. Add mashed chickpeas into the pan. Stir carefully, cook for a minute and then remove the heat.

Now it's time to prepare the rice papers. Pour some boiling water into a larger bowl or pot. Soak every rice paper for 3-4 minutes, until they are softer. I soaked three rice papers at the time and when I started to fill them, I put another three into soaking. Place a heaped tablespoon of filling onto the center of a soaked rice paper. Fold the left side of the paper onto the filling, then the right side. And then the upper side and then the lower side. The folding is exactly like in this filled pancake recipe.

Now you should have a squared fish cake. To bread the cakes, take two bowls. In one bowl, mix tempura flour with water. Then put some bread crumbs ready in the other bowl. Now take the filled and folded fish cake, dip it into tempura mix and then into bread crumbs, so both sides will be nicely breaded. Cook the breaded cakes in a pan in hot oil (just pan-fry them not deep-fry) until crispy on both sides. You can also bake them in the oven but they will be much drier that way. Still, the taste would be same.

For the sauce, boil the sunflower seeds for 15 minutes. Drain the seeds and blend with other ingredients until smooth. Serve with fish cakes.