Food / Recipes

Crispy Tuna Fish Cakes AKA Not Crab Cakes

This recipe originally appeared on The Evolved Foodie and remains one of my most popular recipes of all time.

A Confession About Crab Cakes:

This is not a post about crab cakes since I’ve never eaten them, but people sure do like to talk about them! This is, however a post about tuna fish cakes that are slightly elevated from the ones you might have been eating all these years. Tuna fish cakes are really easy to make and chances are good that you probably already have all the ingredients in your pantry or fridge.

Back to the crab cakes. Along with all the other foods I’ve never tasted due to my various food restrictions, shellfish is pretty high on the list. Growing up kosher and also having a severe shellfish allergy means that even if I’ve been tempted (which I haven’t, to be honest) I’ve never tasted crab. And I wouldn’t even be curious, if I didn’t hear about crab cakes all the dang time.

My friend Ken frequently waxes rhapsodic about the crab cakes he’s eaten over the years. And whenever I’ve planned an event, the caterers would almost always ask if I wanted to include crab cakes on the menu. It was almost a rite of passage; Hosting an event or planning a party? There have to be crab cakes! But seriously, why are people so very obsessed with crab cakes? I digress.

Remember That Seinfeld Episode?

While most people focused on the shrinkage issue or the “breathtaking” baby that was anything but, Episode 85 of Seinfeld, called The Hamptons included a story about Jerry’s girlfriend Rachel, who kept kosher and never tasted shellfish:

Michael: Thanks for the lobster, Kramer.

Kramer: Rachel, aren’t you gonna have any?

Rachel: Oh, no, I can’t. I’m kosher, we don’t eat shellfish.

Kramer: You mean you’ve never tasted lobster?

Rachel: No.

We’ll Always Have Tuna Fish:

While I don’t eat as much fish as I’d like, tuna fish shows up on a regular rotation. I made these tuna fish cakes (which bring back memories of my elementary school lunches) for lunch last week and a friend kept saying they were better than crab cakes since the texture didn’t bother her as much. I can’t weigh in or make a comparison, but I can share the recipe she fell in love with.

Ingredients (Makes about 6 patties)

  • 2 5-ounce cans of tuna fish (I tend to prefer white albacore, but I suspect any tuna would work fine)
  • 2 Tbsp of cooked quinoa
  • 3 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp chickpeas
  • 2 Tbsp chickpea flour
  • 1 heaping Tbsp chopped leek (or scallion/green onion or any onion variant)
  • 1 Tbsp chopped red or green pepper or 1/4 cup corn (optional)
  • 1 tsp. nutritional yeast (Optional, but I’m a big fan of nooch)
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil


  • In a bowl, mix together the tuna fish (break down large chunks) add mayo and leek until it’s a very creamy consistency.
  • Fold in chickpeas quinoa, nutritional yeast, black pepper and salt to taste. Add the chopped pepper or corn if desired.
  • The texture should be as creamy as though you’d used eggs.
  • Heat up olive oil in large skillet
  • Form into rounded patties and fry until golden on both sides.
  • Serve with savory mayo or tahini and lemon sauce


I find that using mayonnaise instead of eggs can create a more solid consistency. It also adds a tangy taste. If you don’t have chickpea flour, experiment with cornstarch or almond flour, but note that the chickpea flour (also sold as garbanzo bean flour) adds a wonderful crispiness to the finished tuna fish cakes. Feel free to also add in a Tbsp or more of corn, for a slightly sweeter taste.