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Crab Louie

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Crab Louie salad, also known as Crab Louis Salad or the King of Salads, is a type of salad featuring crab meat. The original recipe dates back to the early 1900s and originates on the West Coast of America.


The exact origins of the dish are uncertain, but it is known that Crab Louie was being served in San Francisco, at Solari's, as early as 1904. A recipe for Crab Louie exists from this date in a publication entitled Bohemian San Francisco by Clarence E. Edwords, and in the 1910 edition of a cookbook by Victor Hertzler, head chef of the city's St. Francis Hotel.

By some accounts it was created by entrepreneur Louis Davenport, founder of the Davenport Hotel in Spokane, Washington. Davenport spent his early years in San Francisco before moving to Spokane Falls. He would use crab imported from Seattle to be offered in his hotel. His recipe pre-dates 1914 and can be found in hotel historical menus. The popularity of Crab Louie has diminished since its heyday in the early to mid 1900's, but it can still be found on the menu of some hotels and restaurants on the West Coast, including the Palace Hotel in San Francisco and the Davenport Hotel.


The main ingredient for Crab Louie, as the names suggests, is crab meat. The preferred crab is Dungeness Crab, but other crab meat can be substituted. Although variations of the recipe exist, an essential ingredient is a seafood dressing such as Crab Louie dressing, Thousand Island dressing or Green goddess dressing. This dressing is either served on the side or mixed with the other ingredients, depending on which recipe is used.

A typical Crab Louie salad consists of:

  • Crab meat,
  • Hard boiled eggs,
  • Tomato,
  • Asparagus,
  • Cucumber,
  • served on a bed of Romaine lettuce
  • with a Louie dressing based on mayonnaise, chili sauce and peppers on the side.

Other ingredients such as olives and green onions have also been listed as ingredients in some recipes.

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