This hunger-busting Cobb Salad is bursting with fresh vegetables and protein-rich chicken, hard-boiled eggs, creamy avocado and smoky crumbled bacon. It is topped off with a simple homemade Blue Cheese vinaigrette which has all the delicious flavor of a traditional Brown Derby Cobb Salad, but with fewer calories and less saturated fat!

drizzling the dressing over the cobb

Why We Love This Healthy Cobb Salad Recipe

Please don’t ask me to choose my favorite salad. But if pressed I would have to put a good Cobb salad at the top of the list.

What is not to love about a big beautiful composed salad with loads of satisfying protein, bold blue cheese dressing, and all my favorite veggies? The answer is, not much! I really do love everything about Cobb salad. Well, except that most cobb salads from restaurants are far too high in fat, calories and sodium!

That’s why I set out this month to re-invent a traditional Cobb. My goal was to make my recipe lower in calories and saturated fat, but still satisfying enough to keep me full for hours and with all that delicious taste of traditional Cobb salad with bacon and blue cheese!

Serve these epic composed salads as an entree for dinner or as a healthy lunch. My family loves these as is, but if your family is not a fan of blue cheese, you can choose another one of my healthy homemade salad dressings to use instead of the blue cheese vinaigrette. Our Classic Ranch with Greek Yogurt would be great!

If you are looking for more Cobb inspiration, try our Grilled Corn and Peach Cobb Salad or this Southwest Kale Cobb Salad for some non-traditional but equally delicious entree salads! And don’t miss my classic Garden Salad if you are a fan of healthier classic salads.

Key Ingredients

cobb ingredients with labels

Chicken

While some Cobbs have diced fried chicken, we used poached boneless skinless chicken breast which is high in protein and virtually fat-free. You can substitute 2 1/2 cups of cooked leftover diced chicken or even use rotisserie chicken instead. To make this vegetarian, use cubed baked tofu or sliced Roasted Portobellos instead.

Bacon

Bacon is one of the essential “goodies” to top off a Cob, but most recipes use far too much. It adds unnecessary fat and sodium. I found that using 4 slices (1 per person) is enough to add the flavor without adding in too much fat and sodium.

Tip: Cook your bacon until it is crispy to render out as much fat as possible. This will carve off even more calories.

For a vegetarian substitute make my Vegan Shiitake Bacon instead.

Hard-Boiled Eggs

You will also need hard-boiled eggs for these salads. We used only 1 egg per person. If you want to cut 30 calories per serving, pop out and discard the yolks.

Avocado

Cobb is a California-born classic, so of course, it includes ripe Avocado in it! Since avocado is high in fat it is also high in calories. So we use only one avocado and divide it among the four salads.

Greens

A traditional Cobb has a blend of several greens including Romaine watercress and endive. I wanted to make sure this was easy enough to pull together for a lunch or weeknight dinner, so I opted to just blend Romaine with mixed salad greens.

Vegetables

To make this healthier, I opted for extra veggies. In addition to the cherry tomatoes, I added in cucumbers to up the veggie quotient. You can also use a slicing tomato cut into wedges or diced if you have them. If you have another seasonal veggie you want to add in, by all means, do that!

Ingredients For The Blue Cheese Vinaigrette

A lot of Cobb salads have a whole row of crumbled blue cheese on them. I find this too powerful in flavor and unnecessary added saturated fat and calories.

To make this recipe healthier, I made a Blue Cheese Vinaigrette which is essentially a French dressing with red wine vinegar, olive oil and shallot with the addition of crumbled blue cheese mashed into it. This helps make a little blue cheese go a long way!

For the dressing you will need:

  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot, minced
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey or sugar
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup crumbled blue cheese, such as Roquefort (2 ounces)
  • ½ teaspoon salt, optional

Note: Some blue cheeses are saltier than others. So omit the salt to begin, and taste the dressing. You may not need any added salt.

To make this recipe much lower in calories you can substitute my Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing which will save 211 calories per serving!

How To Make Cobb Salad with Blue Cheese Vinaigrette

poach the chicken and boil the eggs

Step 1: Poach and Dice Chicken

Place chicken in a large saucepan and cover with water. Add a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue simmering until the chicken is no-longer pink in the center, 12 to 16 minutes (depending on thickness.) Transfer to a cutting board and cut into bite-sized cubes and let cool 10 minutes.

Step 2: Hard Boil and Chop Eggs

Meanwhile, place eggs in the bottom of a small saucepan, cover with cold water by several inches. Bring to a gentle boil over high heat. Boil for 10 minutes. Then remove from the heat, drain and then run cool running water over the eggs for several minutes until cool enough to handle. Peel and dice.

make dressing and arrange salads

Step 3: Make Dressing

Whisk vinegar, shallot, mustard and honey in a medium bowl. Whisk in olive oil. Stir in cheese and mash slightly to incorporate into the dressing. Taste and add salt if desired.

Step 4: Arrange Salads

Arrange the salads on four large plates: Layer greens and lettuce onto the plates. Top with eggs, bacon, cucumber, avocado, chicken and cherry tomatoes.

pour the dressing over the salads just before serving

Step 5: Add Dressing

Re-stir the dressing just before drizzling over the salads, dividing evenly. Season with freshly ground pepper.

cobb from overhead

FAQs and Expert Tips For Cobb Salad

Where is Cobb Salad From?

Cobb salad was invented at the Hollywood Brown Derby restaurant in Los Angeles California in the late 1930s. It is named so after the restaurant owner Robert Howard Cobb. It is said that Cobb created the dish using leftovers from the restaurant kitchen for a late-night meal.

What is in an authentic Cobb salad?

The greens in an authentic Cobb are romaine, watercress, endive and chopped iceberg lettuce. On top are rows or sections of fried chicken (or turkey), bacon, hard-boiled eggs, scallions or chives, tomatoes, avocado and Roquefort cheese. The dressing is typically a classic French-style red wine vinaigrette with Dijon mustard and minced shallot. Some versions also include cheddar cheese.

How can I make this even lower in calories?

There are several ways to cut the calories in this dish. As written each serving has 575 calories which is still lower than the average cobb by more than 50 calories. Furthermore, we opted for heart-healthy mono-unsaturated fats by cutting back on some of the saturated fats and using olive oil in the dressing. But if you want to make this lower in calories still, the easiest way to do so is to use my Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing instead of the vinaigrette. While a creamy dressing is not authentic, it will save 211 calories per serving! You can also remove the egg yolk to save an additional 30 calories each. With both of these changes, your salad will be 334 calories.

Is Cobb Salad healthy?

Many Cobb salads are too high in fat, calories and sodium to be considered healthy. Those with fried chicken, extra cheese and bacon can have a lot of unhealthy trans fats and saturated fat. However, all Cobb salads are high in fiber, protein and Vitamin A. (This one has 129% of your DV for Vitamin A!) Using more vegetables and less bacon and cheese helps to keep them on the healthy side. You can also use low-sodium bacon and omit added salt to drop the sodium levels. This version which includes no breading on the chicken is low in carbs at only 12 grams net carbs per serving.

Can this be made ahead?

These salads are awesome for meal prep. Simply compose the salad in an air-tight re-sealable container and store a portion of the dressing in a jar. You can also compose them on the plate and keep them wrapped up to 2 days in advance.

three healthy cobb salads on a  table with ice water and a pitcher of the dressing

More Healthy Salad Recipes To Try

And there are so many more Healthy Salad Recipes to explore in our archives!

Thanks so much for reading. If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my free weekly email newsletter where I share weeknight meal plans delivered right to your inbox. Or follow me on Instagram. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It is very appreciated. Happy Cooking! ~Katie

Print
close-up of cobb from overhead

Healthy Cobb Salad

  • Author: Katie Webster
  • Prep Time: 35 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 25 mins
  • Yield: 4 large salads 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This hunger-busting Cobb Salad is bursting with fresh vegetables and protein-rich chicken, hard-boiled eggs, creamy avocado and smoky crumbled bacon. It is topped off with a simple homemade Blue Cheese vinaigrette which has all the delicious flavor of a traditional Brown Derby Cobb Salad, but with fewer calories and less saturated fat!


Scale

Ingredients

  • ½ pound boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot, minced
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey or sugar
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup crumbled blue cheese, such as Roquefort
  • ½ teaspoon salt, optional
  • 8 cups mixed baby greens and chopped Romaine lettuce* See note
  • 4 slices crisp cooked bacon, see tip
  • 1 cucumber, cut in half and sliced
  • 1 ripe avocado, diced
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes or halved cherry tomatoes
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Place chicken in a large saucepan and cover with water. Add a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue simmering until the chicken is no-longer pink in the center, 12 to 16 minutes (depending on thickness.) Transfer to a cutting board and cut into bite-sized cubes and let cool 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, place eggs in the bottom of a small saucepan, cover with cold water by several inches. Bring to a gentle boil over high heat. Boil for 10 minutes. Then remove from the heat, drain and then run cool running water over the eggs for several minutes until cool enough to handle. Peel and dice.
  3. Whisk vinegar, shallot, mustard and honey in a medium bowl. Whisk in olive oil. Stir in cheese and mash slightly to incorporate into the dressing. Taste and add salt if desired.
  4. Arrange the salads on four large plates: Layer greens and lettuce onto the plates. Top with eggs, bacon, cucumber, avocado, chicken and cherry tomatoes.
  5. Re-stir the dressing just before drizzling over the salads, dividing evenly. Season with freshly ground pepper.

Notes

Ingredient Note:

Traditional Cobb salads are made with a blend of lettuces including watercress and endive. Though it is not strictly authentic, we find it easier to buy a bag of mixed baby greens and mix it with chopped hearts of Romaine.

To cook the bacon:

Layer the bacon between four sheets of paper towels on a large microwave-safe plate. Microwave for 3 to 4 minutes.

How To Make Lower In Calories

While a creamy dressing is not authentic if you swap our Greek Yogurt Blue Cheese Dressing in for the vinaigrette dressing you will save 211 calories per serving! You can also remove the egg yolk to save an additional 30 calories each. With both of these changes, your salad will be 334 calories.

A Note On Sodium

Some blue cheeses are saltier than others. So omit the salt to begin, and taste the dressing. You may not need any added salt. The nutrition facts are shown without the added salt.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 salad
  • Calories: 575
  • Sugar: 6 g
  • Sodium: 578 mg
  • Fat: 45 g
  • Saturated Fat: 10 g
  • Carbohydrates: 18 g
  • Fiber: 6 g
  • Protein: 25 g