UConn Chefs Cook Up Prize-winning Vegan Recipe

'Not So Crabby Vegan Crab Cakes with Remoulade Dressing.' (Gail Merrill/UConn Photo)
'Not So Crabby Vegan Crab Cakes with Remoulade Dressing.' (Gail Merrill/UConn Photo)

UConn Dining Services’ recipe for vegan crab cakes with remoulade sauce has been named the best meal in its category by a nationwide organization of collegiate food service providers.

Dining Services, which feeds tens of thousands of students and UConn employees each day, will be honored in July by the National Association of College & University Food Services (NACUFS).

UConn’s dish – “Not So Crabby Vegan Crab Cakes with Remoulade Dressing” – won the top nationwide prize for 2016 Best Vegan Recipe. The main ingredient, hearts of palm, is used to emulate the texture and flavor of crab, while many of the other elements are locally sourced at UConn’s Spring Valley student-run farm.

UConn Dining Services has consistently been honored by NACUFS and other groups for the quality of its food, including vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and other specialty offerings. About one-fifth of the department’s 12,000 recipes are vegan.

The vegan crab cakes consist of hearts of palm – the edible core from palm tree stems – combined with an egg-free, vegan mayonnaise, red bell pepper, green onions, whole grain mustard, lemon juice, and other seasonings. The chefs showcased the recipe at a vegan Thanksgiving meal on campus last fall, and students gave it such high marks that the meal is now a staple item in all eight of the Storrs campus residential dining halls.

UConn Dining Services also won a NACUFS Gold Medal last year for its sweet potato gnocchi, named the Best Local Foods Recipe of 2015.

In addition to the dining halls, UConn Dining Services prepares food for the University’s eight cafes, a food court, and a fine dining restaurant, Chuck & Augie’s.