Try not to get seconds of this Crab Pasta With Tomatoes and Lemon Garlic Sauce! It’s absolutely spectacular in both presentation and taste. With just a handful of fresh ingredients and 20 minutes, this crab and pasta recipe will be a showstopper!
Between the angel hair spaghetti, the garlicky and herby sauce, roasted tomatoes and of course, the showstopper itself – fresh crab meat. This pasta dish is seriously satisfying – without a heavy sauce!
So, let’s talk crab recipes pasta edition. Because, if it’s one thing we enjoy the most on the coast, it’s catching our fair share of Dungeness crab, and bringing them home to cook, clean and pick for meat is full of excitement in anticipation of a fresh cooked crab dish made by yours truly.
Over the last few years, crab recipes have become our bread and butter. You can read more about why we enjoy seafood so much. From how to cook crab, to this crunchy Air Fried Crab Rangoon, to the best Crab Tacos, and more, we continue to make scrumptious crab meals.
About This Pasta and Crab Recipe
This Crab Pasta recipe is the perfect dish to impress your guests, or to make on a hot day when you’d rather enjoy something a little cool!
There’s a few key elements to make this pasta and crab recipe a success! Starting with making a homemade chimichurri that’s full of garlic, lemon, and herbs. With an added little kick for extra dimension.
The sautéed scallions and cherry tomatoes add so much more flavor and added texture.
And of course, why we’re all here – fresh crab meat to top and make a beautiful presentation. I hope you add this to your crab recipes list!
Why You’ll Love This Crab Meat Pasta
Easy! – It’s actually easy to make! Coming from a mom of 3, most of my recipes are delicious but approachable. Anyone can pull it off using my exact recipe with simple ingredients, and thorough step-by-step instructions.
The Sauce – This garlic and herb, olive oil based sauce is the perfect contrast of flavor to the sweet crab meat. It’s slightly spicy, garlicky, herby and lemony. You’ll love it!
Limited Stove Time – It’s the perfect pasta dish for a hot day, or when you want minimal stove and oven time. Considering the meal is served cold!
Limited Effort – Most of the work is done in the food processor! This is one of the fastest sauce to make where absolutely nothing needs to be heated! Simply roughly chop your herbs and blend them in the processor with the rest of the ingredients to make this light and fresh pasta sauce that compliments the crab so well!
Ingredients In This Crab Pasta
- Pasta. I’m using angel hair spaghetti. I feel it’s the best option for this crab pasta with tomato and a fresh lemon garlic sauce. You can of course use whatever pasta type you’d like.
- Crab meat. I’m using fresh Dungeness crab for this pasta dish. You can use any kind of crab, like Alaskan king crab, snow crab, or blue crab.
If you don’t have that option, go with the next best thing. Which is typically crab meat in the deli section. You can try canned crab, though I’ve never tried it myself, if that’s what you can get your hands on then go for it. I wouldn’t suggest using imitation crab. It’s far from the taste of crab and well, it’s not what we’re going for in this dish.
- Cherry tomatoes. They add another textural element to this pasta dish that I absolutely love!
- Green onions
- Chimichurri ingredients:
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Red onion
- Fresh Lemon
- Salt and pepper
Variations and Substitutions
Substitute crab meat for any of the following kinds of crab. Or use what you can get your hands on.
Types of crab
Feel free to use any crab you can get your hands on. Some options are:
Rock crab – These are mostly caught catch and cook style since they’re not readily available in most markets.
Dungeness crab – our favorite crab to work with as it’s bountiful on the west coast.
Blue crab – Not much meat on them, so you will need more crab to gather and pick through for meat.
King crab – often sold in markets as crab legs.
Imitation crab – I don’t recommend using imitation crab for this meal. The flavor of the fresh crab is meant to be showcased in this recipe and imitation crab isn’t suitable.
How To Cook Live Crab
If you’ve got yourself live crab to make an fantastic meal with, I have a full tutorial on the best and easiest way to cook fresh crab.
It answers all your questions and goes through easy step-by-step instructions on cooking fresh, live crab!
How To Make Crab Pasta
The full step-by-step instructions can be found on the recipe card towards the end of the page. The brief outline of how to prepare this recipe for simplicity is outlined here.
Let’s break it down to a super easy 4 step outline!
Step one, is to cook the pasta to al dente. the package typically has an al dente time suggestion, so go with that since every pasta isn’t created equal.
The Pasta Sauce
This sauce is 100% made in the food processor. It’s so easy. Add all your ingredients to the food processor and blend to combine, until all the herbs are finely chopped.
Sauteed Tomatoes and Scallions
Wash and dice your scallions. Wash and cut the cherry tomatoes in half. To a medium skillet on medium to high heat, add extra virgin olive oil and sauté the tomatoes and green onions for a few minutes. Stirring occasionally. Once the tomatoes are just starting to soften, remove from heat and allow to cool.
Now, for the reason we’re all here. The crab! if you have crab legs, you’ll need to crack and check for shells prior to serving. If you’re working with fresh already cracked crab meat, pick through it for shells before plating. Once plated, top with salt, pepper and fresh lemon!
- Cook pasta to al dente. Overcooked pasta can ruin a dish, and this is one you definitely want to enjoy every element of. Check your package for directions on cooking the pasta to al dente.
- Make your sauce at most a few hours before serving. Allowing time for the sauce to meld is necessary, but allowing too much time can make the herbs soggy.
- Use fresh crab. If you can get your hands on it, and most delis have fresh crab meat available, then definitely go that route!
This crab recipe can last in the fridge for up to 2 days in an airtight container.
Store all the ingredients together, or separate. The pasta will be delicious and stay fresh regardless.
To eat leftovers:
Eat cold, or slightly warmed for the best taste! Since this seafood pasta recipe has a chimichurri-style sauce, it’s meant to be enjoyed cold. Trust me, it’s great that way!
Absolutely. Pick through the meat of crab legs and top it to your pasta dish. For best presentation, you could pre-crack crab legs and place them on top of the pasta and sauce, so they can be showcased. I’ve done this in various dishes, and my crab omelet recipe gets a lot of drools over how it’s presented if you’d like an idea of how to stage crab legs.
This pasta and crab recipe comes together fairly quickly. To come the time down more, I have a couple tips and tricks. First, prepare your pasta sauce ahead of time. Not a few days prior, but more so, the night before or the morning-of at most. Secondly, you can prep your sauteed tomatoes and green onions ahead of time as well. They can be cold when served, so making them in advance and storing in the fridge until ready to use is totally fine!
Yes. Feel free to pick another pasta you enjoy eating that pairs well with this sauce and crab. Regular pasta would work, or other pasta like penne and bowtie are often fun for seafood pasta dishes.
What To Pair With Crab Pasta
For a side dish, try this Fried Feta and Strawberry Salad or Lebanese Tabouli Salad, it’s fresh, bright and healthy!
As far as drinks, this Spicy Mango Margarita would be a great option along side dinner. For a dessert drink, I would absolutely go with this Creamy Espresso Martini. Or try a dry white wine, like a Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Sauvignon blanc, or Viognier. Cheers!
For an absolutely mouthwatering and surprisingly easy dinner, you’ll have to give this Cajun Crab Boil a try. It requires minimal ingredients and effort, but oh boy is it scrumptious. These Fresh Crab Tacos are so easy to whip up, and oh boy are they scrumptious. We can eat them for days! If you’re looking for another one-pot showstopper, try this Seafood Boil recipe. It’s what seafood dreams are made of! I make it often on special occasions.
Top fresh crab, shrimp or any seafood to this Creamy Beet Pasta recipe. It’s unique and so worth every bite! This Gnocchi and Mussel Soup is every bit Mediterranean meets pacific, with a creamy roasted tomato soup base and fresh basil to top! For a quick and simple seafood pasta, give this Tuna Pesto Pasta a try!
I LOVE HEARING FROM YOU! When you make this dish, please RATE using the ⭐️stars in the recipe card, and COMMENT at the end of the page how you enjoyed this dish. I love to connect with you in the comments section.
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Crab Pasta With Tomatoes and Lemon Garlic Sauce
- angel hair spaghetti or another type of spaghetti if you prefer
- 2 cups crab meat roughly 2 Dungeness crabs
- 2 stalks green onion diced
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes cut in half
Lemon Garlic Chimichurri Sauce
- 1½ cups roughly chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 1 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 10 cloves garlic
- ⅓ cup roughly chopped red onion
- ⅙ tsp red pepper flakes
- ½-1 tsp salt to taste
- ½ tsp black pepper
- Pick through the crab meat to remove any shells, then place in the fridge until ready to serve.
- Add all the dry sauce ingredients to a food processor and pulse until they're finely chopped. While the processor is on, slowly mix in the wet ingredients until combined.
- Place the sauce in the fridge to cool while preparing the rest of the dish.
- Cook the angel hair pasta to al dente, per the package instructions. While it's cooking, prepare the sauteed tomatoes.
- In a medium-sized skillet on medium-high heat, heat the olive oil then drop in green onions and tomatoes. Sautee on each side for a couple of minutes. You'll know they're done when the tomatoes are just starting to soften. Avoid overcooking by removing them from the heat immediately and setting them aside in a bowl to cool.
- Drain the pasta and allow it to cool.
- In a pasta bowl or rimmed plate, plate the pasta, then top with the sauce, then a spoonful of tomatoes and green onions, then the crab meat.
- Sprinkle extra salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice to serve.
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This looks SOOOOO good. Omg
Thank you! I’m a little obsessed with this crab recipe at the moment 🙂