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Creamy Tomato Crab Pasta Sauce Recipe

by Jeanette on September 2, 2013 · 37 Comments
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This Creamy Tomato Crab Pasta Sauce is rich and decadent tasting, but oh so light. A unique technique is used to create a creamy texture with virtually no fat.
Creamy Tomato Crab Pasta © Jeanette's Healthy Living

This pasta dish is something I came up with just before my oldest son returned to college a few weeks ago. As a poor college student, he always looks forward to eating at home, so I try to make it special, especially the last few days he’s with us.

Creamy Tomato Crab Pasta © Jeanette's Healthy Living

My son loves crab in just about everything, so I decided to make crab pasta in a creamy tomato sauce, just a healthier version. Often crab pasta is made with heavy cream, and although it’s always a treat to eat something so decadent, I wanted to make a creamy pasta dish that was actually pretty light, but tasted rich and creamy.

The toasted garlicky bread crumbs on top make this crab pasta dish extra fun to eat. At first my boys were skeptical of these little crunchy bits, but I found them sneaking more on top.

Creamy Tomato Crab Pasta © Jeanette's Healthy Living

Recently, I read in The Yogurt Cookbook by Arto Der Haroutunian that if you mix yogurt with an egg before adding it to a sauce, that the yogurt won’t separate. I’ve been using that trick in all sorts of recipes and it works great.

Greek yogurt is a great substitute for full-fat products in so many recipes, both cooking and baking. I’ve used it in dips and dressings, marinades, in macaroni and cheese, and in baked goods as a substitute for mayonnaise, sour cream, cream cheese, butter and heavy cream.

In this Creamy Tomato Crab Pasta recipe, Greek yogurt replaces the heavy cream yet yields a rich creamy sauce.

Creamy Tomato Crab Pasta © Jeanette's Healthy Living

When I told my son that there was yogurt in his pasta, he couldn’t believe it. I hope you’ll give this pasta recipe a try. It’s our new favorite.

5 from 1 reviews
Creamy Tomato Crab Pasta Sauce
Serves: 6
  • 1 pound dried gluten-free pasta, cooked al dente
Breadcrumb Topping
  • 2 slices gluten-free whole grain bread, processed into fine crumbs
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Crab Pasta Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound lump or jumbo fresh crab meat
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 5 large tomatoes, chopped
  • ¼ cup Citron vodka
  • ⅓ cup non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 scallions, minced
Breadcrumb Topping
  1. Place breadcrumbs, oil, and garlic in saute pan and toss well. Season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium-low heat until browned and crunchy. Set aside.
Crab Pasta Sauce
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large saute pan; add garlic and saute until lightly browned. Remove half of the garlic from the pan and set aside. Add crab meat to pan and toss gently. Remove to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Return reserved garlic to pan and add 1 tablespoon olive oil and red pepper flakes; heat. Add tomatoes and cook until they break down, about 10 minutes. Add vodka and cook 3-4 minutes for flavor to get absorbed. Whisk together yogurt and egg in a small bowl; slowly whisk into tomatoes; heat through. Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth. Return pureed sauce to pan; season with salt and pepper. Add sauteed crab meat and heat through.
  3. Cook pasta, reserving one cup of pasta water.
  4. To serve, toss cooked pasta with Crab Pasta Sauce, adding some pasta water as needed to loosen up pasta. Sprinkle with scallions and Breadcrumb Topping just before serving.

Disclosure: Chobani sent me some Greek yogurt to experiment with and I’ve been having fun coming up with healthier recipes.

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  1. Ohhh, I am going to have to try this. Looks delish and I love Greek yogurt.

  2. I love crab too! This is definitely my pasta!

    • Angie – I’m originally from Maryland and grew up with crab, so I’m so glad my kids love it too. Hope you have a chance to try this – it’s become a family favorite.

  3. My boys love crab too, and I can see why this has become a favorite. It looks delicious!!

  4. such a delicious pasta,lovely colors and scrumptious flavors…loved the addition of citron vodka in the sauce,yummy :-)

    • Thanks Kumar – I don’t use spirits often in cooking but recently saw it used to add flavor so I’ve been playing with it more.

  5. Scrumptious pasta dish!

  6. I make a very similar dish but with lobster (’cause it’s so cheap up here). This look amazing!

  7. That’s my kind of pasta! My tummy is growling by just looking at the photos!

    • Thanks Angie – hope you have a chance to try this. I’ve got some crab in my fridge waiting for me to make this again.

  8. This looks like a fabulous dish! I know it would be a big hit in my house!

    • Thanks Kathy – this is a special treat since my kids love crab. I was thrilled that I could use Greek yogurt to lighten this up so my husband and I could enjoy it too.

  9. How tasty does this pasta look! Love crab so definitely going to give this a whirl :)

  10. Wow! I can’t eat the pasta but that sauce looks phenomenal. I will have to try it over some zucchini noodles or something!

    • Carolyn – this would be great over zucchini noodles. I’ve been using Greek yogurt in place of heavy cream in my soups and sauces and it works great!

  11. How cool is that! I didn’t know the egg yogurt trick and I was looking for a solution to this problem Jeanette. I am in love wit your pasta and I hope I ll get some fresh crab soon. =)

  12. That’s a fantastic looking pasta! Reminds me of Singapore chilli crab :)
    Never thought of using yogurt in pasta before, love the idea! Can’t wait to try this! Thanks for posting :)

    • Thanks Fern – I’ve never tried Singapore chili crab but it’s been on my list to try for a while. Hope you enjoy this pasta recipe!

  13. I’m so intrigued by the egg mixed in with the Greek Yogurt trick! Great recipe, especially with the added crunch on top. My kids don’t care for crab, so maybe I’ll make this for my hubby for a date night….if we ever get one :-)

  14. What a great tomato pasta sauce, Jeanette! LOVE crab as well as the idea of adding Citron vodka vs. regular and Greek yogurt! I must try this over gluten-free or spaghetti squash noodles! Thanks for sharing, my friend. Pinning!

  15. So…….delicious………must make more…….

  16. Oh Jeanette, this is like my dream pasta! I became allergic to crab (worst thing ever!) but I once in a while eat it because I simply cannot resist. This pasta looks SOOOOOOO delicious. I can eat this everyday. 😀

    • Nami, so sorry to hear you’re allergic to crab. I think my kids could eat this practically every day if I made it.

  17. The pasta looks delicious , hope to try it next time . I wonder if there is anything that i can replace citron vodka?

  18. This is so good

  19. Hi Janet.. going to try your recipe but i cant find greek yoghurt where we live. Can i use just plain yoghurt instead of greek yoghurt , mixed with the egg ? Will it still work ? Thanks

  20. I was looking for a last minute recipe to cook this past valentine’s day and decided on this Crab pasta recipe. My boyfriend loved it and so did I! Very delicious and really liked how light it turned out. Thanks for the recipe! I’ll definitely make it again.

    • Jessica, so glad you tried this and you and your boyfriend loved it! Thanks so much for coming back to let me know how it turned out. Hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

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