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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Creamy Tomato Crab Pasta Sauce
- 1 pound dried gluten-free pasta cooked al dente
- 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
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 5 large tomatoes chopped
- 1/4 cup Citron vodka
- 1/3 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
- 1 egg
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 scallions minced
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
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.
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.
Cook pasta, reserving one cup of pasta water.
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.
Jersey Girl Cooks says
Ohhh, I am going to have to try this. Looks delish and I love Greek yogurt.
The Greek yogurt is a great trick – I’ve been using it in lots of recipes lately. Hope you enjoy this!
Angie@Angie's Recipes says
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.
My boys love crab too, and I can see why this has become a favorite. It looks delicious!!
Ash – so funny that your boys like crab too. I think my boys would eat crab in just about anything.
Kumar's Kitchen says
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.
Sommer @ ASpicyPerspective says
Scrumptious pasta dish!
Brian @ A Thought For Food says
I make a very similar dish but with lobster (’cause it’s so cheap up here). This look amazing!
Brian – lobster would be phenomenal! You’re so lucky to live in an area where it’s so inexpensive.
Angie | Big Bear's Wife says
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.
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.
How tasty does this pasta look! Love crab so definitely going to give this a whirl 🙂
Thanks Di – the crab makes this a very special dish.
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!
Helene D'souza says
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. =)
Fern @ To Food with Love says
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!
EA-The Spicy RD says
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 🙂
Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen says
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!
So…….delicious………must make more…….
Thanks Maggie – so glad you enjoyed this!
Nami | Just One Cookbook says
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.
Carrie Foo says
The pasta looks delicious , hope to try it next time . I wonder if there is anything that i can replace citron vodka?
Thanks Carrie – you can use regular vodka (or just leave it out).
This is so good
Caralyn, so glad you enjoyed this recipe. Thanks for letting me know.
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
Laning – plain yogurt should work fine; if it is watery, just strain it in cheesecloth for a bit.
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!