Mini Crab Bites

An easy elegant seafood appetizer recipe, tiny portions of crab meat served in "spoons" of endive. It's an indulgent small bite for special occasions but remains low-cal and low-carb.

Mini Crab Bites ♥, an easy, elegant appetizer recipe, tiny portions of crab meat served in 'spoons' of endive.

Real Food, Fresh & Inventive. Finger Food for Festive Gatherings. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special, Mere Minutes to the Table. Potluck & Party Friendly.

Recipe for a Pleasant Dinner Party

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

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 the New Year!

A collection of recipes for New Year's ♥

Easy Appetizers, Healthy Appetizers

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!
  • It's a low-calorie appetizer and a zero-point appetizer, so a definite winner in the calorie and Weight Watchers departments.
  • It's a low-carb appetizer, making it perfect for low-carb dieters and diabetics, both.

About This Recipe

  • This is an easy but elegant appetizer, small bites of crab mixed with corn and a citrus mayonnaise. Both crab and corn have a sweetness, this is offset by a touch of ground cumin. For "finger food," small scoops of the crab mix are served in a "spoon" of slightly bitter endive. The combination is inventive and alluring, without appearing fussy.
  • Distinctive Ingredients = crab, corn, citrus, cumin and endive
  • Short Ingredient List = corn + red onion + mayo + frozen orange juice concentrate + lemon zest + lemon juice + cumin + cayenne + fresh tarragon + salt & pepper + fresh or canned crab meat + endive
  • timing/cooking
  • This is a unique seafood appetizer, as much at home in an appetizer buffet as a single small bite during a festive gathering.
  • This is a time-friendly recipe, it takes just 15 minutes to pull the crab mix together either ahead of time or just before serving. Then it takes just a few more minutes to separate the "spoon" leaves from small heads of endive.
  • This is a calorie-friendly appetizer, in part because the portion sizes are small but also because it leans into healthy vegetables and seafood.
  • The ingredients are a little spend-y (the crab, the endive) but since the portion sizes are small, the expense goes a long way.
  • The recipe makes about 1-1/4 cups Crab Mix. If you assume a tablespoon of Crab Mix per endive leaf, that adds up to 20 appetizers. That said, a tablespoon is quite big here, I think you could easily get 30 or even 40. If you don't use it all for appetizers, it's easy to use up the next day, either with a few more appetizer bites or as a filling for brunch omelettes.
Tired of the same old vegetables the same old ways? Try endive, the bitter lettuce, either raw or cooked. Recipes & inspiration in this collection of Endive Recipes ♥ Many Weight Watchers, vegan, gluten-free, low-carb, paleo and whole30 recipes, from weeknight easy to weekend special.

What Is Endive?

The crab mix itself is delicious, just crab meat with bits of corn and onion. Sure, you could just dump it in a bowl with some crackers alongside.

But here, the crab mix is presented in tiny portions in "spoons" of slightly bitter endive leaves.

Endive? Yes, endive! It's pronounced variously as [EN-dive] and [ON-deev] and [on-DEEV].

That's the pale, tight football-shaped heads of small lettuce found near other salad greens in high-end supermarkets. Some times it's labeled Belgian endive, also witloof.

FYI there are more recipes using endive at A Veggie Venture. Good stuff, endive!

Bookmark! PIN! Share!

How do you save and share favorite recipes? recipes that fit your personal cooking style? a particular recipe your mom or daughter or best friend would just love? If this special holiday appetizer recipe hits the mark, go ahead, save and share! I'd be honored ...

Mini Crab Bites ♥, an easy, elegant appetizer recipe, tiny portions of crab meat served in 'spoons' of endive.


Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 15 minutes (can be made ahead)
Makes 1-1/4 cups Crab Mix for at least 20 appetizers but likely more
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels (see ALANNA's TIPS)
  • 1/4 cup very 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, finely chopped
  • Salt & pepper to taste

  • 8 ounces fresh or canned crab meat (see TIPS)
  • 2 - 3 endive heads, leaves separated, ends trimmed (see TIPS)
  • A small spoonful of Crab Mix, one per endive "spoon"
  • Fresh tarragon leaves, for garnish

CRAB MIX Combine all the ingredients except the crab meat. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Gently stir in the crab, breaking up the flesh without mashing it to mush.

Stop here and refrigerate the Crab Mix if making in advance, as much as 24 hours before serving.

ASSEMBLE Place a small spoonful of crab in the "bowl" of each endive leaf. Top with fresh tarragon. Arrange on a platter and serve immediately.

ALANNA's TIPS In summer, use fresh corn, it's so tender, there's no need to cook it, just scrape the kernels off, see How to Cut Corn Off the Cob, Keeping All Ten Fingers, Capturing Every Delicious Kernel and Every Drop of Sweet Corn "Milk". In winter, you can use frozen corn but cook briefly in the microwave, then drain well. That said, do look for ears of fresh corn even in winter. That's because the kernels are smaller, that's helpful in an appetizer where the scoops of Crab Mix are so small. I use 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. Don't worry about using up those inner leaves or extra heads, endive is a great addition to salads, the bitterness is just wonderful. Save the leftover Crab Mix (or make extra!) for the best-ever omelettes, perfect for a late 'n' lazy breakfast at home on New Year's Day.

FOR MORE INFO If you "skipped straight to the recipe," please scroll back to the top of this page for ingredient information, ingredient substitutions, tips and more. If you print this recipe, you'll want to check the recipe online for even more tips and extra information about ingredient substitutions, best results and more. See .
NUTRITION INFORMATION (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 Sorry, due to technical issues during a laptop conversion, Weight Watchers points will be updated later.

More Seafood Appetizers

~ appetizer recipes ~
~ New Year's recipes ~
Potato Bites with Smoked Salmon ♥, an easy appetizer with an elegant appearance, tiny potato halves stuffed with smoked salmon in a sour cream & horseradish sauce.

Easy Shrimp Bites ♥, just four pantry ingredients, a snap to assemble.

Smoked Salmon Spread ♥, just smoked salmon plus a few pantry ingredients.

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

~ corn recipes ~
~ crab recipes ~
~ endive recipes ~
~ All Recipes, By Ingredient ~
~ How to Save Money on Groceries ~

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail, you'll find my current address in the FAQs. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

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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