Mini Crab Bites

An easy elegant appetizer recipe, tiny portions of crab meat served in 'spoons' of endive. A rich-tasting appetizer but still low-calorie, low-carb for Weight Watchers, zero Old Points and just one PointsPlus.

Mini Crab Bites

RECIPE for a
A round table, holding eight;
A hearty welcome and little state;
One dish set on a time,
As plain as you please, but always prime;
Anonymous words of wisdom,
discovered via The Writer's Almanac

Many of us will host or attend dinner parties over the remainder of the holidays, most especially on New Year's Eve.

I love this easy appetizer recipe, one first taken to a New Year's party in 1996 and served on special occasions ever since. But somehow, the recipe seems especially suited for New Year's, when we're still in celebration mode but at the same time, mentally and physically ready to lighten up and return to the normalcy of the New Year.

(Did you notice? Thanks to the small portion size, each bite of crab is only 15 calories, making it both a low-calorie appetizer and a zero-point appetizer, so a definite winner in the calorie and Weight Watchers departments. Plus, it's a low-carb appetizer, making it perfect for low-carb dieters and diabetics, both.)

The crab mix itself is delicious, just crab meat with bits of corn and onion, then presented in tiny portions in 'spoons' of slightly bitter endive leaves.

Endive? Yes, endive [EN-dyv, AHN-deev, ahn-DEEV], the pale, tight football-shaped heads of lettuce found near other salad greens in high-end supermarkets. Some times they're labeled Belgian endive, also witloof. (There are more recipes for endive at A Veggie Venture.)

Happy New Year, Kitchen Parade readers. May all our parties, whether for eight or eighty, whether 'plain' or 'prime', be altogether pleasant! See you in 2009!

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Send a favorite easy appetizer recipe to e-mail.
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Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 15 minutes (can be made ahead)
Makes 1-1/4 cups crab mix
  • 1/2 cup corn (see ALANNA's TIPS)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (low-fat works fine)
  • 1 tablespoon frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more, to taste)
  • 4 teaspoons fresh tarragon, chopped
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 8 ounces fresh or canned crab (see TIPS)

  • 2 - 3 endive heads, leaves separated, ends trimmed (see TIPS)

Mix all crab mix ingredients except the crab. Taste and adjust seasoning. Stir in the crab. (Stop here if making in advance, as much as 24 hours before serving.) Place a small spoonful of crab in the 'bowl' of each endive leaf. Arrange on platter and serve immediately.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE (assumes 1/2 tablespoon crab mix per leaf, so about 40 servings): 15 Calories; 0g Tot Fat; 0g Sat Fat; 6mg Cholesterol; 24mg Sodium; 1g Carb; 0g Fiber; 1g Sugar; 2g Protein; Weight Watchers Old Points 0, PointsPlus 0

ALANNA's TIPS In summer, use fresh corn so tender, no need to cook it. In winter, use frozen corn and cook briefly in the microwave, drain well. I've used both fresh crab meat and good canned crab meat that comes in not-cheap but less-expensive large cans at Costco and Sam's Club. An endive's inside leaves are much smaller than the outer leaves. If same-size leaves are important, you'll need more heads. Save the leftover crab mix for the best-ever omelettes, perfect for a late 'n' lazy breakfast at home on New Year's Day.

More Favorite Appetizer Recipes

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More Diet-Friendly Recipes

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Alanna,
    Excellent. I often serve smoked trout or salmon mouse in endive, this would be a nice change.

  2. Perfect, light appetizer for the New Year. We're trying to watch our carb intake too, so these might be a good choice to bring to our NY's party!

  3. Great idea for any sized party...even a party of one!

    Thanks for sharing and have a happy, healthy, prosperous 2009. I know it will be filled with lots of tasty treats.


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna