Lobster Rolls, Lightened Up

by in Meal Makeovers, July 15, 2011
lobster roll
Ellie Krieger's lightened-up lobster roll.

Gobs of mayo and butter can wreck this summertime goodie. Lighten up your favorite recipe and dive in!

Nutrition Facts
Restaurant offerings for lobster rolls range from 600 to 1440 calories and 34 to 98 grams of fat per serving! Lobster certainly isn’t the problem: 3 ounces of cooked lobster meat contains 83 calories, 1 gram of fat and 17 grams of protein. It also packs in 44 percent of the daily requirement of vitamin B12 and more than 50 percent of the mineral (and antioxidant) selenium.

Shellfish like lobster does contain a fair amount of cholesterol: a 3-ounce portion has 20 percent of the daily recommendation. But since shellfish like lobster and shrimp are low in saturated fat, they can still be incorporated into a heart-healthy diet.

So if lobster isn’t to blame, what is? Heaps of mayo and butter are to thank for the skyrocketing calorie counts.

Mayo vs. Butter

Whether you prefer lobster prepared with creamy mayonnaise or silky butter, too much fat can weigh down your meal. Neither choice of fat needs to be completely off limits. Keep in mind that 1 tablespoon of mayo has 90 calories and 10 grams of fat while the same amount of butter has 100 calories, 11 grams of fat and 6 times more cholesterol than mayonnaise!

If mayo is your poison, cut down on the calories and fat by using 50% less than the recipe calls for or switch to a low fat version (get the low-down on light mayo options). Try blending mayonnaise with nonfat plain Greek yogurt to cut the fat but maintain a creamy texture.

For butter lovers, skip the side portions of melted butter and saute the lobster meat ahead of time in a more reasonable amount of butter. Then ramp up the flavor with fresh lemon juice (see recipe below).

Lightened-Up Lobster Rolls
Serves: 4

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound cooked lobster meat (cut into bite-sized pieces)
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Juice of ½ lemon
4 hot dog buns
Nonstick cooking spray
Lemon wedges for serving

Melt butter in a skillet and add lobster meat; season with salt, pepper and lemon juice and saute until lobster is just warm. Meanwhile, heat a small nonstick skillet over medium heat and coat with cooking spray. Gently split open hot dog buns. Place buns in skillet (open side facing down) and toast slightly. Fill toasted buns with lobster mixture and serve with lemon wedges.

Nutrition Info Per Serving (1 roll)
Calories: 289
Total Fat: 11 grams
Saturated Fat: 6 grams
Total Carbohydrate: 22 grams
Protein: 25 grams
Sodium: 842 milligrams
Cholesterol: 188 milligrams
Fiber: 0 grams

Cooking Tip: Cooking for someone that avoids shellfish? They don’t have to miss out – make a “lobster roll” using a firm and mild white fish like tilapia or halibut.

More recipes to try:
Ellie’s Lobster Roll (in photo above)
Lobster Salad in Endive
Halibut Lobster Roll with Green Goddess Slaw

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana’s full bio »

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Comments (1,146)

  1. Christine says:

    I heard you can hypnotize them too?! Lobsters are believed, by many scientists, not to feel pain. An hour before cooking, keep the lobsters in refrigerator. They will be in a deep state of sleep. Remove them from the refrigerator just before cooking. This is also good cause their tails don't twitch when cooking. Experiments at the University of Maine determined that:

    - Boiling in the traditional manner causes a lobster to begin activity in 5-10 seconds and continue for 1 – 1 1/2 minutes.
    - Hypnotizing the lobster by holding its head down and rubbing it nearly doubles the length of time it moves.
    - Slow heating in salt water from room temperature results in increased activity when the water reaches a temperature of around 30°C/86°F. This activity lasts 2-3 minutes and then subsides.
    - Pot steaming seems to reduce the activity of lobsters. However, lobsters at the top of the steam rack may still be alive after 20 minutes when large numbers of lobsters are being cooked at once unless the steam is retained in the pot.
    - Chilling/icing before cooking, by placing the lobster on ice or in a freezer (but not freezing it) delays the onset of activity about 30 seconds and reduces the duration of movement to about 20 seconds.
    - Visit for more details at http://www.lobster.um.maine.edu/index.php?page=22

    Visit seafood recipes at http://knapkins.com/dishes?cat=seafood

  2. Barb says:

    You can also use reduced fat Ranch dressing instead of the mayo. That is what I do and I love it.

  3. michelle says:

    If your a real Mainer, there are 2 diff lobster rolls, A. traditional with mayo on a hamburger roll made with mayo. We do not cook the meat in butter, we steam the entire lobster first than after its cooled, obtain the meat, mix with mayo, cerely, any other spices you perfer, spread on a hamburger roll and grill with enough butter to just cover the roll, than eat. B. This a a clear meat roll, you process the lobster as state above only spread enough mayo to thinly cover the inside of the hot dog roll, you can add lettuce, and or gill, than eat.

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