Crab Pasta With Lemon, Watercress & Tomatoes


Yet another dish perfect to move us toward that spring feeling!

This pasta is a heavenly mixture of lemony zing, bright tomatoes, peppery watercress, and delicate crab.

The sauce for this pasta is velvety and creamy! No cream, no thickeners. Just the coming together of olive oil and crab.

The secret to making a creamy sauce, without dairy is vigorously mixing the ingredients for the pasta sauce. This emulsifies them and creates a velvety, silky sauce!

Notes about crab…

Don’t be intimidated by crab. Finding lump crab meat is way easier than you think. Of course, you can find it canned, right near the canned tuna. This crab is pasteurized, which results in less flavor, and a poor texture. I prefer fresh lump crab, which you can find in little yogurt-sized cups near the fresh seafood, often in the refrigerated case.

What is watercress?

This wonderful green leaf vegetable packs a punch! Raw, or slightly wilted, as it is in this dish, it adds a peppery crunch to the pasta. Watercress is found in the produce section, and sometimes you’ll find it with the root still attached.

Meyer lemons…

Meyer lemons have been at my market a lot lately, and I am taking full advantage! Meyer lemons are not as tart as regular lemons, and are a cross between an orange and lemon. They are more sweet, which makes perfect in this sauce.

Now, let’s get to cooking! You are going to love this one!

Difficulty: Beginner Prep Time 20 min Cook Time 10 min Total Time 30 mins
Servings: 4
Best Season: Suitable throughout the year


Lump crab comes together with bright lemon & tomato flavor. Olive oil, shallot and parsley combine to make a delightfully silky sauce.

You Need


Make Pasta FIlling/Sauce

    • In a small saucepan add 1 teaspoon of olive oil, garlic & shallots.

    • Cook until they begin to soften, 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

    • In a large bowl combine 1/4 cup olive oil, crab, a few grinds of pepper & a dash of salt. Mix well.

    • To the crab mixture add lemon juice, zest, and softened garlic & shallots.

Cook the Pasta

  1. Cold Water Pasta Method
    • Cover the pasta with 1 inch of water. Cover. 

    • Bring to a boil. Remove cover.

    • Boil until tender.
    I am a firm believer that pasta doesn't need to be cooked in a massive pot of boiling water. I have been using this cold water pasta method for a long time now, and it works perfectly. Stir the pasta occasionally, add enough kosher salt to make the water like salty sea water (to properly flavor the pasta) and watch it closely- nothing is worse than over cooked pasta!

To Assemble Pasta

    • Drain pasta.

    • Immediately toss pasta in crab sauce. 

    • Add parsley & watercress.

    • The heat from the pasta will warm up the sauce ingredients, and help the flavors of the parsley and watercress come together.
Keywords: crab pasta, watercress, summer pasta, light dinner recipes, tomatoes, seafood pasta
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