What is a Cobb Salad and how did it come to be?
The year was 1937, and our story begins late one night when a man named Robert Howard Cobb was busy prowling the depths of his Hollywood, California restaurant, Brown Derby, in search of a midnight snack. As the beast growled in his stomach, Bob rummaged through the fridges, grabbing what was at hand and “borrowing” a few strips of freshly fried bacon from his chef, he threw together a salad that consisted of “a little of this, and a little of that” and when it was done he tossed it in some leftover dressing and devoured it whole, satiating his hunger monster. And so it was that the now famous Cobb salad came to be.
But the story doesn’t end there, because the people who were with Bob that day (namely Sid Grauman of the legendary Grauman’s Chinese Theatre) as well as Bob himself were so blown away by how decadent and delicious the salad was that it was listed on the menu the very next day where it became an instant sensation. Sid himself returned the following day to ask for the “Cobb salad”, and soon enough everyone from the regular joes to the top-tier celebrities were fawning over this kitchen sink salad. Luckily, this story has a more than happy ending to it because not only was the Cobb salad a monumental success that spans throughout the decades, but it’s incredibly easy to make right at home and that’s exactly what I’m here to show you today!
What Ingredients go into this salad?
You can honestly use whatever you like or have on hand to make up this low-carb, gluten-free and protein rich salad, but a good base of elements can include:
- Greens: This makes up the bed of your salad, you can use anything from shredded lettuce or mixed salad greens/spring mix.
- Bacon: Use some precooked, chopped thick-cut bacon or pancetta. You can reserve the rendered fat and drippings to use a touch of it as a dressing or drizzle.
- Avocado: Rich and fatty, avocado adds a healthy and creamy element to our dish.
- Leftover grilled/seared chicken breast: Diced or rough chopped, this is the main protein element to our salad.
- Cheese: Typically a strong crumbly cheese like a Roquefort or Bleu cheese is used but you can opt to use any crumbled or shredded cheese of your choice.
- Tomatoes: You can use any tomato of your choosing from cherry to diced beefsteak. Aside from color, tomato adds a wonderful umami flavor to the salad.
- Eggs: Soft or hard boiled, eggs are a classic Cobb Salad staple.
- Sweet corn: This is my unconventional addition but I love the little touch of sweetness it adds to my salad. (Omit if you’re doing the Keto diet).
Other elements you can add can include: Carrots, mushrooms, red onions, asparagus, walnuts, etc., it might not be traditional, but if you enjoy it and you have some on hand why not experiment a little?
How to assemble your salad:
Making your salad is as simple as creating a bed of greens on your plate (you can use anything from salad greens to lettuce, spinach, watercress, endives) and creating sections of the other ingredients. Simple, easy, and a great way to make use of leftover chicken! Often I will make an extra pan-seared chicken breast just so I can make this salad the next day, especially if I know it’s going to be a hectic day and I’ll be tired or pressed for time in making lunch or dinner.
How to dress your salad:
While the Cobb Salad is traditionally tossed and served with a French Dressing or a red wine vinaigrette, I’ve opted to top mine with a drizzle of my Homemade Thousand Island Dressing instead since I had some on hand – an action that I believe keeps in line with the true origin of the Cobb Salad’s “use whatever is on hand” mantra that led to its creation!
I truly hope you enjoy this delicious salad as much as we do and if you happen to give it a try, let us know how it turned out!
- 3 cups Greens (lettuce, spinach, microgreens, watercress, endives)
- 1 Haas avocado cubed
- 1/3 cup cheese shredded or crumbled
- 3 strips thick cut bacon cooked and chopped
- 1 cup boneless, skinless chicken breasts pre-cooked and cubed (leftovers are ideal)
- 2 large eggs hard boiled and sliced
- 1 medium tomato diced
- 1/4 cup whole kernel sweet corn (optional)
Salt and pepper to season to taste
French Dressing or Red Wine Vinaigrette or Homemade Thousand Island to dress your salad and chives to garnish (optional)
- Prep all ingredients.
- Once prepped, line your bowl or plate with your greens and arrange your toppings in rows.
- Season with salt and pepper and top with a drizzle of your choice of dressing.
- Serve immeadiately and enjoy.
- This recipe is customizable to suit your personal tastes. Feel free to use or add in your preferred ingredients of choice.
- The most common cheeses are blue cheese or Roquefort but any cheese of choice can be used.
- The nutritional values are merely an estimation and do not include the values of the dressing.