TAMPA, Fla. — Chef Joe Garcia wanted to introduce crab into the sushi at WTR Pool and Grill and give it a holiday theme, so he created the Pumpkin Crab Cake Roll. 

It’s a seasonal item he’s featuring at the scratch kitchen that overlooks Tampa Bay.

"You’re going to get a nice little bit of sweetness from the crab, you're gonna get a nice bit of texture from the roasted pumpkin," Garcia said. "Then we’re going to finish off with a little bit of sweet and a little bit of bite with the ginger and the miso on top."

The chef works his magic with blue crab, panko bread crumbs and pumpkin - all rolled up into a sushi roll.

Tips from Chef Garcia: Do not overwork crab mixture and adjust mayo or panko based on desired consistency.


● 1 pound jumbo lump blue crab

● 1 roasted poblano ⅛” dice

● 1 roasted red pepper ⅛” dice

● 3 scallions fine chopped (white and light green part only)

● 1 pound grilled pumpkin ½ “ dice

● ½ cup pumpkin puree

● ½ cup mayonnaise

● 1 egg beaten

● 1 tbsp grill seasoning

● 1 cup panko bread crumbs

● 1 ½ cups panko bread crumbs

● ½ nori sheet

● ⅓ cup sushi rice

● 2 tbsp roasted pepitas

● 1 oz miso pumpkin glaze

● 1 tbsp olive oil


1. Combine poblano, red pepper, scallions, pumpkin puree, mayonnaise, egg, grill seasoning, and 1 cup of panko breadcrumbs in a small mixing bowl and mix thoroughly.

2. Gently fold in crab and diced pumpkin.

3. Form into firm 2 oz balls and coat evenly with remaining panko mixture. Flatten each ball into a 1 inch thick cake.

4. Place olive oil on flat top or sauté pan and cook the crab cake evenly on each side about 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown.

5. While the crab cake is working place ⅓cup cooked sushi rice on the nori sheet. Covering 2/3 of sheet evenly with rice. Press rice firmly but do not smash.

6. Flip the sushi paper over and fill with crab cake. Roll sushi roll and cut into 5 even pieces.

7. Garnish with roasted pepitas and miso pumpkin glaze.