Lobster rolls are divine. Moules-frites is our favorite alfresco dinner of all time. We’ve never met a shrimp boil we didn’t like. But crab cakes hold a special place in our heart. They’re flaky, meaty, sweet, savory and taste like summer. So, they’re basically a guaranteed homerun when it comes to your dinner party menu…but they don’t pair as well with baked beans and mac and cheese as some other barbecue mains. Wondering what to serve with crab cakes? Here are 30 ideas.

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1. Crispy Roasted Artichokes

Whether you’re using canned or fresh artichokes, you won’t be able to put these golden nuggets of bliss down. (P.S. Make a double batch the garlic aioli and serve with lemon wedges—no crab cake is complete without a citrusy sauce.)

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2. Light and Tangy Coleslaw

Burgers, dogs, pulled pork—this crowd-pleaser goes well with pretty much every summer main imaginable, and crab cakes are no exception. Slather each cake with a layer of tartar sauce or an aioli of your choice, then place a generous mound of coleslaw right on top.

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3. Easy Pretzel Buns

Want to turn your crab cake into a sandwich? There’s no better way to do it justice than with homemade bread. We have a feeling this pairing is the start of a killer crab cake BLT.

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4. Grilled Mango Salsa

Tropical fruit and seafood go together like peanut butter and jelly. The mango, onions, tomatoes and jalapeños are also charred before being combined, giving the salsa an irresistible smoky nuance that just won’t quit.

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5. Avocado Rice

Chipotle has nothing on this creamy side dish that pairs well with just about every protein under the sun. Spritz the crab cake with fresh lime and top it with pico de gallo before serving.

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6. Herby Shoestring Fries

Don’t let the frying intimidate you. These itty-bitty fries are so thin that they only require a small amount of oil to turn crisp and golden brown.

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7. Rainbow Vegetable Skewers

Brace yourself; We’re about to blow your mind. If you stick to one veggie per skewer, the pieces will cook evenly and at the same rate, meaning they won’t burn or stay raw. You’re welcome.

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8. Grilled Corn with Spicy Aioli

Grilled and drizzled with sriracha mayo > boiled and drenched in butter and salt. It’s just a fact. Make sure you have enough spare aioli for the crab cakes.

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9. Summer Millet Salad

Quinoa? We don’t know her. Millet deserves your attention for its mild flavor, fluffy texture and limitless versatility. Here, it’s paired with fresh herbs, Havarti cheese and juicy cherry tomatoes.

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10. Mango Guacamole

So tangy and delicious that you’ll be double dip without even realizing. Serve the guac on the side with tortilla chips or crown each crab cake with a dollop.

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11. Grilled Watermelon-Feta Skewers

Tangy cheese, sweet watermelon and fresh basil each complement crab cakes in their own special way. Make it a meal by serving the skewers over a simple arugula salad.

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12. Easy Zucchini Chips

This summer favorite got a seriously satisfying makeover. Substitute fries with these three-ingredient chips that are baked, not fried.

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13. 15-Minute Lemony Broccolini Pasta

It’s basically a given that any citrusy side will get along great with seafood. Since this dish cooks up in 12 minutes flat, we’re predicting a whirlwind romance between it and our crab cakes. Feel free to serve the pasta cold if you’re eating outdoors.

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14. Chilled Cucumber Salad

Helloooo, refreshment. This five-ingredient side is a total cinch to put together, but powerful enough to combat the hottest summer day. The toughest part is waiting for the veggies to marinate.

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15. 15-Minute Cucumber-Avocado Blender Soup

It only requires a teensy bit more effort than opening a can. Just toss everything into your blender, purée until smooth and serve with an Asiago-topped toasted baguette.

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16. Grilled Caprese Skewers with Halloumi and Sourdough

Our favorite kind of salad? The kind that’s mostly bread and cheese, duh. This combo of melty halloumi, toasted sourdough and sweet tomatoes is one you’ll want at every future picnic you host, trust.

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17. Kale and Brussels Sprout Caesar Slaw

Sorry cabbage, you’ll have to sit this one out. The best part is the Caesar-inspired vegan dressing made from almonds, sunflower seeds and a few pantry staples. (Psst: If you need help shredding the Brussels, we’ve got you covered.)

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18. One-Pot, 15-Minute Pasta Limone

Eight ingredients, one skillet, tons of flavor. All you have to do is toss everything in a pot and boil. Top each bowl of spaghetti with a plump crab cake to make it more satiating.

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19. Shredded Thai Salad with Avocado

Substitute protein-rich smoked tofu with a crab cake or two and this farmers market beauty is ready to devour. The zingy ginger-soy dressing is just the jolt mild, sweet crab needs.

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20. Broccoli Rabe and Burrata with Lemon

TBH, we’d nosh on this seven-ingredient veggie side solo. But we also have an inkling that a crab cake is just the soulmate for bitter broccoli rabe, creamy burrata, toasted pistachios and fresh lemon.

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21. Grilled Cheese Crostini

Balsamic-macerated strawberries may seem like an odd pairing at first but hear us out. Their sweetness and the vinegar’s tang are just the foil for savory, salty crab meat. The grilled bread is just a bonus.

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22. Cold Lemon Zoodles

When it’s just too damn hot to turn on the stove, spiralized zucchini has your back. Here, it’s tossed in a zesty Dijon-lemon sauce before being topped with sliced radishes and fresh thyme.

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23. Grilled Flatbread Pizza with Artichoke, Ricotta and Lemon

Store-bought flatbread makes this barbecue star only a 40-minute feat. Its creamy texture and citrusy notes also make it tender crab’s match made in heaven.

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24. Corn and Tomato Salad with Feta and Lime

It doesn’t get more quintessentially summer than corn and tomato in one dish. Pick the best of the bunch at the farmers market and spruce them up with salty feta, fresh lime and chopped cilantro.

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25. Grilled Watermelon Steaks

Not only are these watermelon wedges seared on the grates, but they’re also dusted with a bold spice rub, just like a cut of beef. The arugula-herb side salad is equally as refreshing.

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26. Salt-and-Vinegar Roasted Potatoes with Feta and Dill

Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, just like French fries. The difference here is that the potatoes are boiled in vinegar for extra tang before being tossed in olive oil, salt and herbs.

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27. Summer Rolls

Confession: When the weather’s warm and the night is young, we could definitely scarf down a dozen of these refreshing handhelds. Might we suggest dipping your crab cake in the sweet chili sauce, too?

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28. All Green Crudités Basket

This centerpiece will wow your guests, so much so that they’ll never guess it only took you ten minutes to put together. Once you blanch the green beans and broccoli and assemble, it’s ready to serve.

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29. Sriracha Shrimp Skewers with Collard Peach Salad

This salad has a secret: peach balsamic vinegar. It strikes just the right balance between sweet and acidic. Swap the shrimp skewers for crab cakes or heck, go ahead and make both.

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30. Chopped Italian Salad Pizza

When you break it down, all a crab cake is really missing is something carby and something fresh. This pie has both, in the form of easy store-bought pizza crust, Bibb lettuce, microgreens and red onion.

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