Pistachio-Crusted Crab Cakes with Quinoa


pistachio-crabcake-avocadoHappy National Pistachio Day!   To celebrate this special day,  Setton Farms and California Farm Water Coalition offered to send us some of their premium California shelled pistachios, dry-roasted with sea salt…did I hear that correctly?  SHELLED pistachios?  Be still my heart.

The task at hand was to create a recipe using these premium pistachios.   Would someone please tell The Farmer (my dear husband) that he can’t eat an entire bag of shelled pistachios by the hand-full because his blogging wife is planning to use them for recipes?  Nevertheless, I did manage to come up with these pistachio-crusted crab cakes with quinoa for Sunday supper…and they were sooo good!  (recipe later in the post…just scroll down to find it)

A few facts about California pistachios:  Pistachios were introduced to California’s Central Valley after American botanist William E. Whitehouse collected individually selected nuts in Persia (known now as Iran) and brought them back to the USA in 1930.  Pistachio trees take from seven to ten years to mature…a long time to care for a tree and wait for a crop!  It takes one male tree to pollinate up to 30 female trees…no bees are necessary as pistachios are wind pollinated.  California has over 250,000 acres of pistachios, planted in 22 counties.  The annual “farm gate value” of pistachios represents more than $1.16 billion to the California economy.   There is a wealth of information as well as recipes on the American Pistachio Growers website, so be sure to visit!

National-Pistachio-daySetton Pistachio of Terra Bella, Inc. is one of the largest pistachio growers and processors in the United States, located in the heart of the San Joachin valley in California.  A family owned and operated pistachio company since the ’80s, their pistachios are widely regarded as “America’s Best Tasting Pistachios” because of their great taste and superior quality.  With ownership of over 10,000 acres of planted pistachios and facilities on over 50 acres, Setton has the  ability to focus on every step of the process of growing, harvesting, processing, manufacturing and packaging pistachios,  and employs the best strategies and practices in the industry for food-safety, quality and wholesomeness.

Setton Farms is offering a new gluten & dairy free snack called Pistachio Chewy Bites that is GMO free, has very low sodium and  6 grams of protein per serving. Made with pistachios and dried cranberries with agave nectar, these tasty treats are the perfect snack when you need something crunchy, chewy and not too sweet.

Chewy-Bites-CollageI love that they are individually packaged, so I can carry a few in my handbag when I’m going to a rehearsal or out for the afternoon…I’ll have a healthy snack with me so I can easily ward off  temptation.

chewy-bite edited


Now let me tell you about those yummy pistachio-crusted  crab cakes!  I started with a bag of Setton Farms shelled pistachios, a knife and a cutting board.

pistachios-crabcakes-collageI mixed up the crab cakes  in a mixing bowl and pressed each crab cake into the chopped pistachios.   Since I used quinoa in the crab cake “batter”  the cakes didn’t hold together as well as I expected,  but I learned with practice to make the cakes small enough that they would hold their shape.



After pressing the crab cake into the pistachios on both sides, I sautéed them in butter and olive oil.

crabcakes-brownedTurn them over when they’re brown,  lower the heat and cover to let them cook all the way through.




The pistachios are already roasted, so the  crust on these crab cakes adds nutty flavor and a crunchy texture to the tender crab cakes.  Instead of using all bread crumbs, I added quinoa as a healthy addition.

crabcake-avocado-plateServe these crab cakes with sliced avocados…the color of the pistachios is so close to the color of these  California Fuerte avocados!

Pistachio-crusted Crab Cakes With Quinoa


16 oz crab meat

1 beaten egg

1 tablespoon dijon mustard

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

1 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon seafood seasoning

hot sauce (optional)

1 1/4 cups cooked quinoa

1/4 cup bread crumbs

1 cup Setton Farms Premium California Shelled Pistachios, dry roasted with sea salt,  chopped

1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl except for the crabmeat, bread crumbs, quinoa and pistachios.  Gently fold in the crab meat, quinoa and bread crumbs.  If the batter is too moist, add more bread crumbs.  Form small crab cakes by hand,  and press both sides of each cake into the chopped pistachios.   Heat the butter and olive oil in a skillet and brown the crab cakes on both sides.  Cover the pan, lower the heat and cook another 2 -3 minutes.   Serve with avocado slices and whole pistachios.

crabcake-avocado-plateIt doesn’t matter if you make the crab cakes too big and they fall apart.  Just pile them on a plate with more avocado slices and some whole pistachios.  Perfect Sunday supper!

Thank you to Setton Farms for providing pistachios and Pistachio Chewy Bites for this post.  Thank you to the California Farm Water Coalition for organizing our National Pistachio Day celebration and for sending the products to me.








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