This Crab Louie Salad with King Crab is a lighter version of the classic Crab Louie (or Crab Louis), and is topped with steamed crab and a spicy yogurt dressing.
Guys, I know that I’m here to help you find seafood ideas, but occasionally– you give me THE BEST ideas. (Seriously, you all are fantastic!) Over the summer, I made this Grilled King Crab Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing, and the fabulous Meg (who lives near crabbing country and blogs at Meg is Well), told me I needed to turn it into a Crab Louie Salad. NEEDED to! And so– I did!
This King Crab Louie Salad is a lightened-up version of the West Coast classic, and is made with freshly steamed king crab and a healthy spicy yogurt dressing.
Buying King Crab Legs
For this recipe, you can use either Red King Crab Legs or Golden King Crab Legs. (Or hey– go wild and use both!) Golden (or brown) king crabs are slightly smaller than red king crabs, and the flavors are ever-so-slightly different.
Both types of king crab are usually harvested off the Alaskan and Norwegian coastlines in the Barents Sea, and are considered a highly sustainably sourced seafood. Most of the king crab legs you’ll find will be frozen and precooked.
I get my king crab legs from Orca Bay. Their wild-caught, high-quality crab legs come frozen, and are delivered straight to my front door. Both their red king crab legs and golden (brown) king crab legs come in 1 pound bundles that feed 4-5 people, and are frozen in see-through packaging, with the legs, claws, and shoulder meat.
Order Orca Bay Online: Use my Ambassador Code: champagnetastes for 15% off!
Find Orca Bay locally: Use their store finder!
How to Steam King Crab Legs
Have you worked with King crab legs before? First of all– know that they’re big! Alaska king crabs can grow up to 5 feet long, and the legs can sometimes seem a little intimidating. Never fear, crab lover! They are 100% manageable, and with just a little bit of work– you can chow down on their sweet, sweet meat in (almost) no time.
To begin with, you need to heat the legs up! You can do this on a grill, but as I look outside at the cold wind blowing– I really don’t want to go outside and cook. Instead, I’ve been steaming my crab legs.
To steam king crab legs, you’re going to need a large stock pot. It needs to be big enough to fit the legs with the lid on. If you see that they’re just a teensy bit too long, you can get a little creative and make your own “lid” out of aluminum foil.
(I recommend holding your crab legs up to the stock pot before you try to steam them, just to double check that they’ll fit! If more than an inch of the legs are sticking out of the pot– you’ll need to grill or bake the legs. Or possibly get a larger pot.)
Steam them, and then use tongs to pull them out of the pot.
Making King Crab Louie Salad
After you’ve steamed (or grilled, or baked) your crab legs, you’ll need to get the meat out of the shell. If you’ve already perfected your “crab-cracking” technique or have a favorite crab-cracking tool– keep using it. If you have zero idea what to do with the legs, you can tackle them with a chef’s knife and kitchen shears. Check out the recipe card for directions, or click over to this post where I talk more about removing the shells.
Once you’ve got all the crab meat out of the shells, start putting the salad together. You can use more or less of each ingredient (depending on what you’ve got on hand or what you prefer), but here’s how I make mine.
Start with a lettuce base (I like to use a spinach and Romaine blend), and then add boiled eggs, sliced avocado, diced tomato, and lightly blanched asparagus. Serve your salad with the spicy yogurt dressing, and have a crab-tastic meal!
*When you’re shopping for crab legs, be aware that red king crab legs are sometimes sold in ‘colossal’ or ‘jumbo’ sizes. While these legs are pretty spectacular, they can be tricky to prepare for those of us without commercial-sized kitchen equipment or massive grills! Personally, I prefer to buy king crab legs that are a little easier to handle, and will fit on my 18″ charcoal grill or in a standard stock-pot.
Crab Louie Salad with King Crab
This King Crab Louie Salad is a lighter version of the classic Crab Louie, and is topped with steamed king crab and a spicy yogurt dressing.
- 1 lb King Crab Legs (*See Recipe Notes) Orca Bay Crab Legs recommended
- 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)
- 1 avocado, cut into slices
- 6 asparagus stalks, raw, cut into 2" pieces (Optional)
- 2 lemons, quartered
Spicy Yogurt Dressing:
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1 TB capers
- 1 TB horseradish root, freshly grated (or sub prepared)
- 1 tsp tomato paste
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp salt (to taste)
Steaming the Crab Legs:
Start with a stockpot large enough to hold all the crab legs. (If the legs just barely stick out of the top of the pot, you can still use the pot.) Fill the pot with about 1/2" water, and bring water to a boil over medium-high heat.
Add a steamer basket to the pot. Set the crab legs inside the pot, and cover with a lid. (If the legs stick out of the pot slightly, and prevent the lid from sealing, use a piece of aluminum foil as a lid and pinch it against the pot to create a sealed environment.)
Steam the crab legs 4-6 minutes total for thawed crab legs or 10-11 minutes total for frozen legs.
Carefully remove crab legs from the pot using tongs, and rinse the legs with cold water.
Removing Crab Meat:
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.
Spicy Yogurt Sauce:
Add all the sauce ingredients together, and stir. Salt to taste. (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 lemon juice.)
Assemble the Salad:
(Optional): Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Blanch asparagus for 1 minute or less, until bright green. Drain water, and set asparagus aside.
Toss together the romaine hearts and spinach. Use the lettuce as a base for the salad, and then add the tomatoes, avocado, boiled eggs, asparagus, and crab. Serve with limes and the avocado dressing.
*King Crab legs are typically sold pre-cooked, and simply need to be heated up. The cook time for this recipe assumes your crab legs are pre-cooked, so if you're using fresh, uncooked crab legs, the cook time will be longer.