Crab Louie

by Mary on May 6, 2015

Crab Louie salad

Crab Louie salad

I have a camera full of recent salad photos including one I garnished with sweet spring viola flowers. We’ll see how far I get with sharing, this is a start!

Crab Louie is a vintage West Coast recipe. It was a favorite of my husband’s irrepressible auntie and I have fond memories of her introducing it to us many years ago. She used to treat us to dinner in Seattle, pontificating, ¬†ever-present cigarette in hand, over her plate of Louie salad. The salad would be a dinner plate heaped with Thousand Island-dressed iceberg lettuce topped with with crab, hard-boiled egg, and tomatoes.

Old-school it may be, but updated to a lightly dressed, slightly greener variety of lettuce, Crab Louie can be quite healthy. I picked up a 1# tub of pre-cooked Dungeness crab from Costco (from Pacific Seafood) which made the recipe pretty easy. If I’d had chili sauce it would have been even easier, but lacking that I made my own substitute from ketchup and a few spices (I could have added other ingredients like Worcester sauce or garlic as well if I’d been inclined).

I used this Shrimp Louie recipe of Ethan Stowell’s from the Seattle Times for reference, as well as this Crab Louie recipe by Larry Stone.

Crab Louie
Prep time
Total time
Recipe type: salad
Cuisine: Northwest American
Serves: 3
For the dressing:
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • juice of 1½ lemons (about 4 Tbsp.)
  • 2-3 Tbsp. chili sauce OR substitute equal amount of ketchup plus large pinch (about ⅛ tsp.) each chili powder, onion powder or flake, dry mustard (as I did)
For the salad:
  • 1 # (approx.) romaine lettuce, hearts or small heads ('gems') preferred, washed, chopped cross-wise into ¾" strips
  • juice of ½ lemon (approx 1½ Tbsp.)
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • flaked sea salt such as Maldon
  • 1 bunch asparagus, cooked and chopped (a sliced raw avocado is a good substitute)
  • 6 oz. (about) small tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, sliced or halved
  • 1 med. cucumber, peeled and cut into short spears or half-moons
  • 1 lb. pre-cooked shredded Dungeness crab meat
For the dressing:
  1. Combine mayonnaise, lemon juice, and chili sauce or ketchup plus spices, whisk together.
  2. Pour into three tiny bowls/sauce dishes.
  3. Place dishes on one corner of dinner plates.
For the salad:
  1. Boil asparagus for two minutes.
  2. Drain, rinse with cold water, chop into short pieces.
  3. Chop tomatoes into wedges, or if cherry tomatoes, halves.
  4. Peel cucumber, cut into short spears or half-moons.
  5. Wash and dry lettuce. Chop crosswise into ¾" strips.
  6. Place in large bowl.
  7. Dress with lemon juice, olive oil, and flaked salt.
  8. Arrange portions on one side of dinner plates.
  9. Arrange vegetables around the lettuce.
  10. Top with crab meat.
  11. Serve.


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