Crunchy Sushi Crab Salad Recipe – A Traditional Japanese Sushi

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Homemade Sushi Crab Salad Recipe could be the most delightful dish you will ever try. If you’re looking for a unique taste, prepare this salad. It combines fresh crab meat, crisp cucumbers, and creamy avocado. Add a touch of soy sauce and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. This recipe allows you to enjoy a fusion of flavors, offering one of the greatest advantages of homemade cooking.

Are you tired of the same old salads? Let’s dive into a culinary journey with the Sushi Crab Salad Recipe, a dish that opened my eyes to the wonders of fusion cuisine.

I was recently intrigued by their innovative take on traditional sushi during a visit to a quaint Middle Eastern restaurant. 

Sushi Crab Salad Recipe

Inspired, I decided to recreate this marvel at home. Picture this: a blend of tender crab, crisp vegetables, and a hint of the sea, all wrapped in a perfect balance of flavors.

This isn’t just a dish; it’s a gateway to exploring the best of two worlds – the freshness of Middle Eastern ingredients and the finesse of European culinary techniques.

This Sushi Crab Salad could be your next dinner table star, perfect for those family dinners where you want to impress.

What Is Sushi Crab Salad?

Sushi Crab Salad is a delightful fusion dish that combines Japanese sushi’s elegance with a traditional salad’s hearty appeal.

This dish typically features succulent crab meat, often imitation crab, mixed with crisp vegetables like cucumber and avocado.

Seasoned with a blend of soy sauce, wasabi, and sometimes mayonnaise, it creates a creamy, tangy flavor profile.

Sushi Crab Salad is a versatile dish enjoyed as a standalone meal or as a side. It’s a creative twist on classic sushi, offering a refreshing and satisfying culinary experience.

What Is The Origin Of Sushi Crab Salad Recipe?

The origin of the Sushi Crab Salad Recipe can be traced back to the fusion of Japanese and Western culinary traditions.

While traditional sushi has roots in ancient Japan, introducing Western ingredients and flavors led to innovative dishes like Sushi Crab Salad.

This dish likely emerged in the United States, where sushi experienced a surge in popularity and adaptation in the latter half of the 20th century.

A product developed in Japan but widely used in the U.S., the salad reflects a blend of Japanese sushi techniques with Western tastes, epitomizing the global evolution of sushi cuisine.

Sushi Crab Salad Recipe

Ingredients List

Sushi Rice1½ cups
Water1¾ cups
Seasoned Rice Vinegar3 tablespoons
Surimi (Imitation Crabmeat)12 ounces
Seedless Cucumber½
Chopped Scallions2 tablespoons
Japanese Kewpie Mayo4 tablespoons
Sriracha Hot Sauce3 tablespoons
Nori Seaweed Sheets4 sheets
Black Sesame SeedsAs needed
Toasted Sesame SeedsAs needed
Sushi Crab Salad Recipe

What Are The Variations Suitable For The Sushi Crab Salad Recipe?

  • Protein Variations Replace imitation crab with real crab meat, cooked shrimp, or even tofu for a vegetarian option.
  • Rice Alternatives Substitute sushi rice with brown rice, quinoa, or cauliflower rice for a healthier twist.
  • Vegetable Add-Ins Incorporate avocado slices, shredded carrots, or bell peppers for extra crunch and nutrition.
  • Dressing Options Experiment with a sesame oil dressing or a citrusy yuzu sauce for a different flavor profile.
  • Spicy Kick Adjust the heat by increasing or decreasing the amount of Sriracha or adding wasabi for an authentic Japanese zing.
  • Garnish Varieties Top with different sesame seeds, chopped nori, or even crispy fried onions for added texture.
  • Deconstructed Version Serve as a deconstructed salad bowl, layering ingredients instead of mixing for a visually appealing presentation.
  • Allergy-Friendly Adaptation Ensure gluten-free and allergy-friendly ingredients are used, like tamari instead of soy sauce, to cater to dietary restrictions.

What Are The Tips For The Sushi Crab Salad Recipe?

  • Rice Preparation: Ensure the sushi rice is cooked to the perfect consistency — not too mushy or too firm. Let it cool before mixing with other ingredients.
  • Quality Ingredients: Use fresh, high-quality crab meat or surimi for the best flavor. Fresh vegetables add crispness and vibrancy.
  • Balanced Flavors: Achieve a harmonious balance between the rice vinegar’s tanginess, the mayo’s creaminess, and the heat from the Sriracha.
  • Gentle Mixing: Mix ingredients gently to avoid breaking the delicate crab meat or mashing the avocado.
  • Chilling Time: Allow the salad to chill in the refrigerator for a bit before serving to enhance the flavors.
  • Seaweed Sheets: Cut nori sheets into fine strips for an authentic sushi feel and added texture.
  • Seasoning: Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, or additional soy sauce according to taste.
  • Serving Presentation: Serve in a stylish bowl or as individual portions for an appealing presentation.
  • Fresh Garnish: Garnish with black and toasted sesame seeds and fresh scallions just before serving to maintain their crunch.
  • Experimentation: Don’t be afraid to experiment with additional ingredients like mango or pomegranate seeds for a unique twist.

Are There Any Unusual Or Exotic Ingredients That Work Well With Sushi Crab Salad Recipe?

  • Yuzu Juice: This Japanese citrus fruit offers a unique, tangy flavor that can add a refreshing zest to the salad dressing.
  • Tobiko or Masago: These are small, colorful fish roes that add a pop of flavor and a crunchy texture.
  • Umeboshi (Pickled Plum): Finely chopped umeboshi can add a tart and slightly sweet element to the salad.
  • Shiso Leaves: These Japanese herb leaves provide a distinctive, slightly minty flavor that compliments the crab and rice.
  • Wasabi Peas: Crushed wasabi peas offer a crunchy texture and a spicy kick.
  • Daikon Radish: Julienned or grated, daikon adds a crisp texture and a mild spicy note.
  • Pickled Ginger: Finely chopped, it brings a sweet and spicy tang, enhancing the overall flavor profile.
  • Sesame Oil: A drizzle of toasted sesame oil can bring a deep, nutty aroma to the dish.
  • Furikake: This Japanese seasoning, sprinkled on top, adds umami and a variety of textures.
  • Dried Seaweed Flakes (Aonori): These flakes can add a subtle sea flavor and a dash of color.
Sushi Crab Salad Recipe

Recipe Directions

Prepare Sushi Rice

  • Rinse the rice in a bowl with cool water, swirling with fingers, then drain. Repeat 3-4 times until the water is almost clear.
  • Place rinsed rice in a fine-meshed sieve, draining for 30 minutes.
  • Combine rice with 1 ¾ cups of water in a large, heavy saucepan.
  • Bring to a boil, stir, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat and let the rice sit, covered, for 10 minutes.
  • Mix rice vinegar and spread the rice in a large shallow pan or bowl. Stir until it stops steaming. Use the rice immediately or cover it with a kitchen towel and let it sit at room temperature for a few hours.

Make The Filling

  • Shred or chop the surimi.
  • Julienne the cucumber.
  • Combine surimi, chopped scallions, 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, and 2 tablespoons Sriracha, stirring well in a large bowl.

Prepare Spicy Mayo Topping

  • Combine 2 tablespoons mayonnaise with 1 tablespoon Sriracha in a small bowl. Transfer to a squeeze bottle for later use.

Assemble Spicy Sushi Rolls

  • Wrap a bamboo sushi mat in plastic wrap.
  • Slice a nori sheet in half. Place one half-sheet, shiny side down, on the mat.
  • Wet fingers in a small water bowl to handle rice.
  • Spread ½ to ¾ cup of rice evenly over the nori, leaving ½ inch space on the top edge.
  • Sprinkle rice with toasted and black sesame seeds, then flip the sheet over.
  • Add a line of spicy crab salad and cucumber sticks near the bottom edge.
  • Roll up the sushi using the mat, tucking in the filling gently. Roll into a tight cylinder.
  • Place the roll seam-side down on a cutting board. Cut into pieces with a sharp knife.


  • Drizzle with spicy mayo topping and serve.

Experience The benefits of a balanced diet with sushi crab salad, a delicious boost for your health.”

What Herbs And Spices Work Well In Sushi Crab Salad Recipe?

  • Wasabi: A classic Japanese spice, wasabi adds a sharp, pungent heat that pairs well with the crab.
  • Ginger: Fresh or pickled ginger brings a zesty, slightly sweet spice, perfect for cutting through the creaminess of the mayo.
  • Chives or Green Onions: These provide a mild onion flavor, adding freshness and a bit of bite.
  • Cilantro: For a hint of citrus and a fresh, slightly peppery taste, cilantro is a great addition.
  • Sesame Seeds: Toasted sesame seeds offer a nutty flavor and a crunchy texture.
  • Lemongrass: This herb contributes a subtle citrus flavor with a hint of mint.
  • Shiso Leaves: With notes of cinnamon, clove, and a hint of spiciness, shiso leaves are uniquely suited for sushi dishes.
  • Dill: Dill can add a sweet, grassy note, complementing the seafood flavor.
  • Togarashi: This Japanese spice blend includes chili pepper, orange peel, and sesame seeds, offering a complex flavor profile.
  • Sea Salt: A pinch of sea salt can enhance the natural flavors of the ingredients
Sushi Crab Salad Recipe

Nutritional Values

The Sushi Crab Salad is a nutritious dish, offering a balanced blend of proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats.

Crab meat is an excellent source of lean protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which benefit heart health.

Sushi rice provides carbohydrates for energy, while the avocado adds healthy monounsaturated fats.

This salad is also rich in vitamins and minerals from the vegetables, particularly vitamin K and potassium. However, it’s moderate in calories, making it a health-conscious choice.

What Are The Total Calories In The Salad?

The total calorie count of the Sushi Crab Salad depends on the specific ingredients and their quantities used. On average, a serving can range between 300-400 calories.

Most of these calories come from sushi rice and imitation crab meat, the primary carbohydrates and protein sources.

Adding mayonnaise and avocado also contributes to the calorie count, mainly through fats. However, it remains a relatively light and nutritious option.

Health Benefits Of The Sushi Crab Salad Recipe

Heart Health

Omega-3 fatty acids in crab meat contribute to heart health by reducing blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Weight Management

Low in calories and high in protein, it’s an excellent choice for weight control .

Improved Digestion

High fiber content from vegetables aids in digestion and gut health.

Rich In Vitamins

Provides essential vitamins like Vitamin K, crucial for blood clotting and bone health.

Mineral Boost

This is a source of minerals like potassium, which is vital for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels.

Brain Health

Omega-3s and other nutrients support brain health and cognitive function.

Muscle Maintenance

High-quality protein aids in muscle repair and building.

Energy Provision

Carbohydrates in sushi rice provide a steady energy source.


High water content in the vegetables helps in hydration.

Antioxidant Benefits

Vegetables and herbs offer antioxidants that combat cellular damage.

Improved Immune Function

Nutrients in the salad play a role in boosting the immune system.

Nutrition Table

Nutrition Table

What Dressings Are Best Served With Sushi Crab Salad Recipe?

  • Soy Sauce-Based Dressing: A classic choice, combining soy sauce with a hint of sesame oil and rice vinegar for a savory, umami-rich flavor.
  • Spicy Mayo: A mix of mayonnaise and Sriracha, adding creamy heat that complements the crab.
  • Ginger Dressing: Fresh ginger blended with soy sauce and sesame oil, offering a zesty and aromatic taste.
  • Wasabi Vinaigrette: A blend of wasabi, rice vinegar, and a touch of honey, providing a sharp yet sweet profile.
  • Ponzu Sauce: A citrus-based sauce with a light and tangy flavor, perfect for a refreshing twist.
  • Yuzu Dressing: Yuzu juice mixed with soy sauce and a bit of sugar creates a unique citrusy and slightly sweet dressing.
  • Miso Dressing: Miso paste combined with rice vinegar and sesame oil, yielding a rich, slightly sweet, and savory flavor.
  • Sesame Ginger Dressing: A creamy dressing with toasted sesame oil, ginger, and a hint of garlic.
  • Citrus Soy Dressing: A light dressing with a mix of citrus juice, soy sauce, and olive oil, ideal for a summer salad.
  • Avocado Lime Dressing: Mashed avocado blended with lime juice and cilantro, offering a creamy and tangy option.
Sushi Crab Salad Recipe

Experience The wonderful taste of sushi and crab together in sushi crab salad. A Recipe that’s all about great taste.

Are There Any Unique Toppings That Can Elevate The Crunch Factor Of Sushi Crab Salad?

  • Panko Breadcrumbs: Lightly toasted for a golden, crispy texture.
  • Tempura Flakes: Adds a delightful crunch with a hint of savory flavor.
  • Fried Shallots: Thinly sliced and fried until crispy, offering a sweet, oniony crunch.
  • Crumbled Nori Chips: Gives a sea-salty crunch and umami taste.
  • Chopped Nuts: Almonds, peanuts, or cashews toasted for extra crunch and nuttiness.
  • Sesame Seeds: Black and white sesame seeds toasted for a subtle, nutty crunch.
  • Crispy Quinoa: Lightly fried or toasted quinoa for a unique, earthy bite.
  • Fried Garlic Chips: Thinly sliced garlic fried until golden, delivering a pungent crunch.
  • Rice Crackers: Crushed for a light, airy crunch.
  • Wonton Strips: Thin strips of wonton wrappers, fried until crisp.
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What Is The Difference Between Homemade And Store-Bought Sushi Crab Salad Recipe?

  • Freshness: Homemade salads typically use fresher ingredients, enhancing flavor and texture.
  • Customization: You can adjust ingredient proportions and flavors to personal preference when making it at home.
  • Healthier Options: Homemade versions often have fewer preservatives and additives, making them healthier.
  • Quality of Ingredients: You have control over the quality of ingredients, such as using real crab instead of imitation crab.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Making the salad at home can be more economical than store-bought versions.
  • Flavor Authenticity: Homemade salads can offer more authentic and rich flavors, as you can use traditional ingredients and methods.
  • Portion Control: Easily adjust serving sizes to suit individual needs at home.
  • Reduced Sodium: Home-cooked meals typically have less sodium than store-bought versions.
  • No Artificial Flavors or Colors: Homemade salads don’t contain the artificial flavors and colors often found in commercial versions.
  • Enjoyment of Cooking: Preparing the salad at home provides the satisfaction of creating a meal from scratch.

How Can You Store Or Preserve The Sushi Crab Salad Recipe Leftovers?

  • Refrigeration: Store in an airtight container and refrigerate immediately; consume within 1-2 days.
  • Separate Components: If possible, store rice, crab mixture, and dressing separately to maintain texture.
  • Avoid Freezing: Freezing can adversely affect the texture of ingredients like rice and vegetables.
  • Cool Before Storing: Allow any warm components to cool to room temperature before refrigerating.
  • Use Shallow Containers: For quicker cooling and uniform temperature.
  • Label and Date: Mark containers with the date to track freshness.
  • Avoid Cross-Contamination: Store the salad in a clean container, away from raw foods.
  • Check for Spoilage: Before consuming leftovers, check for any signs of spoilage like off-odor or mold.
  • Do Not Refreeze: If any components were previously frozen, avoid refreezing after thawing.
  • Consume Promptly: Given the delicate nature of the ingredients, it’s best to consume leftovers as soon as possible.

Special Tools & Equipment List

  • Sushi Mat: Essential for rolling the sushi rolls uniformly.
  • Sharp Knife: A sharp, non-serrated knife is crucial for cleanly slicing the sushi rolls.
  • Rice Cooker: Useful for cooking the sushi rice to the perfect texture, although not mandatory.
  • Fine-Mesh Sieve: Ideal for rinsing the sushi rice thoroughly.
  • Mixing Bowls: Various sizes for preparing the salad and mixing ingredients.
  • Plastic Wrap: To cover the sushi mat for hygiene and ease of rolling.
  • Cutting Board: A sturdy board for chopping ingredients and cutting the sushi rolls.
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons: For accurately measuring rice, water, and seasoning quantities.
  • Julienne Peeler or Mandoline: For finely slicing the cucumber and other vegetables.
  • Small Squeeze Bottle: Convenient for applying the spicy mayo topping evenly.
  • Large Shallow Pan or Bowl: To properly cool and season the sushi rice.
  • Small Saucepan: For cooking rice if a rice cooker is not available.
  • Spatula or Rice Paddle: For mixing and spreading the rice.
  • Serving Platter: To present the sushi rolls attractively.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can I Use Real Crab Instead Of Imitation Crab In The Sushi Crab Salad?

Yes, you can substitute imitation crab with real crab meat. Real crab offers a more authentic flavor and a different texture.

It’s a great option if you prefer natural seafood or aim for a more upscale version of the dish.

When using real crab, be sure to check for shell fragments and use crab meat that’s fresh or properly thawed if frozen.

Is It Possible To Make A Vegetarian Version Of This Recipe?

Absolutely! For a vegetarian version, you can replace the crab meat with tofu, tempeh, or even seasoned vegetables like avocado or sweet potato.

These alternatives can be marinated and prepared to mimic the flavor profile of the crab. This makes the dish vegetarian and adds a new dimension to the taste and texture.

How Can I Store Leftovers Of The Sushi Crab Salad?

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator and consume them within 1-2 days. It’s best to store the components separately – keep the rice, crab mixture, and dressing apart to maintain their texture.

Remember, sushi rice and nori can become tough or chewy when refrigerated, so consuming the salad fresh is usually best.

Can I Prepare This Recipe In Advance?

You can prepare recipe components in advance, like cooking the sushi rice and preparing the crab mixture.

However, it’s advisable to assemble the rolls close to serving time to maintain the freshness and texture of the nori and the crispness of the vegetables.

If you need to prepare in advance, keep the components separate and assemble them up to a few hours before serving.

What Are Some Healthy Variations Of This Recipe?

For a healthier version, consider using brown rice or quinoa instead of sushi rice for added fiber. You can also use light mayonnaise or a yogurt-based dressing to reduce calories.

Adding more vegetables like bell peppers, carrots, and greens can increase the nutritional value and fiber content.

Be mindful of the soy sauce and other seasoning for those watching their sodium intakes.

Crunchy Sushi Crab Salad Recipe - A Traditional Japanese Sushi

Crunchy Sushi Crab Salad Recipe – A Traditional Japanese Sushi

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Course: Salads


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This Sushi Crab Salad Recipe is a delightful fusion of traditional Japanese sushi and a fresh, flavorful salad. It features a combination of tender sushi rice, succulent imitation crab (surimi), crisp cucumber, and a spicy kick from Sriracha mayo. Wrapped in nori sheets and garnished with sesame seeds, this dish perfectly balances creamy, spicy, and umami flavors. It is ideal for a light lunch or dinner or as an impressive appetizer for gatherings.


  • Cups Sushi Rice

  • Cups Water

  • 3 Tablespoons 3 Seasoned Rice Vinegar

  • 12 Ounces 12 Surimi (Imitation Crabmeat)

  • ½ ½ Seedless Cucumber

  • 2 Tablespoons 2 Chopped Scallions

  • 4 Tablespoons 4 Japanese Kewpie Mayo

  • 3 Tablespoons 3 Sriracha Hot Sauce

  • 4 4 Nori Seaweed Sheets

  • Black Sesame Seeds (As Needed)

  • Toasted Sesame Seeds (As Needed)

Step-By-Step Directions

  • Prepare The Sushi Rice
    Place sushi rice in a bowl, cover with cool water, and swirl with your fingers. Drain the water.
    Repeat rinsing 3-4 times until the water runs almost clear.
    Drain the rice in a fine-meshed sieve for 30 minutes.
    In a large saucepan, add the rice and 1¾ cups of water.
    Bring to a boil, stir, then cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes.
    Turn off the heat and let the rice sit, covered, for 10 minutes.
    Mix in rice vinegar and spread the rice in a large shallow pan or bowl, stirring until it stops steaming. You can use it immediately or let it sit at room temperature for a few hours, covered with a clean kitchen towel.
  • Make The Filling
    Shred or chop the surimi.
    Julienne the cucumber.
    In a large bowl, mix the surimi with chopped scallions, 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise, and 2 tablespoons of Sriracha.
  • Prepare Spicy Mayo Topping
    In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons mayonnaise with 1 tablespoon Sriracha. Transfer this to a squeeze bottle for later use.
  • Assemble The Sushi Rolls
    Wrap a bamboo sushi mat in plastic wrap.
    Slice a nori sheet in half and place one half, shiny side down, on the mat.
    Keep a small bowl of water nearby.
    Spread ½ to ¾ cup of rice evenly over the nori, leaving ½ inch at the top edge. Dampen your fingers in water as needed to prevent sticking.
    Sprinkle rice with toasted and black sesame seeds. Carefully flip the nori so the rice is on the bottom.
    Place a line of spicy crab salad and cucumber sticks near the bottom edge.
    Roll the sushi using the mat, tucking in the filling and pressing to form a tight cylinder.
    Place the roll seam-side down on a cutting board and cut into pieces with a sharp knife.
  • Serve
    Drizzle with spicy mayo topping and enjoy your homemade Sushi Crab Salad!


  • Rice Quality: Use short-grain sushi rice for the best results, as it sticks together well.
  • Ingredient Variations: Feel free to substitute surimi with real crab meat or shrimp for a different flavor profile.
  • Spiciness: Adjust the amount of Sriracha in the mayo to suit your heat preference.
  • Serving Suggestion: Serve immediately after assembly for the best texture. If storing, keep the ingredients separate and assemble just before serving.
  • Nutrition Consideration: This dish can be made healthier by using light mayonnaise and adding more vegetables like avocado or bell peppers.
  • Cultural Fusion: Experiment with additional toppings like tobiko or avocado slices for a more diverse flavor experience.
  • Skill Level: While the recipe is straightforward, sushi rolling requires some practice. Don’t be discouraged if the first few rolls aren’t perfect!

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You've entered a realm where each bowl isn't just a meal; it's an expedition to the core of comfort, well-being, and the sheer delight of feeding both body and soul. My name is Julia, and I'm here to navigate you through the flavorful worlds of Soup Chick. Together, we'll uncover the artistry behind each recipe, share stories that warm the heart, and celebrate the simple pleasures of making and enjoying soup.

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