Cobb Salad is a classic American salad featuring a savory combination of hearty ingredients like juicy chicken breasts, hard-boiled eggs, creamy avocado, pan-seared bacon, blue cheese crumbles, grape tomatoes, and crisp, chopped lettuce! Drizzle it with a red wine vinaigrette and serve it for a crowd-pleasing lunch or dinner!
But first, can you guess what puts the cobb in Cobb Salad? Or, how this kitchen sink of a salad actually came to be? And — for the ringer — is it actually a healthy salad? Hmmm. Today, we’ll be covering all of this and more.
WHAT’S THE COBB IN A COBB SALAD?
Contrary to what some might think, the “cobb” in a Cobb Salad has nothing to do with edible items, but rather the last name of the famous salad’s inventor — Robert Cobb.
THE BROWN DERBY’S SIGNATURE SALAD
It’s written that the original Cobb Salad recipe is all thanks to a spur of the moment snack attack. The owner of the Brown Derby Restaurant (an iconic restaurant chain from the 1920s) poured just about everything but the kitchen sink into a bowl and mixed it together to make one gorgeously filling salad. That owner was the aforementioned Robert Cobb.
The salad hit the menu shortly after he shared the new creation with another restaurant-owning friend who was equally smitten over the salad.
WHAT MAKES A COBB SALAD DIFFERENT FROM A REGULAR SALAD?
The name “Cobb Salad” differentiates a Cobb from any other salad in the same way the name “Chicken Caesar Salad” differentiates a Caesar from any other salad.
When you think “Caesar Salad” images of romaine lettuce, tossed in Caesar dressing with croutons and Parmesan cheese likely come to mind. When you think “Cobb Salad” you’ll likely see a bed of lettuce loaded to the max with hearty ingredients like avocado, hard-boiled egg, and sliced chicken. Yes, please.
Which brings us to our next topic: What’s in a Cobb Salad, anyway?
COBB SALAD INGREDIENTS
- Romaine Lettuce – The important thing to note for your Cobb Salad’s lettuce is that it should be crisp. You can use just Romaine or Romaine with a blend of Green Leaf or Iceberg lettuce.
- Roasted or Baked Chicken – You can use either Roasted Chicken, Pan-Seared Chicken, or Baked Chicken for a Cobb Salad. As with most salads, it is the breast of the chicken you’ll want to use here.
- Hard-Boiled Eggs – You’ll find the eggs on this salad come either chopped or cut into quarters. Quarters make for impressive appearances if you’re serving this salad to a crowd!
- Avocado – The most important thing when it comes to avocados is that they’re ripe. Look for blackened avocados, but avoid those with a white powdery coating. The avocado should feel full but without crevices or mushy points. A perfectly ripened avocado should give slightly to a firm touch.
- Bacon – Use real pan-seared bacon over jarred bacon bits. A little extra work, but well worth the added flavor bonus.
- Tomatoes – Grape and cherry tomatoes tend to have better flavor throughout the off-season as opposed to slices. They also do not water down your salad. However, if tomatoes are in season, vine-ripened tomatoes would be an excellent choice.
- Blue Cheese – Blue cheese comes in all different levels of strength. For a milder blue cheese, go with Danish, Maytag or Gorgonzola Dolce. Roquefort will have a bolder blue cheese flavor.
WHAT IS COBB SALAD DRESSING?
Red wine vinegar, lemon juice, and dry mustard powder seem to be the common denominators of the dressing that was served with the original Cobb at The Brown Derby. So, for a more authentic Cobb Salad, serve it drizzled with a Red Wine Vinaigrette.
However, you can (obviously) pour whatever dressing tickles your fancy atop your Cobb Salad. Today, restaurants offer Ranch Dressing, Honey Mustard, Balsamic Vinaigrette, and the like alongside this salad.
HOW TO MAKE COBB SALAD
- Cook the hard-boiled eggs.
- Pan-sear the bacon.
- Cut cooked chicken breasts into strips.
- Slice (or dice) the avocado.
- Chop the lettuce.
- Assemble all of the ingredients in a bowl, toss to combine, and serve with your favorite dressing!
IS COBB SALAD GOOD FOR YOU?
Unfortunately, you can’t really get away with calling Cobb Salad “good for you” thanks to pesky (yet delicious) ingredients like bacon, croutons, and blue cheese.
On average, a full-sized Cobb Salad will run you anywhere from 600-800 calories. The majority of the calories are coming from the chicken, bacon, avocado, and salad dressing. Since chicken is a great source of protein and avocado is a healthy fat, you might want to consider leaving out the bacon and/or salad dressing if trying to cut calories.
5 MORE SALAD RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
- Turkey Salad is perfect for sandwiches, spreading on crackers, or topping off a bed full of mixed greens! It’s easy to make at home, even if you don’t have leftover Thanksgiving turkey on hand — however, if you do, now you’re talking really easy!
- Panera’s Fuji Apple Salad will most definitely keep you coming back for more. So much so, that learning to make it at home could save you a pretty penny or two. Lucky for us, this salad is seriously simple to replicate, and you’ll have no trouble at all throwing it together in your very own kitchen!
- Apple Bacon & Blue Cheese Salad is a savory-sweet salad recipe featuring apples, spinach, bacon, and pecans. It’s filling, comforting, and everything you could want in a salad! Top it all off with a simple homemade maple-dijon vinaigrette.
- Classic Wedge Salad is better at home! Learn how to keep the lettuce intact, and then top it with pan-fried bacon, grape tomatoes, red onions, croutons, and of course, a homemade blue cheese dressing.
- Chicken Salad with Grapes and Almonds is a quick and easy chicken salad perfect for filling up your chicken salad sandwich! It’s the perfect spreadable consistency thanks to a little kitchen technology.
How to make the best Cobb Salad recipe with chicken, lettuce, hard-boiled eggs, bacon, avocado, grape tomatoes, blue cheese, and red wine vinaigrette!
- 6 large eggs
- 4 slices thick-cut bacon diced
- 6 cups Romaine lettuce (or a combination of Romain and Green Leaf or Iceberg Lettuce), washed and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 cups cooked and sliced (or diced) chicken breasts
- 1 avocado, sliced or diced
- 1 1/2 cup grape or cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup croutons
- 2/3 cup blue cheese crumbles
- 1/2 c red wine vinaigrette or dressing of your choice
For the hard-boiled eggs, place eggs in a saucepan and fill to cover by 1” with cold water. Do not overcrowd the pan. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a rapid simmer.
Remove the pan from the heat, cover with lid and allow to sit, covered, for 13-15 minutes, depending on how well-done you like your yolks. Have ready a medium-sized mixing bowl filled with ice water. Transfer eggs to the ice bath and allow to cool completely, 15-20 minutes.
Peel the eggs, quarter or chop, and set aside until ready to use.
For the bacon, have ready a plate lined with a paper towel. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, fry bacon for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally until browned and crispy. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to the plate and set aside.
Add the lettuce to a large serving bowl, top with chicken, eggs, bacon, avocado, tomatoes, croutons, and blue cheese. Toss with dressing or serve on the side.