Hold the Mayo: 7 Mayo-Free Dungeness Crab Salads

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Cooking + Recipes


Delicious Crab Dishes Full of Fresh, Clean Flavors

Forget the crab salads of your youth where mayo was practically the star of the dish, overpowering the texture and flavor of crabmeat. With sweet, succulent wild Alaskan dungeness crab, you’re generally better off making a mayo-free crab salad to highlight the quality of your crabmeat rather than smothering it. 

Just for reference, you can expect to pick about four ounces of crab meat from eight legs, enough to make two servings or so of crab salad depending upon the recipe. So if crab salad is your thing, get cracking (and try to resist snacking on crab meat straight from the shell along the way). Here are 7 mayo-free crab salads full of fresh, clean flavors that you can make with wild Alaskan dungeness crab. 

Spicy Lime and Avocado Crab Salad

Food & Wine’s crab salad, served over thick slices of heirloom tomatoes, is lightened and brightened up with a lime vinaigrette. Minced jalapenos add some heat to the dressing, while avocado balances the spice and acidity of the dish; the avocado also adds some more heft to the salad, making it suitable for a light but filling meal. If you can’t get your hands on ripe heirloom tomatoes, you can use sweet sungold or cherry tomatoes instead. 

Crab Salad With Citrus-Miso Vinaigrette 

Yes, technically this recipe from Edible Seattle was designed to be a winter salad (since pomegranates aren’t in season), but it looks too good to wait for the cold weather. Made with a mix of crunchy components — fennel bulb, shredded cabbage, hazelnuts, sweet peppers, and pomegranate seeds — there’s a whole lot of texture going on. And then there’s the sweet, tender crabmeat and juicy segments of orange. Yum. A vibrant citrus-miso dressing tops things off. 

Crab Salad With Root Veggie Ribbons

Dust off your mandolin to make this simple but gorgeous salad from Martha Stewart, chock full of root veggies whose really colors pop once they’re shaved into a pile of ribbons. Slicing the veggies is key, as it really highlights the crispy texture of each and helps to create a cohesive, light salad; dicing or slicing by hand won’t get the vegetables quite thin enough. Getting all the salad components prepped takes some time, but once that’s done, a simple ginger-lime dressing is all you need to pull everything together. 

Moroccan Crab Salad

If your herb garden is thriving in the heat of the summer, get out there and harvest a mix of herbs like mint, basil, and dill for this herbaceous crab salad from Chef Sarah Schafer. Topped with a harissa-inspired vinaigrette — composed of roasted peppers and some classic Moroccan spices — this salad is an absolute flavor bomb. 

Bloody Mary Crab Salad

Are you a savory brunch person? This crab salad from The Chalkboard is all about its savory Bloody Mary-inspired vinaigrette, made with quintessential flavors and components of the cocktail. There’s a splash of fresh fennel or celery juice in there for a verdant twist. A perfect to make for a low-key brunch, all you really have to do is put a mound of dungeness crab meat and greens on a plate, toss with the Bloody Mary vinaigrette, and you’ve got a really satisfying meal that pairs perfectly with an ice cold glass of green juice.

Thai Crab Slaw

For crab salad with Thai-inspired flavors, check out this recipe from The Spruce Eats. Made with cabbage, it’s more like a slaw than a traditional salad. And though the salad is mayo-free, it gets a nice element of creaminess from a coconut milk-lime dressing. A dash of fish sauce in this dressing adds a complementary umami to the salad, while peanuts and cilantro complete the Thai theme. Use a spicy Thai chili to add heat to the dish, or try mixing in a bit of spicy curry paste to the dressing instead.

Crab-Avocado Salad With Citrus Reduction

Crab, avocado, and citrus are a classic trio of salad ingredients. Just tossing them together with some olive oil and seasonings is enough to make this salad work, but when you want something with a little more elegance, check out this recipe from The Napa Valley Register. Using tuna cans as culinary molds, you’ll layer in a spiced avocado mousse, a handful of fresh dungeness crab meat and micro cilantro, finishing everything off with a simple mixed citrus reduction.


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