I love salads, but probably one of my all-time favorites is my “Have it Your Way” Cobb Salad. Although it definitely has its roots in a traditional Cobb Salad, it’s not a slave to any particular ingredient list. Instead, it’s all about creating a salad from fresh ingredients you love and have on hand!
Now I won’t lie, I always seem to make my Cobb Salad with some hard-boiled eggs, avocados, and tomatoes, but if one of those ingredients doesn’t work for you, leave it out or substitute something else. For example, if you don’t like tomatoes, use red peppers instead. The same is true when it comes to the meat. I usually chop up a poached chicken breast, but if I have some leftover turkey, that works great. Sometimes I even opt to make my Cobb Salad vegetarian-style with some chickpeas, beans, and nuts.
Here’s my promise. If you make this salad with ingredients your family loves, this will be a rock star, popular dinner for you! Why? Because each family member can customize their salad to their own tastes. If your son doesn’t like tomatoes—he can leave them off. If your daughter is eating vegetarian this week, she can avoid the meat. All the research (and my personal experience) proves: meals where family members can have some degree of control and express their personal tastes are always more popular—even if it’s a salad!
So let’s get chopping up some ingredients for this salad. And while you’re at it, invite your kids into the kitchen to help. They may whine and complain, and at first it may be easier to prepare meals without them. Regardless, over the long haul it will be time well spent for you and them!
- 8-10 cups assorted lettuce greens (about 1½ - 2 heads), washed, dried, and chopped
- 1 avocado, diced
- 2 hard-boiled eggs, diced
- ½ - 1 cup cheese
- 2 cups tomatoes, diced or red peppers
- 1 cup cooked chicken, diced (1 chicken breast)
- ½ pound cooked bacon or ham, chopped
- ½ - 1 cup fruit
- 1 lemon, juiced
- Homemade Red Wine Vinaigrette
- Wash, dry, and chop lettuce greens.
- Prepare and chop other ingredients. Sprinkle some lemon juice on avocado and any fruit that will brown to keep it looking nice and fresh!
- Arrange lettuce greens on a large platter.
- Down the center of the lettuce-covered platter arrange a strip of diced tomatoes. Add a strip of each of your ingredients, doing your best to create an appealing variety of colors.
- Get out some salad tongs and serve with a homemade red wine vinaigrette or dressing of your choice.
Here are some delicious ingredient options for the above recipe:
Lettuce greens—romaine, arugula, watercress, endive, escarole
Cheese—blue cheese, white cheddar, goat cheese
Fruit—apple, pear, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, peaches, mangoes, pitted dark sweet cherries
Cooked Meat—diced chicken breast, turkey breast, ham, bacon
If you're looking for vegetarian options, chickpeas, white beans, kidney beans, pistachios, almonds, or sunflower seeds can be great non-traditional ways to make a Cobb Salad vegetarian style!
Kitchen Tips and Resources:
- A white, rectangular platter makes is a perfect way to present your Cobb Salad for family or guests! There are tons of different options out there but here are some similar to the one I use: Target, Crate & Barrel, or Pottery Barn.
- A great pair of wooden salad tongs makes serving up your Cobb Salad a breeze. Here are a couple of my favorites!
- As I’ve shared in other posts, cutting boards and knives are two kitchen essentials. I love these great, non-slip cutting boards and my Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Signature brand knives.