Salty, sweet, juicy, and oh-so-addictive, this quick and easy garlic butter sautéed imitation crab meat recipe is about to become your new favorite dish. It’s perfect for special occasions or even just a regular Monday night meal, as it can be whipped up in just 10 minutes. And guess what? It’s under 250 calories per serving as a main course. Not to mention, it’s absolutely scrumptious!
Why I’m Head Over Heels for This Recipe
Over the years, I’ve had my fair share of imitation crab meat, also known as kamaboko, at various sushi restaurants. Some were absolutely delicious (like when it’s featured in a chirashi sushi bowl), while others left me feeling so-so (like those grocery store California rolls with cream cheese). But let me tell you, this sautéed imitation crab recipe is a whole new level of deliciousness. With just a few complimentary ingredients and a short cooking time, it manages to retain its sweetness and tenderness.
The Secret to Mouthwatering Imitation Crab
Just like fresh crab meat, freshness is the key. If you buy imitation crab meat vacuum-sealed, make sure to keep it refrigerated and sealed until you’re ready to use it. The second secret is not to overcook it. Trust me, imitation crab meat tends to become dry and lose its lovely texture when overcooked. A few minutes in the pan with some butter or olive oil is all it needs. And the combination of garlic and Old Bay spice gives this recipe a delightful golden brown color.
More Ways to Enjoy Kamaboko, Kani, and Surimi
If you often find yourself with fake crab meat in your fridge, fear not! There are plenty of other fantastic recipes you can whip up. Here are a few of the best imitation crab recipes out there:
- Spicy Mango Kani Salad: A popular imitation crab salad found in sushi restaurants.
- Crab Rangoon: A delectable hot imitation crab dip with crispy wonton wrappers.
- Creamy Seafood Salad: A delightful dish that pairs well with imitation crab.
- Crab Casserole Recipes: Bubbly mozzarella cheese takes these recipes to the next level.
- Creamy Seafood Dips: Top them with salty parmesan cheese for ultimate satisfaction.
Moreover, imitation crab works as a great substitute for real crab meat in most recipes. So, don’t be afraid to get creative!
The Simple Ingredients that Make Magic Happen
This delicious recipe calls for just six ingredients, making it a budget-friendly and family-friendly option. The star of the show is the sweet imitation crab meat, also known as surimi, crab sticks, or kamaboko sticks. Blended with starch and flavorings, this seafood product is a more economical and hassle-free alternative to real crab meat. And let’s not forget the unbeatable Old Bay Seasoning. Its mild heat and savory blend of spices give this dish its incredible flavor. You only need a small amount, but feel free to double it if you’re an Old Bay fanatic!
Jazzing Things Up: Substitutions and Variations
Want to put your own spin on this sautéed imitation crab meat recipe? Here are a few easy substitutions and variations to suit your taste:
- Herbs + Spices: Feel free to experiment with different herbs like fresh dill, parsley, cilantro, tarragon, or thyme. If you don’t have fresh garlic on hand, you can use half a teaspoon of garlic powder instead.
- Butter: While I highly recommend using real butter for that rich flavor, you can substitute it with olive oil or any neutral vegetable oil if you prefer.
- Lemon Juice: If you don’t have any lemons, white wine or lime juice can be great substitutes. For an extra burst of lemony goodness, add in some lemon zest. But be careful not to add too much lemon juice, as it can overpower the dish. If you’re a fan of lemon pepper, this is the perfect opportunity to use it. Swap out a ¼ teaspoon of ground black pepper with ½ teaspoon of lemon pepper seasoning.
- Asian Butter Sautéed Krab: Craving restaurant-style flavors? Try this variation! Add in a ¼ teaspoon of grated ginger and half a cup of thinly sliced green peppers or snow peas when adding the garlic. Substitute lime juice for lemon juice and add a teaspoon of soy sauce. After cooking the crab meat, top it with chopped fresh cilantro and serve it with white rice.
- Add-ins: If you want to add a burst of freshness, consider adding half a cup of corn kernels, chopped fresh parsley, or finely diced red bell pepper to the pan along with the crab meat and green onions.
Serving Suggestions for the Perfect Meal
This sautéed imitation crab meat makes for an excellent main dish. Pair it with a fresh salad and some warm crescent rolls or bread for a delicious and satisfying meal. Personally, I love serving it with a good green salad or apple kale slaw. However, the possibilities are endless! You can also serve it over pasta or in toasted buns for a delightful twist.
For side dishes, consider Korean avocado, sautéed oyster mushrooms, or any fresh vegetables like steamed green beans, peas, corn, or edamame. These will perfectly complement the flavors of the sautéed crab meat. And if you’re looking for a perfect appetizer, try serving it on buttery crackers, toast points, squares of nori, or alongside crunchy kettle chips.
For a lighter version of crab rangoon, replace the creamy, cheesy, and high-calorie recipes with this garlic butter sautéed imitation crab meat. Serve it in crispy wonton cups or with tortilla chips. Equally tasty, but with fewer fat and calories!
Any leftovers can be chilled and used as filling for sushi rolls or coarsely chopped for a faux crab cake recipe. Just remember to refrigerate them within 2 hours of cooking for proper food safety. This recipe can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. While you can freeze the leftovers, the texture may suffer a bit, so it’s best to enjoy it fresh.
More Seafood Inspiration
If you’re craving more fantastic seafood recipes, be sure to check out these delights:
- Delicious Crab Cakes: A true seafood favorite.
- And many more!
For a peek into my culinary adventures, follow me on Instagram or Facebook. And don’t forget to grab my FREE printable weekly meal planner for more tasty inspiration.
Cheers, friends! Sabrina
Now, it’s time for you to give this incredible sautéed imitation crab meat recipe a whirl. Get the full recipe here. Enjoy!