Photo: Johnny Autry; Styling: Mary Clayton Carl
Hands-on Time
35 Mins
Total Time
1 Hour 25 Mins
Serves 4 (serving size: 2 cakes and about 2 tablespoons sauce)

A little bit of cooked bulgur helps to bind the ingredients and make the cakes heartier--plus, it adds some whole grain.

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 375°.

Step 2

Remove white papery skin from garlic head (do not peel or separate cloves). Drizzle 1 teaspoon oil over garlic; wrap in foil. Bake at 375° for 1 hour; cool 10 minutes. Separate cloves; squeeze into a small bowl to extract pulp. Discard skins. Mash garlic using the back of a spoon. Stir in yogurt, juice, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon salt.

Step 3

Place 3 shrimp and 2/3 cup beans in a food processor; pulse until blended but not quite pureed. Add remaining shrimp, remaining beans, bulgur, cilantro, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt to food processor; pulse until coarsely chopped. Fill a 1/4-cup dry measuring cup with shrimp mixture. Invert onto a platter lined with parchment paper; gently pat into a 2 1/2-inch-wide patty. Repeat procedure with remaining shrimp mixture, forming 8 cakes. Refrigerate 20 minutes.

Step 4

Preheat broiler to high.

Step 5

Brush a jelly-roll pan with 1 tablespoon oil. Arrange chilled cakes on pan; brush tops of cakes with remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Broil 5 minutes or until browned. Carefully turn cakes over. Brush tops of cakes with oil from pan. Broil an additional 5 minutes or until browned. Serve cakes with sauce.

Chef's Notes

MyRecipes is working with Let's Move!, the Partnership for a Healthier America, and USDA's MyPlate to give anyone looking for healthier options access to a trove of recipes that will help them create healthy, tasty plates. For more information about creating a healthy plate, visit

Ratings & Reviews

ChrisInPA's Review

September 06, 2012
My family called these sawdust burgers. They were all right and edible, but definitely not worth the effort. I agree that the bulgur overpowered the other flavors. I may have had the mixture in the food processor a bit long as well. The sauce was good, but I did add more lime juice.

mmpeters03's Review

September 05, 2012
These are a great idea, and they come together pretty well, but the flavor of the bulgur overpowers the shrimp, making the shrimp seem like a pretty costly filler (which is not how I like my shrimp...). Perhaps leaving the bulgur out? I'm not sure, and I'm not sure if I'll give it another whirl--it was a pretty time consuming recipe (even though I did most of the prep work while the garlic was roasting and then made the sauce while the cakes were in the broiler, seems a pretty efficient way to get things done in a slightly more timely manner) and kind of expensive too (at least for me). Maybe the suggestion to use quinoa instead of bulgur is the way to go as the flavor isn't as big, and maybe a different shrimp to bean ratio to bump up the flavor.

CristinaMBS's Review

July 30, 2013

AV98105's Review

August 27, 2012
Good flavor, but the texture didn't hold together; the final product wasn't crabcake like at all. It fell apart into a hash.

muffeeeeeeee's Review

September 12, 2012
I wanted to like this recipe, and generally I consider Bittman to be a guarantee that it'll work well, as "How to Cook Everything" is a frequent reference in this house. But no. There needs to be more egg or another binder, and honestly, I think it'd have been a more pleasing consistency if it were pan cooked so it could become crispy. I did reheat some leftovers in a pan with cooking spray and it's much nicer, but still a bit bland. I don't know what it is that fails this recipe so much, but it needs a lot of help, and I'm only giving it 2 stars because if you changed A LOT about it, it does technically have potential. ;)

Dardan's Review

August 28, 2012
I liked the thought of this recipe as lump crab meat is hard to come by for crab cakes. I think with some doctoring it could be better as it had a good foundation. The texture worked for me. I used quinoa instead of bulgur. I added more lime to sauce. It needed heat. My family put Sriracha on it. Next time I think I would add basil oregano and hot pepper flakes, or more cilantro and add a jalapeno. We also thought in needed less beans and more shrimp. I may work on this a bit more.

Ventnor303's Review

March 01, 2013
Just made it today and tasted tested one before serving it to my family. What a big disappointment. I will drop some lemon juice and more spices on it before I cook the rest. Really wanted this to be good.

BlueToBlue's Review

November 18, 2012
These were okay but not great. Kind of bland. They weren't so bad that we didn't eat them (which is what would be a one-star rating for me), but I won't be making the recipe again.

Lotarain's Review

September 10, 2012
Nobody in my family liked these. They tasted like bean cakes as the other flavors were completely overwhelmed. The sauce was very boring. Will not try again.