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Avocado and Crab Pasta Salad with Grapefruit Tarragon Vinaigrette

Avocado and Crab Pasta Salad with Grapefruit Tarragon Vinaigrette from

Some flavors were just meant to be together. Tomatoes and basil. Avocado and lime.

Oh! Tomatoes, basil, avocado and lime. Com’on, Summer!

But two flavors I never would’ve guessed are a match made in heaven are, well, a match made in heaven:

Crab and grapefruit.

Crazy, right? Or am I the last person on earth to try this combination, and I’ve been missing out all along? A little lime juice, a little tarragon, and, wow, such an amazing flavor topping my avocado and crab pasta salad. I think grapefruit will definitely be making its way into my citrus rotation for salad dressings this summer. Sooo good.

Avocado and Crab Pasta Salad with Grapefruit Tarragon Vinaigrette from

But you know what takes a really great salad to another level of yum? Fresh herbs. Tons of fresh herbs, especially tarragon for this recipe. It goes so well with seafood.

I’m a convert. A bonafide herbivore. Wait. Herb connoisseur. Herbisseur?

You’ll notice that many of my salad and pasta recipes call for lots of fresh herbs — more than seems right. But it’s sooo right.

See the photo above? Herb-flecked goodness.

Truth be told, I could eat a bowl of that with just some olive oil and a big squeeze of lemon.

Avocado and Crab Pasta Salad with Grapefruit Tarragon Vinaigrette from

Finally, a bit of confession time: I couldn’t find lump crab at my grocery store. Oh, they had crab legs — as in … legs … long, spindly, and frozen — but I was just making this avocado and crab pasta salad for lunch, and I didn’t want to mess with anything frozen. Or long and spindly. So, I reached for a package of imitation crab. Which I’ve actually never had before. At least, not intentionally.

And I have to say, it wasn’t what I expected. I mean, it wasn’t half bad as a salad ingredient. And you can’t beat the cost savings. So, in this recipe, I call for crab meat, but feel free to substitute the imitation stuff, if you’re okay with it.

Karen xo


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Avocado and Crab Pasta Salad with Grapefruit Tarragon Vinaigrette

Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time25 minutes
Servings: 8
Author: Karen Gibson


for the grapefruit tarragon vinaigrette

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh tarragon leaves
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon agave
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

for the pasta salad

  • 12 ounces pasta a small shape will do well here; I used mini penne
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro chopped
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 8 ounces crab meat or imitation crab, sliced into chunks
  • 1 avocado skin and pit removed, chopped
  • 6 cherry tomatoes diced (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1/4 cup diced cucumbers
  • salt
  • 2 ounces goat cheese crumbled


for the grapefruit tarragon vinaigrette

  • Add all ingredients to a bowl and whisk until combined. Set aside

for the pasta salad

  • Prepare the pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse. Dump into a medium serving bowl and toss with olive oil, herbs, and salt.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, add the crab meat, avocado, tomatoes, cucumbers, and a big pinch of salt. Drizzle in about half of the vinaigrette and toss gently to mix.
  • Add the crab mixture to the pasta and toss gently. Drizzle the remaining dressing over the top, and sprinkle on the goat cheese.
Nutritional information, if shown, is provided as a courtesy only, and is not to be taken as medical information or advice. The nutritional values of your preparation of this recipe are impacted by several factors, including, but not limited to, the ingredient brands you use, any substitutions or measurement changes you make, and measuring accuracy.
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Friday 9th of May 2014

I love crab and avocado and will take on blind faith your assertion that grapefruit is a good thing here. Sounds delicious.

One of my forever favorite sandwiches was, surprisingly, avocado, cucumber and FAKE crab on a crusty French roll. A sushi restaurant served this daily and I ate it every time I was within walking/running distance. And I'm not even a bread person per se; but that sandwich, dreams are made of this.