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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Crab casserole works for brunch, dinner

 •  Saying mahalo with a Christmas feast

By Elaine Magee

Q. I have an old cookbook that has this recipe for crab strata. It calls for 8 eggs and half a stick of butter, so I'm hoping you can do your thing and lighten it up in time for the New Year.

A. This is a nice crab casserole that can be served any time of day, as a brunch or dinner dish. The 4 tablespoons of melted butter are used to line the bottom of the dish and to coat the croutons that are added next. I cut out the whole shebang and coated the dish with canola cooking spray and used seasoned croutons (possible flavors: garlic and butter flavor, garlic and herb, caesar) that have 1 gram or less of fat per 10 gram serving of croutons. I used a little less of the croutons than the recipe called for.

Instead of 2 cups of regular cheddar, I used 1 1/2 cups of reduced-fat sharp cheddar; and instead of whole milk, I used fat-free half-and-half (but you can use whatever milk you have in the refrigerator). For the 8 eggs, I used 4 higher omega-3 eggs and 1 cup of egg substitute. I used a bit less crab than the recipe called for, mainly for cost reasons, and I added in some chopped red pepper and green onions, both adding welcome flavor, color and nutrients. The light and tasty version has 40 percent fewer calories, two-thirds less fat, 70 percent less saturated fat and half the cholesterol of the original.

Original recipe contains 527 calories, 32 grams fat, 17 grams saturated fat and 430 milligrams cholesterol per serving.


  • 3 cups of seasoned croutons (if large croutons, use 4 cups)

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese

  • 4 large eggs, (higher omega-3 eggs if available)

  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

  • 1/2 teaspoon seafood seasoning, such as Bay Seasoning

  • 1 cup egg substitute

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 1/2 cups fat-free half-and-half

  • 1 3/4 cups crabmeat

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper

  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions, white and part of green

  • 1 avocado, sliced, for garnish (optional)

    Heat oven to 325 degrees. Coat an 11-by-7 inch baking dish (or a deep 9-by-9 inch baking dish) with canola cooking spray.

    Spread croutons on the bottom of the dish and top with the shredded cheese; set aside.

    Add eggs, dry mustard and seafood seasoning to mixing bowl and beat on medium until well combined (scrape sides of bowl with spoon or spatula). Add in egg substitute, black pepper and fat-free half-and-half, and beat on medium-low until combined. Pour egg mixture over cheese in dish.

    In 4-cup measure, toss crab, red bell pepper and green onions together to blend well. Sprinkle crab mixture over the egg mixture and press gently on the crab mixture. Bake 50 minutes or until the mixture is nicely set. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before eating. Serve each slice with a few slices of avocado garnish if desired.

    Makes 6 servings.

  • Per serving: 330 calories, 31 g protein, 23 g carbohydrate, 12 g fat, 4.6 g saturated fat, 4.7 g monounsaturated fat, 1.6 g polyunsaturated fat, 180 mg cholesterol, 1.5 g fiber, 700 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 33 percent. Omega-3 fatty acids, .6 g. Weight Watchers points, 7. Omega-6 fatty acids .9 g.

    Elaine Magee is a registered dietitian. Learn more at www.recipedoctor.com.