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California Crab and Quinoa Salad is a light, fresh, and refreshing dish!

California Crab and Quinoa Salad #appetizer #salad #alaskakingcrab | iowagirleats.com

Although Christmas is just a couple days away (squee!) I’m already thinking about January and starting fresh in the food department. Ben and I sort of fell off the wagon in terms of healthy eating after Lincoln was born and to be honest, some weeks I feel like our toes are still dragging in the mud. Often times ordering pizza, picking up Chipotle, or going out to eat are more appealing than cooking after a long and tiring day.

I will say we’ve made a conscious effort to cook at home at least 4 nights a week this past month, and I’m challenging myself to get even more in the groove in the new year now that I have more energy. See, dearest Lincoln has finally figured out how to sleep without a pacifier which means Mom and Dad don’t have to pop it back in his mouth every time it falls out during the night. Sweet, sweet uninterrupted sleep!

Anyway, this plan of mine definitely includes crafting dishes like California Crab and Quinoa Salad for light lunches or suppers. This is the third and final recipe using Alaska King Crab Legs that I created for Hy-Vee this month and it definitely shows that crab doesn’t have to be paired with butter or cream cheese to be fabulous (though it certainly doesn’t hurt!)

California Crab and Quinoa Salad #appetizer #salad #alaskakingcrab | iowagirleats.com

Fluffy quinoa combines with sweet mango, creamy avocado, zesty green onions, and big hunks of tender Alaska King Crab Legs in a dish that’s sweet, succulent, and super healthy. You’ve got protein-rich quinoa, healthy-fat-filled avocado, and Alaska King Crab which is a great source of low-fat, low-cal, high-quality protein. #winning!

This salad was inspired by two rolls Ben and I always order at our favorite sushi joint. We’ll usually get some specialty rolls then a California Roll (crab, avocado, and cucumber) and Sunshine Roll (tuna, mango, and cream cheese) for “filler”. Salmon nigiri for dessert, of course. Anyway, I took what I like best about both rolls – the crab, avocado, and mango – and made it into a bright and sunny, feel-good salad!

California Crab and Quinoa Salad #appetizer #salad #alaskakingcrab | iowagirleats.com

Start with 1-1/2lbs Alaska King Crab Legs.


Check out my post on Drunken Alaska King Crab Legs, and the video at the end, for specific instructions on how to get the meat out of the legs. It’s easier than you think. All you need is a kitchen towel and shears.


Just snip up the smooth side of the leg then pry the shell open and peel out the meat.


Next, hand-shred the meat into big hunks. You’ll get about 9oz total. I can’t even look at this picture without drooling. Alaska King Crab is seriously sweet and succulent – it’s been such a joy having an excuse to cook with it so much this month!


Now cook 1 cup rinsed quinoa in a scant 1-3/4 cups water with a dash of salt. Let the quinoa come to room temperature or stash in the fridge to chill. This salad is great served at either temperature.


To the cooked and cooled quinoa add 1 chopped mango, 1 chopped avocado, and 1 chopped green onion, then add the shredded crab.


Finally, whip up a quick and easy Lemon-Agave Vinaigrette to bring the salad together. That’s just 6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil with 5 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1-1/2 lemons,) 1 Tablespoon agave nectar (could use honey,) 1 minced garlic clove, and lots of salt and pepper. Shake in a jar or whisk in a bowl to combine then drizzle over the salad. You might not need all of it – just add to your heart’s desire!


Scoop into bowls then enjoy!

California Crab and Quinoa Salad #appetizer #salad #alaskakingcrab | iowagirleats.com

California Crab and Quinoa Salad


California Crab and Quinoa Salad is a light, fresh, and refreshing dish!


serves 6 as a side

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
  • 1-3/4 cups water
  • 1-1/2lbs King Crab Legs, thawed then meat removed and hand-shredded into big chunks (about 9oz)
  • 1 mango, chopped
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • salt
  • For the Lemon-Agave Vinaigrette:
    • 6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 5 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1-1/2 lemons)
    • 1 garlic clove, microplaned or finely minced
    • 1 Tablespoon agave nectar (or honey)
    • salt and pepper


  1. Bring water to a boil in a saucepan then add a dash of salt and rinsed quinoa (be sure to rinse well in fine mesh sieve under cold running water – even quinoa that comes “pre-rinsed”.) Place a lid on top then turn heat down to medium-low and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork then transfer to a large bowl and allow to cool to room temperature, or chill (can be done ahead of time.)
  2. In a large bowl combine cooked quinoa, crab, mango, avocado, and green onion then season with salt. Add ingredients for Lemon-Agave Vinaigrette into a jar with a tight-fitting lid then shake to combine or whisk together in a small bowl. Pour over quinoa mixture (may not need all of it) then toss to coat.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.

California Crab and Quinoa Salad #appetizer #salad #alaskakingcrab | iowagirleats.com

This is a fabulous dish to make on Sunday then eat all week. Like I mentioned, it’s delicious either cold or room temperature. I hope you enjoy and, I promise, eating healthy never tasted so good!

California Crab and Quinoa Salad #appetizer #salad #alaskakingcrab | iowagirleats.com

Be sure to check out my other two Alaska King Crab Leg recipes:

Drunken Alaska King Crab Legs

Crab Rangoon Bites

Finally, if I don’t talk to you before Wednesday, MERRY CHRISTMAS and happy holiday, one and all! May everyone’s week be merry and bright!  :D