Crab cakes always remind me of vacations in Florida. Sitting out on the deck of a seafood restaurant watching the ocean waves roll in. As if this picture-perfect moment could get any better, we top it off with crab cakes. My all-time favorite seafood filled with chunks of sweet crab meat, bread crumbs, and dipped in a creamy sauce.
It is a staple food in Maryland and Virginia because of the abundance of blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay. But since its creation in the 1930’s, its popularity has, unsurprisingly, grown and is now commonly offered in restaurants all over the United States.
While a bite of crab cake will undoubtedly delight the taste buds, it’s far from being a full meal. You’ll need a few side dishes to transform this tasty treat into a satisfying meal.
Typically, restaurants serve crab cakes with a lemon wedge and some crackers, potato salad, or fries. But while all of that is fine, you can definitely spice things up a bit.
Whether you’re hosting a party, entertaining, or simply feeding your family, crab cakes are an excellent option for almost any occasion. Crab cakes might feel fancy, but they’re surprisingly easy to make. And a family favorite around our house!
So whatever the occasion may be, here are some fantastic side dishes that pair perfectly with crab cakes. Any of these dishes are sure to be a hit with your guests, so feel free to explore! A few complimentary sides will turn this appetizer into a crab cake feast. Try a few and let me know what you think.
1. Grilled Veggies
Nothing tastes better with the sweet and savory flavors of tender crab meat than some grilled veggies charred to perfection. So go ahead and pair your crab cakes with some smoky grilled corn, eggplant, squash, asparagus, and onions.
Plus, it adds some gorgeous colors to your plate. A great meal should not only taste great, but also look great!
2. Roasted Veggies
While grilling gives your veggies a nice char and smokiness, roasting them will caramelize and bring out their natural sweetness.
Roasted veggies give your crab cake a rustic but elegant feel, so if that’s the vibe you’re after, then go preheat your oven! It’s simple to make: just sprinkle some basil and fresh parsley on your veggies and into the oven they go. Give them a few minutes to roast and they’re done.
3. Herbed Potatoes
Potatoes are a fantastic side dish for crab cakes because they’re soft, tasty, and filling. If you roast your potatoes – they’ll taste even better. Here’s a tip when picking potatoes: choose the hard variety so they’re nice and crunchy – ideal examples are Yukon Gold and Russet potatoes.
Rinse your potatoes extremely well so you won’t have to peel the skins off. Slice them in small chunks and place them on a baking sheet. Drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil and season with your favorite herbs and spices. I add turmeric, oregano, parsley, and cilantro in mine. Don’t forget to flavor with salt and pepper. Roast the potatoes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes and they’re ready to go.
4. Corn Salad
If you’re going for that summer vibe that crab cakes definitely evoke, then you might want to take it a step further by pairing it with a refreshing corn salad. I assure you, nothing screams summer more than the combination of crab cakes and corn.
To make, combine corn kernels, basil, and scallions; and then drizzle it with a refreshing salt and vinegar dressing. Just imagine a sweet, crunchy, and tangy bowl of corn salad partnered with soft and flaky crab cakes – isn’t that divine?
While we’re on the subject of corn, a succotash salad is also a great accompaniment to crab cakes. The corn and lima bean combo makes a vibrant and flavorful salad that will round out your crab cake dinner nicely.
5. Green Salad
Whether it’s arugula and radish or mustard greens in vinaigrette, green salad is always a fantastic dish to serve with crab cakes. It’s light, refreshing, loaded with health benefits. Not to mention, very easy to prepare.
6. Colorful Slaw
Who says you have to limit your slaw veggies to cabbage and carrots? Come on, make this refreshing side dish more exciting by adding some color!
To make, combine a bag of pre-shredded bag of coleslaw mix, sunflower seeds, and creamy salad dressing. Drizzle with white vinegar dressing. You can also add some sugar for a bit of sweetness.
Not only do the combination of flavors work well with crab cakes, but the vibrant colors of the ingredients will also make your plate look more appetizing.
7. Grilled Avocados
Just like crab cakes, avocados are rich and creamy, so it goes without saying that these two taste great together.
And you know what makes avocados taste even more heavenly? Grilling them! Give your avocados a little char and see the difference. To make, place peeled and pitted avocado halves on a griddle and cook for 2-3 minutes on one side. Then flip them over and grill for another minute.
And, you can take your grilled avocados to another level by adding them to a salad. Combine lettuce, red onions, cherry tomatoes, and coriander, and top with sliced grilled avocados.
For the dressing, blend chives, basil, avocado, lime juice, garlic, a bit of hot sauce, white wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. Pour dressing over the salad and serve with crab cakes.
8. Chickpea Salad
Here’s another colorful salad that goes perfectly well with crab cakes. It’s got chickpeas, parsley, and celery enveloped in a tangy lemon herb dressing. It’s crunchy, refreshing, filling, and nutritious – everything you could ever want in a side dish.
Soup always works well with any fried food, that’s why gazpacho makes an excellent partnership with crab cakes. The smooth, sweet, and tart cold soup provides a nice contrast to the crispiness and richness of the crab cakes.
To make gazpacho, soak some day-old bread with water. Blend tomatoes with onions, garlic, celery stalk, cucumbers, bell pepper, olive oil, lemon juice, cilantro, mint leaves, salt, sugar, and pepper. And that’s it!
But you know what summer fruit tastes great in a gazpacho? Mangoes! Blend in some ripe mangoes in your gazpacho mix and see how incredibly well it goes with crab cakes.
10. Corn Chowder
Speaking of soup, here’s another one: corn chowder! It’s thick, creamy, sweet and savory, much like a crab cake. It’s a sweeter dish that pairs perfectly with the refreshing crab cakes.
11. Mango Salsa
This salsa is like no other – it makes use of our favorite summer fruit: mangoes. While salsa is usually paired with chips, it’s also terrific with crab cakes. Dip those tender cakes in a bowl of salsa and I guarantee it will blow your mind.
What I also like about mango salsa is it tastes great either hot or sweet. So it’s up to you if you want to keep it nice and simple or if you want to add a jalapeno kick to your tropical sauce.
Another great way to add flavor to your crab cakes is by giving it a nice dipping sauce. And when it comes to crab cakes, remoulade is perhaps its most popular dipping sauce. But, what is it, anyway?
Remoulade is a French condiment with an aioli or mayo base. It’s very similar to tartar sauce, but more yellow in color. It is sometimes flavored with curry and seasoned with paprika, capers, horseradish, and anchovies. It was initially meant to season meats but has now become the staple dipping sauce for fish cakes.
To make remoulade sauce, combine mayo, ketchup, mustard, shredded horseradish, capers, parsley, onion, and lemon juice. You may flavor it with Cajun seasoning and pepper if you wish.
13. Asparagus and Tomatoes
Here’s another healthy option that complements crab cakes well. You can also add some green jalapenos for a nice kick.
14. Bread Rolls
Since crab cakes look like burger patties anyway, why not eat them with some fresh bread rolls? You can buy them from your favorite bakery, but it’s more exciting if you bake them yourself.
When it comes to cocktails for crab cakes, a glass of Bloody Mary is your best bet. The flavors of tomatoes, peppers, and vodka complement the rich and savory taste of crab cakes.
Citrus beverages also add a nice light and summer vibe to your meal, so serve your guests with a glass of mojito or gimlet.
As for wine, you want to get one with lighter flavors, to balance out the heartiness of the crab cakes. That’s why champagne makes a fantastic choice. A medium to full-body white wine, Chardonnay, and Pinot Blanc will complement the dish well.