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crab salad with avocado, cherry tomato, and puffed quinoa over butter lettuce in a wood bowl
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Crab Salad with Popped Quinoa and Tarragon Dressing

Lump crab meat is the star of this summery salad made with tender butter lettuce, cherry tomatoes, creamy avocado, crispy bits of quinoa and a tangy tarragon and chive dressing made with buttermilk.
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Keyword butter lettuce, buttermilk, chives, Crab, crab meat, lettuce, quinoa, salad, salad dressing, seafood, shellfish, tarragon
Prep Time 12 hours 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

For the popped quinoa:

  • ½ cup uncooked white quinoa

For the tarragon dressing:

  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons diced chives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped tarragon
  • Kosher salt, as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper, as needed

For assembly:

  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt, as needed
  • 2 medium heads butter lettuce
  • 1 medium avocado, pitted, peeled and sliced
  • 8 ounces lump crab meat

Instructions

For the popped quinoa:

  • Rinse the quinoa and dry completely overnight. To speed the process up the quinoa can be spread on a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 275ºF for 2 hours.
  • Add the dried grains to a large skillet and cover. Cook the grains over medium heat, shaking the pan constantly until the quinoa pops. Continue shaking the pan until the popping stops, checking the quinoa occasionally, about 5 minutes (like popcorn). The quinoa should be a pale golden brown color.
  • Remove to a baking sheet and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.

For the tarragon dressing:

  • In a medium bowl whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, garlic, lemon juice, chives and tarragon. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and set refrigerate until ready to use. The dressing can be made up to a week in advance.

For assembly:

  • In a small bowl, toss the tomatoes in the olive oil and season with salt.
  • In a large salad bowl add the butter lettuce, cherry tomatoes, avocado, crab and ¼ cup of the puffed quinoa. Drizzle with ¼ cups of the dressing and toss to combine, adding more dressing if desired.
  • Divide among bowls and serve immediately.