Easy Cobb Salad Recipe with mixed salad greens, cherry tomatoes, crispy bacon, grilled chicken breast pieces, hard-boiled eggs, purple onion, avocado, and a green cobb salad dressing just like Panera cobb salad! These cobb salad ingredients are like the classic only the dressing is a recreation of the basil vinaigrette from the Panera Bread restaurant! Serve it as a main dish or as a side, arranged on a plate!
What is a Cobb Salad?
The Cobb Salad Origin is reported to be an invention by the owner of Brown Derby Restaurant of Los Angeles in 1938 when he decided to mix together some leftovers of mixed greens, roast chicken, hard-boiled eggs, avocados, tomatoes, Roquefort cheese, and bacon cooked from the line cook, he chopped and tossed it together with their signature French dressing. The Cobb salad was born.
Today the chicken Cobb salad can be served with many different dressings, in particular, the Green goddess dressing from Panera Bread. Green goddess salad is not the term of endearment I’d use for this chicken cobb salad but it is widely known by that name so we should at least mention it. Let’s call it the green cobb salad here.
Originally the Cobb salad from Panera bread used to be called, “Chopped Chicken Cobb” which was with chicken, bacon, Gorgonzola cheese, hard-boiled eggs, and tossed in their herb vinaigrette. Now, it’s served without cheese and comes with pickled purple onions as well as a different dressing. The tart onions and the tangy basil vinaigrette are amazing! If you ever wanted a supreme salad experience you need to try this conjunction!
Best Dressing for Cobb Salad:
A salad dressing of vinegar, oil, and seasonings like vinaigrette-style dressing is the traditional way to dress a cobb salad. We love this basil-infused vinaigrette, the fresh herbs add another dimension of flavor! However, you can substitute the dressing with North American sweet French dressing, Homemade Ranch, or Thousand Island Dressing. This vinaigrette is a creamy-based dressing bursting with tangy and tart flavors, you will love it!
Cobb Salad Ingredients:
We used store-bought carved chicken breast pieces but you can make our Grilled and Ready To Use Chicken Breast Recipe, or Instant Pot Chicken (just don’t shred.) Using ready meat like Rotisserie chicken from the grocery store can save you time and bring this salad together effortlessly! Here is a complete list of what you need!
- Mixed Lettuce- romaine lettuce and a mix of baby red and green lettuce is a great blend to use, look for boxed arugula mixed with baby chicories. I used 1 head of romaine (from a 3-pack and half a plastic box of mixed greens.)
- Chicken Breast strips- use 8 oz of any cooked chicken meat cut into strips, this can be rotisserie chicken, leftover grilled meat, poached or roasted chicken. I like to use carved chicken breast pieces for a quick and easy salad fix. You can find those in the poultry section.
- Bacon- if you have time make my ready-to-use freezer bacon that you can simply reheat or use microwave-ready bacon slices that you buy at the grocery store and microwave at home in 2 minutes!
- Avocado- should be sliced before serving as it tends to oxidize and turn brown quickly. A good tip to keep it from discoloring fast is to rub the flesh with lime juice. That will keep it green longer.
- Cherry Tomatoes- Slice grape or cherry tomatoes into rings, for an appealing salad. This will stretch the number of tomatoes in the salad and is very appealing.
- Eggs- hard-boiled eggs take very fast to cook and boil. They can be cooked several days in advance and refrigerated when ready to use.
- Vinaigrette Dressing- make the dressing in a blender and pour it into a plastic squeeze bottle, now you can keep it in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. It should not separate when blended in a mixer well.
Can I Make Cobb Salad Ahead?
You can make cobb salad dressing two weeks in advance and use it for salads throughout the week. Simply blend the dressing ingredients in a blender and keep it in a plastic squeeze bottle for weeks. However, the salad should be prepped on the day of serving, typically a few hours in advance.
To make ahead salad, rinse and dry the lettuce then lay out all the ingredients on a plate in neat rows, except for the avocado. Cover with plastic wrap and keep refrigerated until serving. When ready to serve slice and rub lime juice on the avocado and add it to the salad. I like to serve my dressing on the side so everyone can drizzle as much as they’d like on their plate.
How To Make a Cobb Salad:
This is an easy recipe for Cobb Salad! The cobb salad dressing recipe is key for a great-tasting salad! Here is how to make the original cobb salad like Panera Breads.
- Make the dressing for my cobb salad recipe (following the instructions in the recipe card.)
- Chop the salad greens, tomato, bacon, chicken, hard-boiled eggs, and avocado.
- Lay out the ingredients on a large plate in the order given. Garnish with pickled purple onions (or slice fresh purple onions.)
- Drizzle with 1/3 cup of dressing or serve it in a squeeze bottle on the side. This can be served as a main dish for 2-4 people or as a side salad for 6-8 people.
Search no more for cobb salad recipes, I think this is the best cobb salad, with notes of basil that is uniquely different from the Chick fil a, Cobb Salad, and the Cheesecake Factory ones.
Cobb Salad Variations:
Traditional cobb salad can be interchanged with a few ingredients to transform it into another meal. Try these cobb variations using ingredients that are available to you.
- Shrimp Cobb Salad- use 1 pound of cooked medium shrimp for the chicken here.
- Salmon Cobb Salad- pan sear, 1 pound of salmon, or make our baked salmon and swap out 2 ears of corn for the crisp bacon.
- Vegetarian Cobb Salad- add 1 cup of cooked grains and 8 oz cooked beans for the chicken and bacon and add 2-3 choices of roasted veggies, like roasted beets, asparagus, or cucumbers.
- Mexican Southwest Cobb Salad- use Southwestern seasoned chicken breast strips and add 1 can of black beans, 1 cup of Mexican cheese, and a chipotle ranch dressing.
- Turkey Cobb Salad- do you have leftover turkey? Carve and save the leftovers then use them for the chicken here.
Creative Ways To Use Cobb Salad Dressing Besides Cobb Salad:
- Cobb Salad dressing can be served as a creamy dip on a vegetable platter.
- Use it on any simple green salad or in place of Caesars dressing with plain croutons and parmesan cheese.
- Drizzle over Baked Salmon or Grilled steak
- Use it as flavored sour cream in your favorite haystack recipe!
- Spread it into a BLT wrap
- Use as a chicken marinade
Chef Salad vs Cobb Salad:
The main difference between a cobb salad and a chef salad is that a chef salad is made with a variety of lunch meats like ham, turkey, chicken, or roast beef. Whereas the cobb salad is made with bacon. Cucumbers are seen in a chef’s salad and can be made with a variety of creamy dressings whereas the cobb salad is traditionally made with a vinaigrette dressing.
Can I Add Different Cheese?
The classic cobb salad from Panera Bread had Gorgonzola cheese, although typically a cobb salad is made with blue cheese. You can use crumbled feta cheese or simply omit cheese completely, it will still be delicious!
What does the Green goddess Dressing Taste Like?
This salad dressing is named for its green tint, although it’s not the term I’d use to name a dressing. A variation of this dressing originated back in 1923 in San Francisco California by a Hotel Chef who concocted this dressing after a movie using anchovies, scallions, parsley, tarragon, chives, mayo, and vinegar. Later recipes include avocado or basil.
So, what does the green goddess dressing taste like from Panera Bread? unlike the classic Californian version, Panera bread Green Goddess dressing tastes like the (vinaigrette-style) Ceasars dressing with a homemade basil ranch. So, it’s super creamy, tangy from the vinaigrette, and herby from the fresh basil. It tastes fresh and tart and looks like a pale green dressing once blended. You will want this on your crisp lettuce greens and it’s so flavorful and raved about!
Tips for Cobb Salad:
- Use a salad spinner to dry washed lettuce greens, wet greens repel the oils in the salad dressing and will make it difficult for the dressing to coat the greens.
- Make my freezer bacon or buy microwave-ready bacon for a quick fix! If all you have is bacon bits you can use that too.
- Boil the eggs until just done, from the time the water boils time it for 7 minutes, and then place into an ice bath to stop any further cooking. For jammy, yolks cook a minute less.
- Cut your romaine lettuce diagonally for uneven slices, it will give the salad dimension along with the frilly greens.
- If using fresh red onion, toss it in a little bit of vinegar to bring out the vibrancy and give it a “pickled” look.
- Rub concentrated lime juice all over the surface of the flesh of an avocado, this helps it from browning and oxidizing. You want to look for semi-soft avocados firm to the touch, mushy avocados are usually full of blemishes inside.
- Slice cherry tomatoes into rings using a sharp knife. This stretches out the tomatoes and looks appealing.
- Using already grilled chicken, or rotisserie chicken is a huge time saver to making salads! Trader joes have chicken with grill marks, so there are so many ready-to-use chicken options at the grocery store. I like the Perdue carved chicken pieces and cut them into smaller pieces to stretch the servings.
- Cut your bacon with kitchen shears for easy chopping. This will make cutting bacon so easy.
- Serve the salad dressing on the side so that leftovers can be eaten the next day without getting soggy.
- Omit crumbled blue cheese or Gorgonzola cheese if you don’t like the aged cheese flavors or use feta cheese, simply add 2.5 oz of cheese if using cheese for this salad recipe.
More Salad Recipes To Make:
- Greek Salad
- Zesty Cucumber Salad Recipe
- Cucumber Tomato Avocado Salad
- Southwest Salad with Chipotle Ranch Dressing
- Cauliflower Salad
- 1 large plate or bowl (to lay out ingredients)
- 1 tongs
- 1 sharp chefs knife (for chopping)
- 1 cutting board
- 1 blender (for dressing)
- 8 oz grilled chicken breast strips
- 8 cups lettuce* (mix of baby red and green leaf lettuce and romaine)
- 4 slices bacon (cooked and chopped)
- 1/4 cup red onion (sliced or pickled purple onions)
- 1 avocado (sliced)
- 12 cherry tomatoes (cut into slices or halved)
- 4 hard-boiled eggs (quartered)
- Make the green cobb salad dressing by blending all the ingredients in a blender.
- Pour dressing into a plastic squeeze bottle and keep refrigerated.
- Rinse, chop, and spin dry the lettuce. Arrange salad ingredients in the given order in a large plate or bowl; lettuce, chicken, bacon, red onion, cherry tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, and avocado. You can do this in neat rows.
- Drizzle 1/3 cup of salad dressing before serving or serve cobb dressing on the side for guests to drizzle their desired amount.
- To cook bacon in the microwave: place 4 slices of bacon on a paper-towel-lined plate and cover it with plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Cool before unwrapping.
- Use a chef's knife to chop cobb salad ingredients (chopping is a breeze with this knife, it's the same one I own.)
- Add 1/2 cup of crumbled Gorgonzola cheese if desired.
Nutrition per serving