This grilled King Crab salad is served with a creamy avocado dressing. It’s delicious at home or on a picnic, and is a light, refreshing, and healthy seafood salad!
Have you tried King Crab yet?
To me, these crawly sea monsters do NOT appear edible, and quite honestly are a little scary-looking, but I’m extremely grateful to whoever figured out that they make a fabulous dinner!
Today we’re cooking with legs from red King Crab, a crab that can grow up to 5 feet in length and golden (or brown) King Crab, its slightly smaller relative.
I’ll walk you through how to open up the crab legs (even without a crab cracker!), and how to make a healthy and delicious King Crab salad.
Buying King Crab Legs
What should you look for when you’re buying king crab legs?
For the most part, king crab is harvested off the Alaskan and Norwegian coastlines in the Barents Sea, and is considered a highly sustainably-sourced seafood. Most of the king crab legs you’ll find will be frozen and precooked.
Red King Vs. Golden King Crab
For this recipe, use either (or both) red king crab legs or golden (brown) king crab legs.
What’s the difference?
The flavor is slightly different– some people claim red king crab is sweeter, and some claim that golden king crab is sweeter. The meat is interchangeable in this recipe, so use whichever you prefer!
How to Grill King Crab Legs
Grilling king crab legs is pretty straightforward– simply get your grill hot, brush the legs with oil, and set them on the grill in a single layer.
If you’ve let the frozen legs thaw, you’ll grill them for about 4 minutes, and if they’re still frozen, grill them for about 10 minutes. Use grill tongs to turn them about halfway through the grill time.
Want more tips about how to grill seafood? Check out this post on How to Grill Fish!
Cracking Open King Crab Legs (Without a Crab Cracker)
Are you a crab cracking expert? Skip this section.
For those of us who don’t own crab crackers, or for those of you who DO own them, but can never remember where you stored your handy crab tools, this tutorial is for you!
All you need is a large cutting board, a chef’s knife, and kitchen shears. Using the back of a chef’s knife, cut the crab legs apart at each joint.
Alternatively, you could bend them back and forth until they break.
Cut off the shoulder meat (but don’t throw it away!), and pull out the long plastic-like cartilage strips.
Try to push the crab meat through the shell with your finger. This won’t work for each section, but when it does work, it’ll save you a little effort.
Take the remaining large leg sections, and split the shells by holding each leg on end. Place the tip of a chef’s knife at the top, and push the knife down through the shell.
For the remaining smaller leg sections, use kitchen shears to cut a slit lengthwise up the shell.
Use the scissors to open the claws up too, or pick the meat out with a seafood fork or pick.
Use your fingers to pry open the split shells and shoulder sections and remove the meat.
Discard the shells, and keep the meat.
How to Make Grilled King Crab Salad
Once you’ve grilled the king crab legs and removed the meat, go ahead and start assembling your salad.
You’ll need lettuce (I like to use a spinach and romaine mixture), some boiled eggs, diced tomato, and a few lime wedges on the side.
For the avocado dressing, simply blend together an avocado, a little yogurt, and some lime juice. Top the salad with the crab meat, and serve this salad at home, at a picnic, or wherever your crab-loving friends will be!
King Crab Recipe: Crab Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing
Serves 4 as Main Dish, 6-8 as a Side Dish
- 1 lb King Crab Legs (*See Recipe Notes)
- 1 TB olive oil
- 4 oz fresh spinach
- 1 Romaine heart, roughly chopped
- 4 boiled eggs (or more if desired), halved
- 1 large tomato, diced (or more if desired)
- 2 limes, quartered
Creamy Avocado Dressing:
- 1 avocado
- ½ cup plain yogurt
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 lime, juiced
- Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Brush legs with olive oil to prevent them from sticking to the grill. Place crab legs on grill in a single layer, and grill 4-5 minutes total for thawed crab legs or 10-11 minutes total for frozen legs. Flip legs about halfway through grill time.
Removing Crab Meat:
- Remove legs from the grill, and allow them to cool slightly. Using the back of a chef’s knife, cut the crab legs at each joint. Cut off the shoulder meat (but do not discard!!!). Pull out the long plastic-like strips of cartilage.
- Next, attempt to push the crab meat straight out of the shell section with your finger. (This will be easiest on the upper portions of the legs, but will likely not work for each section.)
- To split the remaining large leg sections, hold the crab leg on its end, and insert the tip of a chef’s knife into the top of the shell. Push down.
- To split the rest of the leg sections, use kitchen shears to cut the shell open. Use the scissors to open the claws up too, or pick the meat out with a seafood fork or pick.
- Using your fingers, pry the split or cut shells off, and reserve the meat. Peel the shell off of the shoulder meat. Discard the shells, collect the meat.
Creamy Avocado Dressing:
- Add avocado, yogurt, lime juice, and salt to a blender basin. Blend until creamy. (This dressing is thick, allowing it to work as both a dressing and a sauce to dip the crab into. If you prefer a thinner dressing, add more lime juice.)
Assemble the Salad:
- Toss together the romaine hearts and spinach. Use the lettuce as a base for the salad, and then add the tomatoes, boiled eggs, and crab. Serve with limes and the avocado dressing.