The phrase “the more the merrier” has transformed from casual phrase to personal life calling. This time of year, I want to have people over all the time! Since you’re not allowed to enter my house without my attempting to feed you, fast yet classy appetizers like these Crab Artichoke Toasts are exactly the recipes I need. They feel special enough for the holidays BUT (and this is key), they are fast and easy, so I can pull them together on a whim. If you already know you’ll be hosting, these crab appetizers can be made in advance, so they are ideal for holiday party planning too.
Since our new home is more centrally located, I’ve been on a hosting spree. It’s been so fun and rewarding to message friends on a whim to see if they want to swing by after work for a quick drink.
And naturally, where there are quick drinks, there must also be quick food.
I find that offering guests a little something to eat with their drink goes a long way to making them feel special, even it’s a friend I’ve known for years and we’re sipping Trader Joe’s wine in our sweatpants. I don’t have to cook—99% of the time it’s cheese, crackers, and a handful of dark chocolate M&Ms—but the gesture is always appreciated (and my post-20s self appreciates it the next day too).
While my friends are happy with chips and salsa, every now and then, I love to surprise them with something a little more special like these Crab Artichoke Toasts or Whipped Feta Crostini. This is especially true at the holidays, when taking time to prepare food for and savor it with the people we love is more integral to the season than any number of twinkling lights or wrapping paper.
A Crab Appetizer Recipe for Any Occasion
These easy crab appetizers are ideal for any gathering, whether you’ve been planning it for weeks or just texted your friend an hour ago.
The crab and artichoke topping only takes a few minutes to stir together and can last in your refrigerator for two days. You can slice the baguette a day ahead as well. Before your guests arrive, all you need to do is quickly top the baguette slices, pop them under the broiler, then voila! Three minutes later, you have a plate of crab appetizers fit for a king.
If you’re not sure when you’ll need these apps but want to be prepared in case you feel inspired to host an impromptu gathering? (Or a family member shows up at your door unannounced?) All of the ingredients you need to make this crab appetizer topping have a good shelf/refrigerator life, so you can purchase them now, then keep them at the ready.
Ingredients You Will Need to Make Crab Artichoke Toasts
- Crab. I used 4 ounces of canned lump crab meat, and it was sweet, delicious, and did not taste at all “fishy.” If you are feeling splurgy, you can buy fresh crab instead, but I love the fact that I can keep the canned version on hand in my pantry so I have it as needed (and the price point of canned is much better too). You could also make this an imitation crab appetizer, though I did honestly prefer the taste of the canned lump crab meat over the imitation crab that I’ve tried.
- Artichoke. Another victory for pantry staples. Canned artichoke hearts are perfect. Buy them quartered and pat them dry before chopping and adding them to the topping so that it doesn’t become too watery.
- Greek Yogurt. Where most crab appetizers call for mayo, I swapped Greek yogurt. I served these to a group of four friends and NO ONE KNEW. Greek yogurt is thick and creamy, and the fact that it makes this recipe more of a healthy crab appetizer is welcome reprieve from the usual heavy holiday lineup.
- Cheese. Pick one that’s flavorful and melty (I used fontina; gruyere or gouda would also be delish), then add it along with Parmesan, which rounds out the flavor with its subtly salty, nutty bite.
- Baguette. I go for a simple French baguette here. Multigrain or sourdough would be delicious too. Look for something long and skinny so that the toasts are more bite sized. That’s my favorite way to serve them.
No baguette on hand? You can still make this recipe! Here’s how:
More Ways to Serve Crab Appetizers
- Crab Artichoke Bites on Crackers. If you don’t have a baguette on hand, you can turn this into a cold crab appetizer by scooping the topping on crackers. Simply pile it on the crackers, arrange it on a plate, then serve. I ate our leftovers this way, and it was scrumptious.
- Crab Appetizers in Phyllo Cups: Keep a box of mini phyllo shells in your freezer and you’ll have them anytime you need. To serve, bake the shells as directed, then fill them with the crab artichoke topping. You can either serve them cold or pop them back in the oven to serve them warm. If you purchase the phyllo shells but don’t use them for this recipe, you can always make these Fig Goat Cheese Phyllo Bites or these Sundried Tomato Pesto Bites.
The next time you are having a friend over, set out a plate of these Crab Artichoke Toasts. Go ahead and break out the bubbly (company is always a good reason for opening a bottle champagne you wouldn’t feel justified drinking alone). Sip, munch, chat, and savor. It’s the kind of night that doesn’t take much planning yet rewards bountifully with beautiful conversation, big laughs, and memories.
Crab Artichoke Toasts
- 1 (10-ounce) whole-wheat baguette cut into 24 (1/4-inch-thick) slices
- 1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley divided
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest (1 small lemon will be plenty for both the zest and juice)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (1 small lemon will be plenty for both the zest and juice)
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 ounces gruyere cheese shredded, about 1/2 cup (fontina or gouda would be great too!)
- 1 ounce Parmesan cheese finely grated, about 1/4 cup
- 1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts drained, patted dry, and roughly chopped
- 1 (4-ounce) can lump crab meat drained
- Place the oven rack in the upper third of the oven. Turn on the broiler to high. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut the baguette into 1/4-inch slices (you should have about 24 total). Arrange in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
- In a large bowl, stir together the Greek yogurt, 2 tablespoons parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Stir in the gruyere and Parmesan, then gently fold in the artichokes and crab. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
- Spoon 1 heaping tablespoon of the artichoke-crab mixture onto each baguette slice. Broil until the cheese begins to melt, about 3 minutes. Watch very carefully the entire time so that the toasts do not burn. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon fresh parsley. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- Make-ahead tips: Crab mixture can be prepared and refrigerated 1 to 2 days in advance (1 is ideal but 2 is doable). Baguette can be sliced 1 day ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature. Top the toasts and broil shortly before serving.
- Recipe adapted from Cooking Light
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