This spicy vegan Kani salad is a recreation of a popular Japanese dish. I make my vegan imitation crab with my seafood marinated hearts of palm, and then I toss it with carrot, cucumber, mango, and spicy mayo. Then, I top my salad with panko, avocado, and sesame seeds. This vegan Kani salad is easy and relatively quick to make, and full of delicious flavor!
What is Kani salad?
Kani salad is a famous Japanese crab salad made with thin strips of imitation crab, julienned crunchy vegetables, and a spicy mayonnaise sauce. Then it is topped with panko bread crumbs for some extra crunch. This salad is often served at Japanese restaurants because of its wide popularity! If you are wondering what Kani means, it is imitation crab meat. Imitation crab is usually made from white fish that is processed to look and taste like crab meat. Yuck!
Let’s talk about my vegan imitation crab!
I decided to use hearts of palm for my vegan imitation crab because it doesn’t have much flavor on its own. It also has a surprisingly similar texture to imitation crab. The texture of hearts of palm is not as chewy and doesn’t have the same bite as imitation crab, but I think it is the best substitute! I cut the hearts of palm into thin strips that look very similar to torn strips of imitation crab, and then I marinate it in my seafood marinade. My seafood marinade consists of ingredients like dulse granules (or you can use powdered nori!), rice vinegar, old bay seasoning, and miso paste. The combination of these ingredients and a couple of others truly replicates a fishy, seafood flavor.
This spicy vegan Kani salad recipe is easy to make!
Once I’ve allowed the vegan Kani to marinate for at least an hour, I then toss it with thinly julienned carrot, cucumber, mango, and a simple spicy mayo dressing. Then I top it with Japanese panko breadcrumbs, sliced avocado, and sesame seeds. It is spicy, sweet, tangy, slightly fishy, saucy, soft, and crunchy. This salad is full of flavor and texture, and I am confident you will love it!
If you make my spicy vegan Kani salad recipe, don’t forget to post a picture to Instagram, tag me @chefsummerstorm, and #gardengrub so I can see your recreation!
How to Make Spicy Vegan Kani Salad
Vegan Kani(Imitation Crab)
- 1 cup carrot (About 1 medium-sized carrot), peeled and very thinly julienned into about 3 inch long pieces
- 1 cup english cucumber (About 1/2 of a large cucumber), peeled, seeds removed, and thinly julienned into about 3 inch long pieces
- 1 cup mango (About 1/2 of a large mango), peeled and thinly julienned into about 3 inch long pieces
Spicy Mayo Dressing
- 1 avocado, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup Japanese panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tbsp black and white sesame seeds
Vegan Kani(Imitation Crab)
- Cut the hearts of palm into thin strips that are about 1/4 inch thick. Place them in a medium-sized bowl and set them to the side.
- Add the rest of the ingredients into a small bowl and mix until completely smooth. Pour this marinade over the shredded hearts of palm and gently toss to coat them evenly. Place this in the refrigerator and let it marinate for at least one hour, but overnight is always best!
- Once the vegan Kani has finished marinating, you can prep the rest of the salad! First, cut the carrot, cucumber, and mango into thin strips, similar to the strips of hearts of palm. Then, place them, along with the vegan Kani, in a large bowl. Set aside and make the dressing.
Spicy Mayo Dressing
- Add all of the ingredients into a small bowl and stir until well combined.
How to Assemble & Garnish the Salad
- Pour the dressing into the bowl of salad ingredients. Gently toss everything until well combined.
- Evenly sprinkle over the panko breadcrumbs. Then, layer across the sliced avocado. Lastly, sprinkle over the sesame seeds. Enjoy!
Welcome to my tip section of the spicy vegan Kani salad recipe! Here I provide my top tips to help you perfect the recipe. Sometimes, I also give substitute suggestions that I think you may find helpful.
- If you cannot get your hands on dulse granules, you can use nori instead! I recommend taking half of a sheet of nori and blending it in a coffee grinder to turn it into a fine powder. If you don’t have a coffee grinder, you can chop it by hand, but keep in mind you will not be able to get it into powder form with a knife. That being said, it will still give the hearts of a palm a seafood-like flavor, even if the nori isn’t in powder form.
- If you use plain vegan mayonnaise for your spicy mayo dressing instead of Seol’s vegan kimchi mayo, I suggest adding another dash of vegan sriracha to the dressing. If you decide to use plain mayonnaise, I also recommend tasting the final dressing for salt and pepper and adding a pinch if you think it’s needed. The dressing will more than likely need salt and pepper since it will lack flavor from using plain mayonnaise instead of the kimchi mayo I recommend using.
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