If you’re eating from the new Crossroads cookbook by acclaimed chef Tal Ronnen, you’re eating some of the best, most inventive, freshest and satisfying vegan food on the planet. Naturally tender and briny hearts of palm (with a hole poked through, of course) make for startlingly realistic “calamari,” but honestly you won’t miss the shellfish in this hearty shellfish-free rendition. 

Much of the Crossroads philosophy is about taking classic, familiar dishes and giving them new soul as plant-based renditions. Here hearts of palm are sliced into rounds that look like rings of calamari. They are lightly coated in a batter seasoned with Old Bay and nori seaweed and fried to golden perfection. The cooked palm rings look like calamari and taste like calamari, and if you tell your guests the dish is fried calamari, they’ll likely believe you.

The cashew cream for the batter needs to be prepared a day in advance, but all of the components can be made ahead of time, so frying and serving happen quickly. The cocktail sauce and lemon-caper aioli are dipping sauces typically served with calamari. For an Italian spin, you could also serve Scoty’s Marinara Sauce. After hollowing out the hearts of palm, you can cut up the unused centers and toss into a salad.

Excerpted from Crossroads by Tal Ronnen with Scot Jones (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2015. Photographs by Lisa Romerein.

Reprinted with permission from Crossroads