If you make your own soymilk, you know what okara is–it’s the soy pulp that’s left after all the “milk” is strained out. And if you’ve been throwing it out, you need to stop that right now because it’s very valuable stuff: It has almost as much protein as tofu but has 32 times as much fiber. It’s much closer to being a whole, unprocessed food than tofu and soymilk because it contains most of the original soybean.
Okara can be used in many ways; you can add it to baked goods, use it as an egg substitute, add it to soups and stews, or mix it into veggie burgers. Ever since I started making soymilk, I’ve experimented a lot with okara, but the following is my all-time favorite okara recipe. In fact, it’s so good that I would actually consider making soymilk just to get the okara to make “crab” cakes. They’re spicy, creamy, and crunchy all at the same time, and they taste so much like crab that it’s scary!
Okara “Crab” Cakes
See the note at the end of the recipe for using tofu instead of okara.
- 2 slices whole wheat bread, broken into large pieces
- 1/2 cup minced celery (use a food processor to chop all vegetables quickly)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, minced
- 1/2 green pepper, minced
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 1 1/2 cups okara (about what you get from making one batch of soymilk in a soymilk machine)
- 1/2 cup oatmeal (the quick kind, not instant)
- 1-2 tbsp. Old Bay seasoning
- 1 tsp. nori or dulse flakes (may use other flaked sea vegetable)
- In a food processor or blender, whirl bread pieces into fine crumbs. Place on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until dried and toasty. Remove from oven and set aside.
- In a non-stick skillet, cook celery, onion, carrot, pepper and parsley until softened, about 5 minutes.
- In a large bowl, combine okara, sautéed vegetable mixture, oatmeal, and seasonings. Mix well and set aside to “rest” for 10 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Using about 1/4 cup for each cake, form mixture into about 15-20 patties about 2 inches across and 1/2 inch thick. Coat each side of the patty with bread crumbs and place on a nonstick baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes. Carefully turn cakes over and return to the oven to bake until second side is toasty and browned, about 15-20 minutes.
- These are delicious served with spicy cocktail sauce or vegan tartar sauce; they also make an excellent sandwich on French bread.
If you don’t have okara, you can use tofu instead but you may need to add more or less oatmeal. Drain and mash the tofu well and add oatmeal until the mixture will hold together when you try to make it into patties.
Preparation time: 15 minute(s) | Cooking time: 30 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 4
Makes 4 servings. Per serving: 195 Calories (kcal); 5 g Total Fat; (22% calories from fat); 8 g Protein; 35 g Carbohydrate; 0 mg Cholesterol; 154 mg Sodium; 15 g Fiber.
For more info on okara, check out Ellen’s Kitchen.
CleaSeptember 22, 2009 at 5:54 pm
Just wanted to say I am making these right now! So glad you have some okara recipes, since I just got a soymilk maker, and I was surprised to read about how healthy the leftover pulp is (and happy to put it to good use!) I love your okara cookies.
I used panko bread crumbs mixed with some paprika, garlic, onion, and parsley since I didn't have fresh parsley on hand. I also left out the celery and pepper (laziness!) and added a tablespoon of vital wheat gluten to help it hold together better…and a little shot of soy sauce. The batter is really good, and these will be great for later. I'm going to freeze them, but will be happy to try them later, maybe even in some club rolls for sandwiches. Thanks for the recipe!
reactossMarch 3, 2010 at 3:07 am
This is fantastic! I just looked in the freezer yesterday and saw a tub of okara that I'd dried and frozen from my somewhat unsuccessful attempt at soymilk and I was wondering what I was going to do with it, this sounds great 🙂
One of the GirlsMarch 14, 2010 at 4:33 pm
Thanks for the recipe! My cakes are in the oven. I made them with tofu because I didn't have an okara, so we shall see how they turn out. I am also making your eggless quiche and cauliflower soup! I was so inspired by your recipes I just had to get cookin'! It was amusing to see the looks on people's faces when I told them I was making crabless crabcakes and eggless quiche for dinner!
ZaMarch 22, 2010 at 11:04 pm
Hi Sue, after soaking the beans I totally forgot to remove the skins although I did run the beans through water again before blending them. Is there any harm if the skins were not removed? Yikes! I just baked these and ate them. Yummy! – I hope I'll live to see the response. 🙂
SusanVMarch 23, 2010 at 6:33 am
Za, I don't think you're in any danger! Removing the skins from soybeans is just a taste thing–people say it makes a better-tasting soymilk, but it's totally optional (and kind of a pain).
ZaMarch 23, 2010 at 11:09 am
I survived! Thanks! Have to say that my first experience with okara was a gd one thanks to you!
Virginie PéanMarch 28, 2010 at 7:37 pm
Your recipe was very helpful for my first experience with okara and I made a variation of your recipe here: http://absolutegreen.blogspot.com/2010/03/vege-crab-cakes-la-liveche-pop-sorgho.html
I confirm these Crab Cakes are very scary. The combination of oats and okara gives something really Crab-like. Thanks again for all your good ideas.
ms_minApril 20, 2010 at 3:58 pm
I made soy milk, tofu, and okara “crab” cakes today–all from scratch, and for the first time ever. I think of the three, these okara cakes came out the best! My daughter and I wrapped each patty in a lettuce leaf, added a little tartar sauce, and ate them like a sandwich or a wrap—yum! Thanks for the great recipe!
Lotus_girlJune 12, 2010 at 11:23 pm
I love this recipe! I made soymilk for the first time and wondered what to do with the remaining okara. I found this recipe and, my gosh, would make it again and again. I replaced the bread with 1 cup of freshly made brown rice, didn’t precook the veggies (instead blended the veggies in a food processor, then mixed with the okara), added garlic powder & onion powder instead of Old Bay Seasoning, and breaded them in Panko…and they still turned out 95% like an actual crab cake! Needless to say, this recipe is a new-found favorite! 🙂
LindsayJune 22, 2010 at 12:29 pm
Hello! This recipe looks amazing and I am excited to try it. I’m relatively new to the vegan thing, and I have never even heard of making your own soy milk. Because everyone has mentioned using the “leftover” okra from a process that I’ve never tried I’m not sure what part of the okra to use, what part not to use?
Thanks so much for keeping an amazing blog!
LindsayJune 22, 2010 at 12:36 pm
Wow, I feel dumb. I read “okra” instead of “okara”. I acutally didn’t even know what “okara” is but I Googled it and read the Wikipedia article. I suppose I should read a little more carefully next time . . .
ReneeJuly 6, 2010 at 6:41 pm
Hi everyone, I tried to buy okara at local Asian supermarkets and whole food stores, but none of the stores carry it. Does anyone know if I can order it online somewhere? Thanks
StephanieAugust 7, 2010 at 3:21 pm
I decided to try making tofu this morning. The tofu making thing is not going well, but the project is not a total failure because I saved the okara and made these crab cakes for lunch. Very tasty as a sandwich with some garlic aioli. Thank you!
LisaJanuary 18, 2011 at 9:21 pm
Wow! These are great! I baked them a little longer so they would be drier, but they are awesome! Thanks for the recipe.
CallieJune 17, 2011 at 9:17 pm
Thanks for this recipe! I just made soymilk for the first time and now plan on creating some crab cakes!
Thanks for sharing!
BrendaFebruary 20, 2012 at 12:37 pm
I am anxious to try this, thanks for posting it! I’ve been giving my okara to my dog (is it wrong to admit that?!)
Do you happen to know the nutritional content of homemade soy milk?
Ie grans protein, amt calcium, etc?
Haven’t been able to find that information.
SamFebruary 20, 2012 at 12:48 pm
I have a question for you. I don’t eat soy, but I would love to make the “Crab Cakes” to go along with your Eggplant Creole. Any suggestions what I could use as a substitute for the okara? Thanks.
GretchenFebruary 25, 2012 at 7:54 pm
I just made these for the first time tonight. They’re delicious. Now I have another use for the okara generated by my soy milk machine. I didn’t have any carrots, so I added some red bell pepper in addition to the green. I also didn’t have any oatmeal, so I added some quinoa. Just to make sure that it all adhered together, I added some flax meal to the mixture.
I served it with Tabasco and wasabi. Yum. Thanks for the recipe.
DebMarch 29, 2012 at 2:13 pm
We gave these a go, and they are incredible! Hubby asked yesterday “isn’t it time to make more soy milk?”
thank you so much for this recipe and for all you do for vegans!!!
adamcJune 28, 2012 at 5:52 pm
Just made these. They were pretty great! I now have a go to recipe for my leftover okara. Thanks!
DeedyAugust 27, 2012 at 6:08 pm
I’m sorry. I made these and they lacked taste. I’ve tried several variations even from Chef Bergeron. It’s lacking body and some elemental ingredient although I can’t put my finger on it. Thanks anyway.
JerryJanuary 14, 2013 at 10:04 pm
I don’t make soymilk but would like to use okara in you recipe. Can you suggest a place where it can be purchased?
CharityMay 8, 2013 at 11:37 pm
Thank you so much for this fantastic recipe. My whole family loved it, and declared it “a keeper.” My boys (9 and 11) tend to conservative with compliments, so I was glad to find a kid-approved delicious recipe that allowed me to find use for the okara left over from our regular soy milk making sessions. For a great cocktail sauce, I combined ketchup, sriracha, and horseradish. Together, the “crab” cakes and cocktail sauce were amazing!!!
denise leachJanuary 20, 2014 at 6:54 pm
I now have a soymilk machine and can’t recommend it enough to anyone who uses non dairy milk! Soyajoy BTW, though I can’t compare to any other.
The uses for okara are endless. When I first considered a machine to be too expensive I only thought of making milk with it–the pulp from soy, almonds and it’s ability to make such an easy task of soups and porridge (no porridge tried yet!) make it a great savings!
I made this recipe a year ago from an unpleasant homemade soymilk experience. The milk wasn’t very good, but the okara in this recipe had me hooked!
I never tell anyone to make their own soymilk before considering a machine, rather I tell them to try the very basic kind from an Asian grocery.
MickiSeptember 25, 2014 at 12:36 pm
OK, these were good, and I probably messed up everything. This from a dyed-in-the-wool Marylander who loves crab cakes. Were these AS good? no, but they were very good. First, I didn’t add green pepper (because I never add green pepper to my crab cakes) and second, didn’t add parsley because I didn’t have any. Then, on cutting the recipe about in half, 1 T. of Old Bay made it way too salty. Next time I’ll use more celery and maybe add some cayenne, and cut the Old Bay. (I love Old Bay, BTW, and use it in lots of recipes. I should have known I was using too much.) I fixed it by squishing in about half a block of tofu. Third, I didn’t pre-fry the veggies. I processed the carrots, onion and celery in my Vitamix to a slaw type consistency, then just mixed everything else in. I used nori as my seaweed, and mixed it all up by hand just like making a meatloaf. Fourth, I fried the patties in a little evoo, rather than baking, so not exactly fat free either. Finally, I ate the them with mustard, but that’s how I like my crab cakes and coddies. This recipe seems fairly forgiving, and is a definite keeper. I get a little more vegetarian every year, thanks to sites and recipes like this. Thank you.
SoniaOctober 6, 2014 at 7:38 pm
Another native Marylander here- but vegan for going on 5 years now, so it’s been a long time since I had a real crab cake. I just made these for the third time and they are a new go-to recipe in this apartment. My omni boyfriend might even like these more than I do- when I said I wanted to make these once a week he complained that it wasn’t enough! 🙂
I did find that two batches of okara from my soy milk maker only made about half of what this recipe calls for, so I cook the veggies and stick half of them in the freezer for next time. As far as Old Bay goes, 2T was too much but 1T was not enough, so I go for 1.5T (I love me some Old Bay!). We eat them on toasted rolls with Nava Atlas’ Quick Tartar Sauce recipe and we can’t get enough. Thank you so much for this recipe!! Crab was the only meat that was tough for me to give up and this makes it SO much easier! 🙂
sharathDecember 13, 2014 at 7:02 am
WoW!! This is my first experience with Okara and to be frank this is just awesome..Thanks a lot for the recipe.
JemDecember 13, 2014 at 4:14 pm
What kind of tofu would you use as a substitute for the okara? (I don’t make soy milk) Firm, extra firm, lite, silken, soft? There are so may different kind and I’m new to all this! But I know that my husband and I would love a crabcake. Thanks for all your help with vegan cooking.
Susan VoisinDecember 13, 2014 at 4:24 pm
I would use firm or extra firm regular tofu, drain it well, and mash it. I hope you enjoy it!