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Maryland's Winning Recipe: Maryland Crab Lettuce Cups

“Feeling blue or crabby? This tasty pick-me-up highlights Maryland blue crab meat, which is with other ingredients in a Bibb lettuce cup that can be rolled up for fun eating. Working with my mom, we nixed some ingredients and reduced others. We also reworked proportions and used fresh-frozen foods in place of some items not in season right now, to save money. I then presented two options to three tough critics: my preschool siblings, including a very picky eater. This dish got smiles and clean plates all around, so it’s a hands-down winner.”

Colby Trenor, Age 9, the 2016 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge winner from Maryland

Makes 8 Servings


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ pound Maryland blue crabmeat (lump or backfin)
  • 3 fresh limes, zested and juiced
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • ½ red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil or olive oil
  • 2 fresh oranges, juiced
  • 1 head of Bibb lettuce
  • ½ cup micro greens or salad greens
  • 1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and cut into thin slices
  • ½ cup low-fat Jack cheese, shredded


  1. In a large nonstick skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Add the crabmeat and zest of 1 lime and cook for 3 minutes, or until crab turns light brown. Remove crab to separate bowl and set aside.
  2. In the same pan, melt remaining tablespoon butter over medium heat, add the corn, red pepper, smoked paprika, cumin, and 1 tablespoon lime juice. Cook until kernels start to turn golden-brown, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.
  3. To make citrus dressing, in a small bowl, whisk together oil, remaining lime juice and zest, and all of the orange juice. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. To Assemble: Set out 8 plates and place two Bibb lettuce leaves on each plate, so that each leaf forms a cup shape. To each lettuce cup, add: 1 tablespoon micro greens, 2 tablespoons corn mixture, 2 tablespoons crab meat, and 1 tablespoon Jack cheese. Drizzle 2 teaspoons citrus dressing over each lettuce cup. Serve with avocado slices (not shown) over each lettuce cup.

143 calories 8g fat 11g carbohydrates 8g protein

Colby serves this treat with Delmarva Chips—baked whole-wheat tortillas dusted with seasonings and sea salt—and an Apple-Tomatillo Green Salsa.