Hey there crab lovers! Our easy Asian crab salad with mildly spicy curry mayo is the perfect recipe for any occasion. This light and lively salad made with Japanese kanikama – imitation crab. Spicy kani salad is budget friendly and the crunch from the spring veggies and toasted almonds will keep you going back for more.
There is a new salad in town! It's a Super Easy kani crab salad is made with gluten-free imitation crab, crunchy celery, toasted almonds, fresh spring veggies and a delicate curry Japanese mayo dressing.
Sending a special thanks to Chieko-san Kakuma for her delicious Japanese kani recipe. We loved her mildly spicy Crab Salad recipe and we know you will too!
- Ready in 15 minutes
- crunchy veggies and toasted almonds
- Can be eaten as a salad, in a wrap or in a lettuce cup.
- 6 grams of protein per serving.
- Perfect dish to pass at a picnic, baby shower or even for a Mother's Day brunch.
Sometimes, the simplest recipes are the best. We used spring fresh ingredients and just a touch of curry powder to bring this spicy kani salad to a new level. However, it is the diverseness in textures that makes this dish such a delicious bite.
You have the crunchiness of the celery and toasted almonds, the delicate tender sweetness from the crab, peas and edamame beans that just pop in your mouth and the creamy texture of the Kewpie Japanese mayonnaise to bring this whole easy crab salad recipe together.
Crab sticks, sometimes also referred to as imitation crab (meat), or seafood sticks is known as kanikama in Japan. It is actually not crab at all but instead made with pollack fish and other flavorings. We like to use the gluten-free version in this kani salad recipe and in our Crab Sushi Bake and in our grilled rice paper pizza recipe. If you are allergic to crab or lobster, steer away from imitation crab as there is sometimes a little addition of these included.
Curry powder is one of those spices that in our books is a must have. Even just a little pinch of curry powder brings out that umami flavor in this dish. This easy crab salad is not spicy but just well-balanced.
Celery is VERY expensive in Japan. Well, let me rephrase that…EVERYTHING is expensive in Japan. In Japan, celery is sold by the stalk and not by the bunch and each stalk is about $100-$125 yen maybe even more… that is roughly about $1 USD.
Edamame or Peas are not required but add a lovely pop of spring green to the salad or even to Soba Noodle Salad with Yuzu Dressing.
Edamame beans or peas add a pop of color, protein, fiber and vitamins in our Asian crab salad. If you want to make a vegan version of this salad exchange the imitation crab meat with hearts of palm, increase the amount of edamame beans, and replace the Kewpie Japanese Mayonnaise with a vegan brand mayonnaise.
In order to make this super easy crab salad gluten-free, you will need to use gluten-free imitation crab meat and a certified gluten-free mayo.
We have one word of caution if you are diagnosed as celiac. Do not use Kewpie Brand Mayonnaise. It made with malt vinegar and this product should be avoided. There are plenty of Gluten-free brand mayonnaise on the market but make sure to read the labels.
How to Serve
This Japanese crab salad is delicious served inside a lettuce cup, on a sandwich, piled high on a cracker or plain just on its own.
What to serve with Kani Salad?
Asian crab salad is delicious all on its own. However, if you hosting a gathering or want to serve this for dinner you may like to try our Baked Miso Salmon, Asian Beef Roll Ups or Sesame Miso Chicken Balls.
More Salad Recipes
If you are looking for a refreshing dressing have you tried our Framboise Osmanthus Rose Vinaigrette?
If you a looking for a fun salad, try our Thai Grilled Watermelon Salad-
Or if you want to try a unique salad that is even delicious for breakfast and that is our Quinoa Fruit Salad
Frequent Asked Questions (FAQ's)
Unless you make a few changes to the traditional kani salad, it is not gluten-free. In order to make kani salad gluten free, you need to replace regular imitation crab salad with a gluten-free certified imitation crab meat. Secondly, you need to replace Kewpie Mayonnaise with a gluten free mayonnaise that does not include malt vinegar.
You can eat kani salad when pregnant as it does not contain any raw fish. Imitation crab sticks are made with cooked pollack fish.
If stored in a covered and sealed container in the refrigerator, it can last up to 3 to 4 days. Be careful and do not leave it out at room temperature for extended periods of time as this recipe contains mayonnaise.
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Asian Crab Salad
- ¼ cup almonds toasted sliced
- 2 cups celery (cut on a bias)
- 1 cup imitation crab gluten-free
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise (We used Japanese Kewpie Brand but can exchange with vegan or gluten-free Mayo as desired)
- 1 teaspoon curry powder dried
- ⅓ cup edamame beans (shelled)
- salt and white pepper to taste
- ⅓ cup peas thawed, previously frozen
- 8 romaine lettuce leaves optional
- Add sliced almonds to a dry pan and toast until just slightly toasty around 2 minutes . Remove from pan and allow to cool.
- In a medium bowl, add celery, imitation crab meat, mayonnaise, curry powder, edamame beans, salt , white pepper to taste, frozen peas and toss.
- Lay out your lettuce cups on a plate, spoon in the crab salad and top with roasted almonds. (Optional) or just enjoy as is or on top of cracker or in a sandwich.