Cobb salad is a perfect dinner salad and this Ultimate Cobb Salad uses a homemade marinade and dressing that is lower in both fat and sugar. Tasty, healthy, and easy? Yep, this is one for the recipe box.
There is something so satisfying when you dig into a salad that’s big and has everything you could want already on it. Juicy chicken; creamy avocado; rich, hard-boiled eggs; crunchy bacon; salty feta cheese; an array of fresh veggies; and homemade Catalina-style dressing is nothing short of crave-worthy!
WHAT IS A COBB SALAD?
Rumor has it that this salad was created in 1937 by Robert Cobb the owner of the Brown Derby restaurant in Hollywood. He used what he had on hand to create an iconic dish that remains a favorite so many years later.
HOW DOES A COBB SALAD AND A CHEF’S SALAD DIFFER?
I had to Google this one because they are pretty similar to each other. Both salads are comprised of lettuce, eggs, cheese, bacon, and salad vegetables.
But the Cobb salad usually includes tomatoes, avocado, and a vinaigrette dressing. The Cobb salad also uses at least 2 different kinds of lettuce and chicken.
The Chef’s salad typically uses deli ham and turkey. Interesting.
WHAT DO I USE IN THIS DINNER SALAD?
Lettuce. You want to use at least two different types for flavor, nutrition, and texture. For a quick alternative, purchase a ready-washed and torn bag of salad greens.
Chicken. If you have time to marinate and grill chicken, great! The marinade in this recipe has about half the fat and sugar as jarred marinades. But if you are short on time, grab a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store. They work wonderfully in this recipe.
Bacon. Each serving gets 2 strips. Cook them in the microwave to save time or splurge and buy the cooked bacon strips. Don’t buy the fake stuff in the jar. Do we know what that stuff is? I don’t.
Cheese. Use whatever you have on hand or what you like. Feta adds a saltiness that I love, but any cheese works. Creamy goat cheese is insane in this salad.
Tomatoes. Use fresh and chop them yourself. I like the smaller, sweet cherry tomatoes, but any will work.
Avocado. Look for ripe, but not soft avocado. Slices of the pretty green fruit (yes it’s a fruit) look beautiful on the salad adds a ton of healthy fat.
Onion. This is optional. Soak the chopped onion for 30 minutes in ice water if you don’t like the sharp bite of raw onion. You can also use chopped scallion or chives as well for a subtle onion flavor.
The same holds true for the cucumber. If you buy an English cucumber, you don’t have to peel it. You can also buy precut cucumbers, onions, and tomato at your grocery’s salad bar. It’s more expensive, but quite a time saver.
Making the homemade Catalina-Style French dressing is so easy and has less fat and sugar than a store-bought variety. There is no reason, if you are short of time or ingredients, that you can’t use a bottled dressing. Pick out your favorite and enjoy!
This hearty dinner salad is a healthy, tasty, and easy weeknight dinner option. Opt to make your own marinated, grilled chicken and Catalina-Style French dressing – both lower in fat and sugar – or take a few shortcuts to save time.
For the chicken marinade:
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, split in half lengthwise
1 large onion, sliced
4 large cloves garlic, chopped
¼ cup chicken broth
⅓ cup lower-sodium soy sauce
⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
2 packets sweetener of choice or 2 tablespoons brown sugar or honey
1 package Italian Dressing Mix (I used Good Seasons)
For the Catalina-Style French dressing:
1 large clove garlic
⅓ cup light vegetable oil
⅓ cup chicken or vegetable broth
½ cup low-sugar ketchup
¼ cup white vinegar
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup sweetener of choice (I used a 1:1 sweetener blend, like Swerve) or ¼ cup honey or brown sugar
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons Worchestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly grated black pepper
For the Cobb salad:
1 head Romaine lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
1 small head of iceberg lettuce or butter lettuce, torn into pieces
1 ½ cups quartered cherry tomatoes
4 grilled, marinated chicken breasts
8 strips bacon, cooked very crisp and crumbled
4 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
1 small red onion, diced
½ English cucumber, diced
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
Freshly ground black pepper
Start with the marinade and chicken.
Add all of the marinade ingredients, except the chicken and sliced onion, to a large Mason jar or bowl. Use a whisk or an immersion blender to blend until fully combined.
Add the chicken and sliced onion to a ziplock bag. Pour in the marinade, zip the bag and allow to marinate for at least an hour or up to overnight.
On a grill over medium heat, grill the chicken, about 3-5 minutes per side, until cooked through. Use a sharp knife to cut into a thick part of the meat to ensure that is opaque all the way through. Remove from heat, cover with foil and allow to rest.
Make the marinade.
Pour all of the ingredients into a large Mason jar. Use an immersion blender to blend the ingredients until thickened. Alternatively, you can whisk all of the ingredients together, except the oil. Once all the other ingredients are combined, while whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the dressing is emulsified. Refrigerate. This will keep in the refrigerator for a little over a week.
Assemble the salad,
On 4 large salad plates or bowls, make a bed with the torn lettuce leaves.
Arrange the tomatoes, chicken, bacon, eggs, avocado, onions, cucumber, and feta cheese over the lettuce.
Grind the black pepper over each portion, to taste.