Cobb Salad is one of those recipes that is both endlessly variable and just looks like a party. In traditional recipes, a bed of lettuce is placed on a large platter and strips of toppings are arranged on top. And this is great, in theory – but when all these ingredients that they like are thrown together, willy-nilly, my children won’t touch them. What to do??
I’ve solved the problem by serving each of the ingredients in its own bowl and assembling the traditional cobb salad look on my own plate. This allows everyone to pick and choose what ingredients they prefer – and it also allows for some fun variations (see below). Salad Night, anyone?
What you need:
For the vinaigrette:
- 2 T. c. apple cider vinegar
- 1 t. lemon juice
- 1 t. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 t. Dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic, minced (or 2 T. minced shallot)
- 1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the salad:
- 2 heads lettuce (Romaine, Bibb, or red leaf, or a mixture)
- 1/2 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 4 large eggs, hard-boiled and chopped
- 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, grilled or broiled and cubed
- 2 avocados, cut in cubes
- 2 vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped (or 1 pint halved grape tomatoes)
- 4 oz. blue cheese, crumbled
- garnish: sliced green onions, snipped chives, or thinly sliced red onion
- kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- cutting boards and knives
- salad spinner
- large serving platter OR salad bowl and many small bowls
- cruet for salad dressing
Time: 30 minutes prep
Multiplying the recipe: This can easily be sized up for a crowd.
Cobb Salad with Homemade Vinaigrette:
For the vinaigrette: Place the ingredients in a cruet with a lid and shake vigorously to combine. Set aside until serving time.
To assemble the salad: In separate small bowls, place each ingredient as it is prepared. Arrange the lettuce in a salad bowl and place each ingredient, as well as the vinaigrette, around it. Provide salt and pepper for seasoning.
Variations: Part of the fun of this salad is that you can throw anything on it, and it’ll get gobbled up! Try some of these suggestions:
- Mexican-style: Add corn, black or kidney beans, shredded or cubed cheddar cheese, pitted black olives, and Mexican rice. Garnish with cilantro.
- Italian-style: Add cooked spiral pasta, cannellini beans, sundried tomatoes, fresh mozzarella boccoccini, and peppers (bell, roasted red, or pepperoncini). Add a teaspoon of basil pesto to the vinaigrette before shaking.
- Greek-style: Add cucumbers, feta cheese crumbles, thinly sliced red onion, pitted Kalamata olives, and green pepper strips. Garnish with oregano. Replace apple cider vinegar in the dressing with red wine vinegar, and double the lemon juice.
- Fruit salad-style: Add chunks of pear, apple, or mandarin oranges; halved grapes, raisins, or craisins; toasted walnuts, pecans, or slivered almonds. Swap the Worcestershire in the dressing for a tablespoon of seedless raspberry jam and add a teaspoon of poppy seeds before shaking.