The cobb salad is a main-dish American garden salad that’s created with chicken, bacon, eggs, avocado, tomato, red onions, blue cheese, and drizzled with a tangy red wine vinegar dressing.
When you’re looking for a meal that will satisfy your hunger, a classic Cobb salad recipe has everything you could possibly crave. The kitchen sink of salads, it was invented in the 1920’s by the store manager of the original Brown Derby restaurant in Hollywood California, Bob Cobb. Thanks to his creativity and desire for variety, it’s now an American staple and one that you can easily make at home.
I’ve got to admit, there are a lot of components, but nothing you can’t tackle. Tender chicken breast, crispy bacon, hard-boiled eggs, blue cheese, and lots of vegetables. What brings all of the rich and creamy ingredients together is the bright red wine vinegar dressing. The cobb salad requires a little bit of prep work, but it’s worth the delicious results.
How To Make a Cobb Salad
Three things need to be cooked in a cobb salad, the eggs, bacon, and chicken in that order. For easy to peel hard-boiled eggs I’ve found three reliable methods; boiling, steaming or pressure cooking. The eggs can be made in advance so you can just crack and go!
The bacon is cooked in a hot skillet until nice and crispy. I make oven roasted bacon every week, so I always have it on hand to help cut down on prep time. If the bacon is already pre-made, just add 1 tablespoon of olive oil for sauteeing the chicken.
The chicken breast is seasoned with paprika, salt, and pepper. These ingredients make the white meat flavorful and help create a beautiful crust. When sauteeing chicken breast in a skillet, I like to flatten the pieces to even thickness, about 1/2″ to 3/4″ so that the lean meat cooks at the same time and doesn’t dry out.
Making a homemade salad dressing like my balsamic vinaigrette is one of the easiest things to prepare in just a few minutes. The cobb salad is typically either served with a blue cheese dressing or a lighter french. As much as I enjoy a creamy, cheesy dressing, the cobb salad can quickly get heavy with the bacon and avocado.
To brighten things up and help refresh the palate, a tangy red wine dressing is made to toss and drizzle over. It’s a simple combination of red wine vinegar, olive oil, shallots, and Dijon mustard, that’s it!
Now for the fun part of making the salad, serving! This recipe can be made in a large bowl served family-style, or in 4 smaller salad bowls. Arrange the chicken on top of the lettuce in the center, and the rest of the ingredients in little piles around it.
You can also toss the ingredients together with the dressing, so it’s easier to portion, however, it just doesn’t look as pretty. When this cobb salad hits the dinner table, I promise it will disappear in minutes!
More salad recipes
How to keep the dressing from separating
A salad dressing is creating an emulsion, mixing two ingredients (olive and vinegar) that do not normally combine and keeping it suspended. Most salad dressings are semi-permanent emulsions, meaning eventually they will separate over time. There are some things you can do to make the emulsion stay long enough to enjoy the salad. Mustard helps to keep a longer suspension and acts as an emulsifying agent. A small amount of mayonnaise can also be added if storing the dressing for longer than a few hours. Make sure to add the oil to the vinegar gradually, and briskly whisk to break the oil into small droplets to create a thickened dressing.
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- 4 large eggs
- 4 cups ice cubes
- 4 cups cold water
- 4 ounces bacon, 4 strips
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, flattened to ½-inch thick pieces
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper, plus more for seasoning
- paprika, as needed for seasoning
- 8 cups romaine lettuce, cut into ½-inch strips
- 1 cup baby tomatoes, cut in half
- 1 avocado, cut into small pieces or thinly sliced
- 2 ounces blue cheese
- 1 tablespoon chopped chives
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced shallots
- To make hard-boiled eggs fill enough water in a large pot that will cover the eggs by 1-inch once added.
- Bring water to a boil at 212°F (100°C) and then carefully place eggs in the hot water.
- Boil the eggs for 30 seconds then place the lid on the pot and reduce heat to low.
- Cook eggs on a low simmer for 12 minutes.
- In a medium-sized bowl add 4 cups ice and 4 cups water to make an ice bath.
- Once the eggs are done cooking immediately transfer them to the ice bath to chill for 15 minutes. Crack the sides of the eggshell, peel, and cut in half.
- Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the pan is hot add the bacon and cook until crispy, about 4 minutes on each side.
- Transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined sheet pan to drain. Once cooled chop the bacon into smaller pieces.
- In the same pan used to fry the bacon, cook the chicken. Season both sides with salt, pepper, and paprika.
- Heat the pan over medium-high heat and add the chicken. Cook for 5 minutes, flip and cook until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C), about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Transfer chicken to a clean plate and allow to cool. Slice or cut into cubes.
- Assemble the salad by adding the lettuce then top with tomatoes, avocado, blue cheese and chopped chives.
- In a medium-sized bowl whisk the red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
- Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking briskly and continuously until a thickened dressing is formed.
- Add the shallots and whisk to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.
- Serve cobb salad with red wine vinegar dressing.
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