Crispy vegan calamari… minus the calamari
Looking at the pictures, you wouldn’t be able to tell that this entire recipe is plant-based, but I promise it is! Not only does it look like the real thing, but it also tastes like it too!
I used palm hearts to create this vegan calamari recipe. Palm hearts can easily be found in the canned goods section of any Asian supermarket or any health food store. The flavor is very mild and they’re full of protein, which is why they’re often used as meat alternatives/substitutions. The texture of palm hearts is very similar to calamari in the sense that it’s somewhat rubbery. They also fry very well and soak up the flavor of the nori (seaweed) perfectly! The nori is what gives this recipe that mild fishy taste.
However, this recipe isn’t complete without the tartar sauce! It’s super simple to make and truly ties this dish together. The tartar sauce is also 100% plant-based! So go on and give this recipe a try! Serve it as an appetizer or pair it with some sides for a meal that truly satisfies that calamari craving.
Where is the HISPANIC-ISH flare?
It’s always in the seasoning haha!! Well-seasoned food is always the goal here! In this recipe, I used my homemade adobo to season the palm hearts. I also added garlic powder, and nori flakes to enhance the flavor and bring us closer to achieving the flavor profile associated with calamari.
Pro tip: If you can’t find nori flakes, just blend some nori sheets!
But if you want to go full-on HISPANIC-ISH then pair this vegan calamari recipe with some arroz y habichuelas con coco! Literally drooling just thinking about it! The best part about this vegan calamari recipe is that you can pair it with literally anything and it’s fantastic.
Can this vegan calamari recipe be made healthier?
YES! It can! I played around with this recipe quite a bit. I prefer it fried and with all-purpose flour. However, I do have some substitutions that may be more suitable for you.
Gluten-free option: Use gram flour instead of all-purpose flour. However, be very mindful when frying as gram flour browns easily. I would suggest turning down the heat to medium.
No fry option: Bake at 180C OR 375F for about 20 minutes until crispy, turning over halfway. Be sure to use parchment/baking paper on the bottom. You may want to lightly spray the calamari pieces with some oil. This recipe also works in an air fryer!
Try these HISPANIC-ISH vegan recipes
Crispy vegan calamari with tartar sauce
- Frying pan
- 3 mixing bowls
- 410 GRAMS Can of palm hearts (220g drained)
- 3 TBSP Cornstarch
- ½ CUP All purpose flour
- 1 TSP Garlic powder
- ½ TSP Nori flakes (Seaweed) extra for topping
- ½ TSP Adobo Check notes
- 3 TBSP Water
- ⅓ CUP Oil for frying
- 100 GRAMS Vegan mayonnaise
- 1 TBSP Chopped capers
- ½ TBSP Chopped pickles
- 1 TSP Lemon Juice
- 1 TSP Chopped dill
- Start with the tartar sauce to let the flavors fully combine.
- Mix the mayonnaise, capers, pickles, lemon juice, and dill together until fully combined. No salt needed.
- Rinse the palm hearts and cut them into 1-2cm rounds. Then carefully push out the middles. You'll be left with rounds that look very similar to calamari rings. Set aside.
- In a bowl mix the flour, garlic powder, adobo, and a pinch of salt. Set aside.
- In another bowl, mix the cornstarch, water, and nori flakes. Set aside. Cornstarch may settle to the bottom after some time, Just mix to avoid this.
- Heat the oil in the frying pan to medium-high heat. Test the oil by sprinkling some flour into the oil to check if it's ready.
- Add the "calamari rings" to the cornstarch mixture, then to the flour mixture. Then add to the frying pan. Check notes.
- Fry until crispy. About 1-2 minutes per side. Remove from the oil and place on a napkin to remove any excess oil.
- Sprinkle with nori flakes and a pinch of salt. Serve with tartar sauce...AND DONE!!!
- Homemade adobo recipe
- Dip the "calamari rings" into the cornstarch mixture, then the flour mixture, then straight to the oil. If you need to fry in two batches, coat as you go. DO NOT coat then let sit aside. They will not be crispy if left with the coating on for too long before frying.
- Remember there is no meat in this recipe. We are frying just until the "calamari rings" are crispy. Do not cook for more than 4 minutes.