Easy Crab Cakes with Creamy Pesto.

Lump crab cakes pan fried until crisp and golden brown, then served with a creamy fresh basil pesto. These crab cakes are the perfect summer appetizer, or make them into a meal by serving overtop a salad or on slider buns.

Crab cakes on a white plate with lemon wedges and appetizer size plates in the background.

There’s a birthday celebration happening today and it’s bittersweet. The Recipe ReDux, a group of Registered Dietitian bloggers, that I have been an active part of since 2013 is celebrating 8 fabulous years … but is also closing its virtual doors, forever. Recipe ReDux was the first (and only) recipe challenge founded by registered dietitians – it focused on showcasing delicious dishes that are better for you. It was founded by the fabulous Regan Miller Jones, Serena Ball and Deanna Segrave-Daly.

Heidi Diller, who was an RD colleague at Supervalu/Shaw’s Supermarkets with me suggested back in 2012/2013 that I start a blog – and it was Heidi who recommended I join Recipe ReDux, because it was a great way to engage with other blogger RDs and commit to actively posting on my blog and participating in their monthly recipe challenges.

When I joined Recipe ReDux (RR) back 6-ish years ago, I knew very little about blogging, recipe development and food photography. I was working full-time at Supervalu/Shaw’s Supermarkets as a retail dietitian and was blogging and taking pictures of food at night in low lighting (ha!) and in my spare time.

Crab cakes on a white plate with lemon wedges

The blog was a great creative outlet for me and, at the time, Adrian was an active part of it, so we had fun cooking, telling stories and taking photos together. Since I joined RR, we’ve had two babies, I left my corporate job, we moved to the Cape, I rebranded my blog from “30 Seconds with A&J” to “My Cape Cod Kitchen,” I started my own business and now have pretty much  made recipe development and food photography (plus nutrition communications consulting) my part-time livelihood (full-time mamma). Creating healthy recipes and taking beautiful photos of them has become a true passion of mine.

Here’s one of my first posts with Recipe ReDux – the salad was great, but the pictures were … well, see for yourself :). Red Grapes with Walnuts and Blue Cheese

It was Heidi that encouraged me to join RR, but it was Regan, Deanna and Serena who I have learned a ton from about blogging, food photography and more over the years. And through RR I’ve been able to connect with so many wonderful RD bloggers. I’m going to miss this group!

An overhead shot of crab cakes on a white plate with lemon and creamy pesto.

Thanks to Regan, Serena and Deanna for bringing all of us RD bloggers together and for challenging us monthly to showcase healthy food in delicious ways. I hope I’ve brought some great seafood dishes to the table – and below you’ll find links to many other great RDs who have unique and tasty niches, so check them out, you may find a few new favorites.

Now, back to the crab cakes.

So, for this birthday bash, I’m bringing a coastal appetizer to the party. These Easy Crab Cakes with Creamy Pesto. They are so quick and easy to whip up. And so summery and delicious. They’re made mainly with crab meat, then a small amount of panko crumbs, yogurt, egg (for binding), chives, garlic powder, salt and pepper. I’ll bring some sparkling rose to the party too – or maybe sparkling Cape Codders. Which would you prefer?

An overhead shot of crab cakes on a white plate with creamy pesto sauce and lemon wedges.

Here’s how to make these Easy Crab Cakes with Creamy Pesto:

An overhead shot of crabcakes on a rectangular white plate with creamy pesto on the side.
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Easy Crab Cakes with Creamy Pesto

Lump crab cakes pan fried until crispy and served with a creamy and fresh basil pesto. These crab cakes are the perfect summer appetizer, or make them into a meal by serving overtop a salad or on slider buns. Serves 6 people as an appetizer (2 crab cakes each).

Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Keyword Easy Crab Cakes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients

For the crab cakes

  • 1 16 ounce can lump crab meat picked over for shell fragments
  • 1/4 cup plain whole milk Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup seasoned panko crumbs
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon dried chives (or use fresh, if you have on hand)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon olive or avocado oil

For the creamy pesto

  • 1 2 1/2 ounce clamshell of basil leaves stems removed
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup plain whole milk Greek yogurt
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

For serving

  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges

Instructions

For the crab cakes

  1. Combine crab, yogurt, panko, beaten egg, parmesan, chives, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a bowl. Mix well with your hands.

  2. Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat until glistening. Form crab mixture into cakes/patties with your hands (about a small handful of mixture per cake). Place patties into skillet (do not crowd them, you'll likely have to make 2 batches - or you could use 2 skillets). Flip onto the other side after a golden crust forms on the bottom. Pan fry until both sides are golden brown and cakes are "set" and cooked through. [You should have enough crab mixture to make +/- 12 cakes.]

  3. Place crab cakes on serving plate. Serve with creamy pesto and lemon wedges.

For the creamy pesto

  1. Add all ingredients to a high speed blender or food processor.

  2. Process until smooth then pour into a small dip bowl. Serve with crab cakes.

Recipe Notes

Time saving tip: use a prepared pesto for dipping instead of making your own. Or, if you prefer tartar sauce, use a prepared tartar sauce instead of the pesto. 

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Crab Cakes on a white plate with lemon wedges and creamu basil pesto.