One of the perks of having kids is I can now pretend that all the holiday decorations I put up are for them, but reeeeeally it's 'cause *I* like them. Valentines Day is no exception. The hearts! The flowers! Red + Pink 4Ever!
How cute is this decoration from Dollar Tree?
(I may like decorations but I'll always be budget-friendly!)
Do you like to celebrate big or small? My husband and I go all-out with a meal at home. Even pre-pandemic, we prefer to put together a steak & seafood meal and dessert rather than go to a restaurant. Nothing more romantic than putting on your stretchy pants in anticipation of a big meal in the comfort of your own home!
In any case, I made these crab cakes as a V-Day contender. This recipe might be polarizing, because, well, said budget had me buying imitation crab meat instead of the real thing. You know what? These were totally bomb even with the affordable pick. I used shredded zucchini in these, which not only adds some nutrition, but allows these to be good-sized without excess calories. I should mention that the crab alternative that I did use (from Aldi) was a mix of pollock and true crab meat. What that ratio truly might be is a mystery, but again- bomb! I ended up making my own tartar sauce too, since I had the ingredients on-hand.
We're also baking these instead of frying, but just to be fun, I still added some brushed-on melted butter. It gives all the flavor, but still allows the calories to be reigned in.
Zucchini Crab Cakes
-1 large zucchini or 2 medium zucchini, shredded (about 2 cups)
-16 oz crab meat (either imitation or true crab meat)
-1/2 cup mayo (go for the regular ol' mayo here)
-1/3 cup panko
-1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning (my grocery store was all out, so I used my own blend of celery salt, pepper, and onion powder)
-1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
-1 teaspoon dried parsley (if you have fresh, great!)
-Dash of Worcestershire sauce
-2 tablespoons butter, melted
-Lemon, for garnish
-1/2 cup mayonnaise
-1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
-2 tablespoons sweet relish
-1 teaspoon lemon juice
-Dash of hot sauce
-Pinch each of salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Using a kitchen towel, gently press down on your shredded zucchini to absorb as much moisture as you can. In a large bowl combine zucchini, crab, eggs, mayo, panko, Old Bay, garlic, parsley, and Worcestershire. If the mixture seems too wet, add a little bit more panko.
Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with a nonstick cooking mat or aluminum foil (if using foil, spray with nonstick cooking spray). Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop out 12 cakes. Gently press down on them to form patties. Bake for 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and brush melted butter on the tops, then switch the positions they were on- the sheet that was on the top rack now goes on the bottom, and vice versa. Bake for 10 more minutes. Remove from oven and carefully flip over the patties. Bake for ~5 more minutes. Both sides should be deep golden brown.
To make tartar sauce, combine all ingredients and refrigerate until ready to serve. Can be made up to 3 days in advance.
To serve, place 2 crab cakes on a plate. Squeeze with a wedge of lemon juice if desired. Dip into some tartar sauce and enjoy!
Makes six servings. Per serving: 483 calories, 24 grams carbohydrates, 33 grams fat, 22 grams protein, 791 mg sodium. This is a bit higher in calories and fat grams than what I typically post, but I do believe in having occasional splurges! Plus compare these nutrition stats with a typical restaurant crab cake serving: 1080 calories and 82 grams of fat.
Don't worry- even though this is a lightened-up recipe, it's still plenty okay to wear your comfy stretchy pants.