Crab & Arugula Salad with Avocado-Lime Dressing

Crab & Arugula Salad with Avocado-Lime Dressing |


I can’t remember ever craving crab.  I’ve eaten it all my life.  I even remember eating talangka (ta-lang-kah), tiny shore crab–whose bodies don’t get much bigger than a silver dollar–during my short time in the Philippines.  If I remember correctly, they’re prized not for their meat but for their fat.  Crab fat is a delicacy in the Philippines and is often sold separately in jars.  It’s served as a condiment or enhancer and is always eaten with rice and other seafood (if not crab).

As much as I’ve always enjoyed its buttery freshness, I never enjoyed picking out the meat from steamed crab.  My parents were great about doing it for me and my sisters when we were kids but as an adult I learned to buy the already-cooked meat for my crab cakes.  I’ll be honest:  I can’t bring myself to throw a live crab into a pot of boiling water so I buy them already cooked.

But since putting together this recipe and falling in love with it, I’ve actually found myself craving the crustacean and not even minding shelling it myself. I’d even dare say that I find it relaxing to try to pick all the meat out of the legs and cavities, almost as relaxing as kneading dough.

So when the craving hit last week I picked up two, whole cooked Dungeness Crab for the pasta dish I’ve grown to love.  But as things go, I never got around to preparing a batch of fresh pasta.  I shelled the crab and put together this salad instead out of ingredients I already had.  Arugula was our salad green of choice last week (it changes weekly) and I still had avocados and limes from the Mexican food I’ve been serving.

This is a no-frills salad with nothing but arugula and red onion tossed in a dressing of avocado, lime, cilantro and olive oil.  But loaded with fresh crab meat–I used the meat of a 1 1/2 pound crab–you would hardly find this salad lacking.  Served with crusty bread and a glass of wine this would make for a refreshing summer lunch or light dinner.


Crab & Arugula Salad with Avocado-Lime Dressing |


5.0 from 6 reviews
Crab & Arugula Salad with Avocado-Lime Vinaigrette
Prep time
Total time
Peppery arugula, butter crab meat and a bright avocado-lime dressing tossed together make for a refreshing summer lunch.
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: American
Serves: 2
  • ***For the Salad***
  • 1 whole cooked crab (1 - 1½ pounds), shelled or store-bought fresh crab meat
  • 2-3 cups fresh baby arugula
  • ⅓ red onion, thinly sliced
  • ***For the Dressing (this should be good for up to 3-4 servings)
  • 1 avocado
  • 1-2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
  • 2 Tablespoons - ¼ cup olive oil (according to your taste)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Prepare the dressing by mashing the avocado in a bowl. Stir in the lime juice and continue to mash until well-blended. Stir in the cilantro and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Whisk in the olive oil and set aside.
  2. To assemble the salad, toss the onion, the crab meat (reserving a few large pieces to top the salad) and the arugula in a large bowl with the dressing, plate and serve.


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  1. I love salads in the summer when the temperature heats up. This looks like a perfect light dinner! (And yes please to the fresh bread to go with :))

  2. The color alone is reason enough to eat this – beautiful!

  3. This doesn’t look no frills to me. It looks delicious and elegant and perfect! Love everything about it!

  4. What a visually stunning salad! *Love* the shapes and colours!
    I can’t cook live crab (or lobster) either. When I was little, my family rented a cottage in Cape Code for the summer. One day my dad brought home two fresh lobsters – my older sister and I attempted to set them”free” in the ocean (when no one was looking!). I still can’t bring myself to dunk any crustacean into a pot of boiling water. You’re not alone! 😀

  5. Beautiful, Jean! We had Crab Louis for dinner tonight. It’s a great time for fresh salads.

  6. Love me some crab!

  7. Beautiful crab salad jean! As much as I love arugula -I should have already paired it with cracked crab but no haven’t tried it yet… thanks to your inspiration I will put these two favorites together for dinner-please pass the sliced baguette -this will be one of my favorites 😉

  8. I have never been a fan of crab, seafood is not really my thing. My son and husband LOVE it though! What I do really like about this recipe is the dressing – I could live on avocados!

  9. We’ve been trying to have more meatless dinners.. this one looks fabulous, I love crab meat! I, too, cannot bear to do the job of cooking up any crustacean! xx

  10. I don’t have crab to go with salad today but I’m going to make this for dinner! Avocado lime vinaigrette… sounds super AWESOME!!!

  11. With all the restaurants I write about now, I realized the salad lover in me has been neglected and, especially since i’m trying to lose that permanent vacation weight gain – I’m going back to them in a big way! Crab, arugula, and avocado – three of my favorite foods in one low calorie dish, love it 🙂

  12. I love crab, all seafood really, but I don’t get to eat it as often as I wish I could — a drawback of living in a landlocked country. Your salad sounds like a toe curler.:) Thanks for sharing Jean!

  13. Wow – this looks amazing.

  14. We are so lucky to live in the Bay Area and having access to wonderfully fresh and sweet crab! Your salad looks divine and so loving the dressing. Just perfect Jean!!! Hope you have a terrific weekend!

  15. Oh, what a beautiful piece of claw meat just waiting for me to grab it and eat it! This salad is just awesome! I can eat this every day and not get tired, I swear!

  16. I’m like you Jean I can’t seem to put the whole live crab in the water but maybe someday soon. Your salad looks simple and inviting.

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