Our founder, Nina, is known for eating a lot of Cobb salads. Many have asked why she eats Cobb salads so much. We always laugh a bit when we hear this because the classic blend is commonly referred to as the “Eat Cobb” salad. It’s actually an acronym for all the ingredients the salad traditionally contains. These ingredients are primarily included in the Cobb salad recipe we’re highlighting here (we’ll get to that in a bit).
But first why? Why does That Salad Lady eat Cobb salads so much? Well, besides the fact that a Cobb salad is super easy to make at home, it’s the perfect blend of high-quality carbs, good fats and lean protein. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, watch your carb intake or just eat something that’s incredibly tasty and satisfying, this one’s a win-win.
Still, many wouldn’t put a Cobb salad at the top of their healthy foods list. It doesn’t meet the stereotypical ‘healthy’ checklist. The traditional Cobb salad contains egg, bacon and blue cheese – ingredients that have long been viewed as dietary devils. Not to mention the boat loads of dressing typically added to store-brought versions. Yet, That Salad Lady loves to eat them, and she has a doctorate in this stuff!
THE BALANCING ACT
We encourage you not to use stereotypes when judging the healthfulness of foods (or anything, really), which holds true for Cobb salads. As with any salad, we believe Cobb salads are what you make of them. There’s nothing wrong with including egg, bacon or even blue cheese in your salad. It’s about everything else you put in your salad bowl.
Below we suggest kale as a base to give the classic Cobb salad a powerful nutritional punch. Make your own dressing, add just enough to season and don’t saturate your salad. Rather, add herbs and spices for more flavor and nutrition. These lessons have helped That Salad Lady produce a healthy, hearty and unbelievably flavor-rich Kale Cobb Salad bowl that even die-hard salad haters love.
So, what’s in the Kale Cobb Salad bowl recipe and why?
E-A-T-C-O-B-B and Then Some
In keeping with the classic Cobb salad, most of the ingredients for the Kale Cobb Salad bowl recipe are directly in line with the mnemonic (or reminder) acronym E-A-T-C-O-B-B. Before we dive into each ingredient, let’s first talk about the salad bowl base.
All About the Base
The traditional Cobb salad recipe includes leafy green vegetables like iceberg lettuce, watercress, endive or romaine lettuce as a base. Generally speaking, the darker the leafy greens, the better they are for you. While That Salad Lady often uses watercress and romaine in salad bowls, when it comes to Cobb salads, she’s all about getting the most nutritional bang for her buck (and yours). And that’s why we roll with kale.
In addition to its superior nutritional profile, kale has a fresh, natural flavor and crisp texture that can bring any salad bowl recipe to life. It’s all about how you choose and use kale. In raw form, kale tastes best when chopped and shredded, as you would do for a slaw. Otherwise, you can use baby kale leaves or even kale mixes, which you can find prepackaged at a grocery store (don’t forget to study up in our Nutrition Glossary to learn more).
Classic Ingredients Account for the Bulk
We’ve already mentioned a few of the classic Cobb ingredients but collectively they include egg (E), avocado (A), tomato (T), chicken (C), onion (O), bacon (B) and blue cheese (B). Aha, EAT COBB.
In their totality, this combination of ingredients can appease even the pickiest eaters. That Salad Lady has made this salad bowl recipe for people who hate eggs, avocado and blue cheese yet it’s a favorite among them all.
Of all ingredients in the Kale Cobb Salad bowl recipe, cooking is only required for: (1) egg, (2) bacon and (3) chicken. That’s it!
The recipe includes hard-boiled eggs in whole form – that’s with the yolks. Despite the constant shunning of yolks, they’re a very healthy inclusion to a well-balanced diet (as always, visit our Nutrition Glossary to learn why). Egg yolks also add immense flavor to salads.
As does bacon, which makes most things taste better. That Salad Lady generally uses turkey bacon as the additional salt enhances the flavor. Feel free to use whichever type of bacon you prefer. It’s YOUR bowl.
And of course, there’s chicken, which adds a huge dose of high-quality protein. The recipe calls for boneless skinless chicken breast which can either be sliced or chopped. You can cook your own or, for convenience’s sake, use the breasts of a rotisserie chicken.
GET YOUR CHOP ON
While the eggs, bacon and chicken are cooking, we recommend preparing the avocado, tomato and onion. The most that’s required here is a little chopping (see recipe card). This veggie trio of ingredients delivers an abundance of quality nutrients.
Avocado, for instance, is a rich source of healthy fats and one of the most nutritious fruits worldwide. Then there is tomato, which is packed full of vitamin C and countless other health-promoting nutrients. We typically use vine tomato but Roma, grape or cherry tomatoes also work for this Cobb salad bowl recipe – and they’re equally nutritious.
Up next is onion, specifically red onion, which comes with its own unique taste profile and nutritional benefits. At the risk of repeating ourselves, OK we will, visit the Nutrition Glossary for deep dives into each ingredient’s nutritional value. In addition to red onion, we also include green onions (or scallions) to add a mildly sweet flavor to the blend.
For sweetness, added crunch and more nutrients, we also include cucumber and snap peas in the recipe. You can add raw snap peas or cook them by simply sautéing them in a little extra-virgin olive oil and butter with a sprinkle of sea salt or Kosher salt.
ADD SOME SPRINKLES
The last “classic” ingredient is blue cheese, which we sprinkle in a nice even layer of the Cobb salad bowl. With its crumbly, somewhat hard texture, blue cheese adds a bold and tangy kick to the bowl. You can purchase a whole block and crumble up what you need or you can purchase crumbles in a container.
The final ingredient in the blend is chia seeds. It’s an “optional” ingredient but we recommend including it. A sprinkle here and a sprinkle there adds real fiber, good protein and health-promoting omega-3 fatty acids to the bowl.
BUILD YOUR SALAD BOWL
Once all the cooked and fresh ingredients are prepared, the hard work is pretty much done. As part of the recipe, we include That Salad Lady’s homemade honey-mustard dressing as an option.
Kale soaks up a lot of dressing. So as not to waste it, massage your kale with dressing prior to preparing the salad. In fact, that’s the only dressing we add to the salad. Doing so allows you to experience the unique flavors of all the other ingredients.
In a large bowl, simply coat the kale with dressing and then toss it by hand while wearing disposable food prep gloves (easier than using tongs).
Once the kale is all dressed, spread the kale out in a large bowl or on a large platter and then add rows of egg, avocado, tomato, cucumber, chicken, snap peas, onion, bacon and blue cheese. Finally, season the salad to taste with sprinkles of salt, pepper, oregano and paprika. Garnish the finished blend with green onions and sprinkles of chia seeds.
This wholesome Kale Cobb Salad is large enough for four deliciously filling servings at about 400 calories each. With the exception of dressing, this includes all ‘optional’ ingredients noted in the recipe. Since it’s packed full of fiber, good fats and protein, you’ll get plenty of nutrition bang for your calorie bucks.
SHOW US YOUR BOWL
That Salad Lady wants to see your bowl! If you like it, which we are sure you will, drop a comment below and tag pics on Instagram with @thatsaladlady, #thatsaladlady and #buildyourbowl. If you love it, pin it on Pinterest and share it on Facebook and Twitter using #thatsaladlady.
A Hearty Kale Cobb SaladCourse: MainCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
Whether you’re trying to lose weight, watch your carbs or find something new, this wholesome Cobb salad recipe is a win-win. Even die-hard salad haters love it!
- Cobb Salad Blend
2 chicken breasts (about 1 pound), boneless and skinless, cut into 1/4-inch cubes*
4 bacon strips, pan-fried, sliced and chopped into tiny bits**
2 whole eggs, hard-boiled and chopped (see recipe)
6 cups kale, chopped or shredded***
1 medium red onion, sliced and chopped or diced
1 cup sugar snap peas trimmed with strings removed, raw or sautéed
1 medium cucumber with skin, seeded, sliced and chopped into bite-sized cubes
1 vine tomato (Roma, grape or cherry tomatoes also work), seeded and chopped into bite-sized pieces (about 1 cup)
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and chopped into bite-sized cubes
1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
Salt and pepper, to taste
Oregano, to taste (optional)
Paprika, to taste (optional)
2 green onions (or scallions) with tops and bulbs, sliced (optional)
2 tablespoons chia seeds (optional)
1/2 cup honey-mustard dressing (optional; see recipe)
- Cook Raw Ingredients
- Chop the bacon strips into small pieces by first slicing them in half lengthwise and then cutting them horizontally into small chunks.
- Fry bacon pieces over medium heat in a skillet or sauté pan (see notes), turning them often as they cook. The bacon pieces will shrivel into bits during cooking. Once brown and crispy, remove the bacon bits and place them on paper towels to drain. Set aside. Do not discard extra oil from your skillet or pan.
- Cut raw chicken breast into cubes, place the cubed pieces into a bowl and then season them to taste with salt and pepper. Next, fry the chicken over medium heat in the same lightly greased skillet or pan used for the bacon (grease more if necessary).
- Fry chicken cubes for 3-4 minutes on each side until all pieces are no longer pink and slightly brown. Remove chicken from heat and set aside.
- Chop Fresh Ingredients
- Cut onion in half, slicing downwards through the root and then peel. Next, cut 3-4 vertical slices into each half, leaving the root intact. Lay the onion halves flat and make horizonal slices and then slice downwards across those cuts to dice. Set aside.
- Slice snap peas (diagonally) into 1/4-inch pieces. Set aside.
- Rinse cucumber, slice in half lengthwise and then scoop out the seeds by gliding the tip of a spoon or knife across the length of the cucumber’s flesh. Next, slice cucumber in half again and dice it into cubes. Set aside.
- Rinse tomato, roll it sideways with the stem facing the side and then cut it down the center line into two halves. Next, use a spoon or knife to scoop out the seeds and any tough white core in the centers. Set aside.
- Cut avocado lengthwise in a circular motion around the pit (or seed), open and remove the pit and then cut widthwise through the flesh. Next, gently scoop the pieces out with a spoon, set them aside and then discard the skin.
- Prepare the honey mustard dressing as per the recipe or use another dressing of your choice.
- Rinse and chop or shred kale, coat it with dressing and then toss it by hand while wearing disposable food prep gloves or using tongs.
- Build the Salad
- Spread out ‘pre-dressed’ kale in a large salad bowl or on a platter.
- Peel off and discard shells from cooled eggs, dice them with a knife or an egg slicer and then arrange diced eggs atop of the kale in its own sections of the bowl or platter.
- Arrange avocado, tomato, cucumber, cubed chicken, snap peas, onion, bacon and blue cheese crumbles atop of the kale in their own sections of the bowl or platter.
- Season the entire salad blend to taste with sprinkles of salt, pepper, oregano and paprika and top it off with chopped green onions and sprinkles of chia seeds.
- *Chopping up breasts from a rotisserie chicken can be delicious, cost-effective and very time efficient.
- **Use whichever type of bacon you prefer. If using a non-pork bacon, cook it in a skillet or sauté pan lightly greased with olive oil, coconut oil or another high-quality oil. We generally use turkey bacon as the additional salt enhances the flavor of the salad.
- ***Kale can be replaced with romaine lettuce or darker leafy greens like spinach, Spring mix or traditional salad greens.
- The noted calorie count applies to four generous-sized portions with ‘optional’ ingredients but without dressing. Depending on your eating style, you can double your portions and eat less meals or store leftovers in the fridge for up to a day.