Crab Louie Salad


At the Bayside Cafe in Morro Bay, California, this classic West Coast salad is made with Dungeness crab caught in the coastal waters. Lump crabmeat is a good substitute.

Crab Louie Salad
Photo: Eric Wolfinger
Active Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
45 mins

What Is Crab Louie Salad?

Crab Louie salad originated on the West Coast in the early 1900s. Also called "the king of salads," crab Louie was a popular item on restaurant and hotel menus in the San Fransisco Bay area and beyond during that time. Traditionally crab Louie salad features crabmeat, hard-boiled egg, tomato, asparagus and crisp lettuce (usually iceberg) with a creamy, Thousand-Island-like dressing.

What Kind of Crabmeat Should I Use for Crab Louie Salad?

Dungeness crab, which is fresh and readily available on the West Coast from November through June is the most traditional, but more accessible types of crabmeat can stand in as good substitutes. Fresh crabmeat is sold cooked and has a short shelf life, usually three to five days. Because of this, fresh crabmeat can be hard to come by (and expensive!) for landlocked folks. Luckily, pasteurized crabmeat is a good alternative to fresh. It's also sold cooked and ready to go, and can last on the shelf much longer—around 6 to 12 months if it's kept refrigerated. Crabmeat is graded based on where the meat is taken from the crab. Colossal lump and jumbo lump are the most expensive, with the meat coming in larger, whole pieces, followed by lump, backfin, special and claw. For a composed salad like crab Louie, lump crabmeat or any grade above would be a good choice as the pieces tend to be larger and less flaky. Imitation crabmeat, which as the name suggests isn't crabmeat, but instead mild white fish processed to look like crab, can also work as a substitute for real crabmeat.

Can I Make Crab Louie Salad Ahead?

You can boil the eggs and steam the asparagus up to one day ahead. The dressing and its leftovers can be refrigerated for up to four days.

Additional reporting by Hilary Meyer



  • ½ cup ketchup

  • ½ cup mayonnaise

  • ¼ cup minced yellow onion

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 tablespoon dill pickle relish

  • 2 teaspoons dried dill

  • 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish

  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice


  • 8 asparagus spears, trimmed

  • 1 medium head green-leaf lettuce, torn

  • 2 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges

  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, quartered

  • 2 stalks celery, sliced

  • 1 ripe avocado, sliced

  • ½ medium cucumber, sliced

  • 2 scallions, sliced

  • ½ cup sliced canned pitted black olives, rinsed

  • ¼ cup sliced red onion

  • 6 ounces cooked crabmeat

  • Lemon wedges for serving


  1. To prepare dressing: Whisk ketchup, mayonnaise, yellow onion, garlic, relish, dill, horseradish and lemon juice in a medium bowl.

  2. To prepare salad: Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a large pot fitted with a steamer basket. Place a bowl of ice water near the stove. Add asparagus to the pot, cover and steam until tender-crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to the ice bath. Drain and pat dry.

  3. Place lettuce on a serving platter. Arrange the asparagus, tomatoes, eggs, celery, avocado, cucumber, scallions, olives and red onion on top. Top with crabmeat and dollop with half the dressing (reserve the remaining dressing for another use). Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

325 Calories
23g Fat
19g Carbs
15g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Serving Size 2 3/4 cups salad & 2 Tbsp. dressing
Calories 325
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 19g 7%
Dietary Fiber 7g 25%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 15g 30%
Total Fat 23g 29%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 140mg 47%
Vitamin A 7919IU 158%
Sodium 603mg 26%
Potassium 953mg 20%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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