Food + Recipes

Recipe | Maryland Crab-Free Crab Soup

I’ve been on a seafood substitute kick lately, haven’t I? Well I hope you liked the crab cake recipe I shared recently. If you did, I have another…and, of course, if you didn’t, here’s another chance?

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Well, as I begin to write this piece, the soup is still simmering on the stove in the kitchen. I’m two rooms away, and the aroma is still quite abundant–and quite pleasant, too.

The recipe is pretty simple, I’ve based it off of one I found provided by a well-known Baltimore-based market, Eddie’s. So, without further ado, let’s get to it!

Ingredients:

  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium boiling potato, peeled and cubed (I used Yukon gold)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 stalk of celery, trimmed and chopped
  • 1/2 lb. green beans, trimmed into 1″ pieces (I used 1 can instead of fresh)
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels (about 2 ears)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen Lima beans
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
  • 4 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce (I used Annie’s brand)
  • 2 tablespoons Old Bay
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • pinches of red pepper flakes
  • 1 (28 oz.) can of whole, peeled plum tomatoes
  • Salt (I used sea salt with kelp dulse) and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup of crab substitute (I used 1 can of hearts of palm, chopped in the food processor)

Directions:

  1. Combine carrots, potatoes, onions, celery, green beans, corn, Lima beans, peas, Worcestershire sauce, Old Bay, mustard, red pepper flakes, and 6 cups of water in a large pot.
  2. Add tomatoes, crushing them in your hand, and the juice from the can.
  3. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Add “crab” and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring often.
  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Serve.
  7. Enjoy.

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First, I would like to thank the folks from the Baltimore Vegan Facebook group. When I asked for recommended substitutes for the crab, I heard a range of great suggestions, including jackfruit, hearts of palm, shiitake mushrooms, and oyster mushrooms. As for adding flavors of the ocean, the following was recommended: dulse, wakame, Old Bay, nori, kelp, oyster sauce, and black salt. And as a friend said to me on Facebook, definitely don’t skimp out on the Old Bay–it may just be a seasoned salt in its essence, but our tastebuds register it as a seafood flavor since it’s used so often in preparing seafood.

Making this recipe has been an interesting experience for me. I was never a huge fan of seafood and I never have even tasted Maryland Crab Soup to know if I’d like it. The main reason for preparing this meal has been for my seafood-loving husband. He orders cream of crab soup more often, but he loves soups in general and I thought this recipe would be a good, veganizable dish.

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My verdict, it’s a flavor that I don’t get to enjoy much as a vegan, it’s just not in many of the meals I consume. So it’s quite delicious, but it’s a little discomforting at first simply because I do associate these flavors and aromas with actual seafood.I don’t imagine that it would taste much different if it were actual crab versus the hearts of palm. But, let’s see what my husband thinks….

So, before I go ahead and give you his feedback, I’look remind you that I promised a seafood lover a Maryland crab soup, which was a dangerous promise given I had never before even tasted a Maryland crab soup and that this may possibly have even been the first soup I’ve ever made…outside of chili. SO…

His feedback:

  • It was a bit sweeter than Maryland Crab Soup…I’m still trying to figure this out.
  • He said the broth hadn’t yet embraced all the flavors, so possibly let the soup simmer for longer.
  • He also thought there wasn’t enough broth…but he’s the kind of guy who drinks his soups and leaves the veggies at the bottom of the bowl, so….take that how you will.
  • He said that the tomato flavor was a bit stronger than a typical Maryland crab soup (maybe this is where the sweetness came from?).
  • It lacked a kick, he exclaimed, but when he added a bit more Old Bay, he felt that helped bring the taste closer to the “real thing.” (I’ll add that I didn’t actually add any black pepper [I tend not to in my cooking] and I only added 2 pinches of red pepper…since I had no idea how spicy the soup usually is.)
  • Overall, he was pleased and said he was excited to try it again…good thing, because we’ve got loads of leftovers!!!

Keep in mind that this recipe makes a great deal of soup. So, if you’re not serving a huge crowd, I suspect it’s probably something that freezes well. The picture below is after my husband and I each had two big bowls!

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All in all, it’s a recipe that I felt was stellar as is. But if you’re comparing it to the original soup, there may need to be some tweaks. As I modify this recipe, I will try to update this post. Until then, let me know if you give it a try and how it turns out!

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